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Effect of dietary phytol levels on the incorporation of phytanic and pristanic acid and the fatty acid composition of pork tissues

  • K. Raes (a1), L. Allegaert (a2), S. De|Smet (a1) and L. Dekeyzer (a2)


Phytanic acid (PhA) is a multibranched chain saturated fatty acid (SFA), derived from phytyl, the side chain of chlorophyll. The main sources of PhA in the human food supply are through ruminant products and seafood. The α-oxidation of PhA in the liver results in the formation of pristanic acid (PrA) which is then further fully β-oxidised. This pathway has been extensively studied in relation to genetic defects in the metabolic function of peroxisomes (e.g. Refsum disease) (Verhoeven & Jakobs, 2001). However, as both PhA and PrA induce PPAR-dependent pathways, they have been proposed as functional food compounds to combat, e.g. non-insulin dependent diabetes (Mc Carthy 2001), a disease afflicting a rapidly increasing proportion of the human population. The aim of this experiment was to increase the PrA and PhA levels in pork tissues by supplementing phytol in the diet and to study its effect on fatty acid metabolism.


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McCarty, M.F. 2001 The chlorophyll metabolite phytanic acid is a natural rexinoid-potential for treatment and prevention of diabetes. Journal of Medical Hypotheses 56: 217219.
Raes, K., Haak, L., Balcaen, A., Claeys, E., Demeyer, D. and De Smet, S. (2004). Effect of feeding linseed at similar linoleic acid levels on the fatty acid composition of the double-muscled Belgian Blue young bulls. Meat Science 66: 307315.
Verhoeven, N.M. and Jakobs, C. 2001. Human metabolism of phytanic and pristanic acid. Progress in Lipid Research 40: 453466.


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