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Dietary n-3 PUFA content as a modulator of the femur properties in growing pigs

  • Monika Sobol (a1), Grzegorz Skiba (a1) and Stanisława Raj (a1)


The relationships between both dietary and empty body fatty acid composition and the morphometry, densitometry, geometry and biomechanical properties of the femur of growing pigs were analysed. A total of thirty-two pigs aged 115 d were divided into four groups (n 8 per group). The pigs were fed either a control diet (group C) or a diet supplemented with linseed oil (rich in α-linolenic acid (C18 : 3n-3), group L), fish oil (rich in EPA (C20 : 5n-3) and DHA (C22 : 6n-3), group F) and beef tallow (rich in SFA, group T). The diets differed in n-3 PUFA contents (0·63–18·52 g/kg) and n-6:n-3 PUFA ratios (0·91–14·51). At 165 d of age, the pigs were slaughtered and the fatty acids in the empty body were determined. Moreover, the left femur was dissected. The cortical wall thickness, cross-sectional area, cortical index, bone mineral content, bone mineral density, maximum elastic strength and maximum strength were lower (P<0·05) in the femurs of pigs from groups C and T than in those from groups F and L. Significant positive correlations were found between the densitometry, geometry and biomechanical properties of the femur and both dietary and empty body n-3 PUFA content, whereas significant negative correlations were observed between the same properties and both dietary and empty body n-6:n-3 PUFA ratio. The results of the present study suggest that in growing pigs α-linolenic acid has a similar positive effect on bone health to that of EPA and DHA.


Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Dr M. Sobol, email


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