Feeding laying hens seal blubber oil: effects on egg yolk incorporation, stereospecific distribution of omega-3 fatty acids, and sensory aspects.Poult Sci. 2004 Mar; 83(3):462-73.PS
Seventy-two 26-wk-old Single Comb White Leghorn laying hens were randomly assigned to 36 cages (2 per cage) in a 3-orthogonal 4 x 4 latin square, with the fourth row suppressed, to assess the effect of feeding refined seal blubber oil (SBO, containing 22.2% omega-3 fatty acids) on the fatty acid composition and position in the egg yolk lipids. The experiment was conducted over a period of 9 wk. Eggs were collected and numbered, and the weights were recorded for each week and cage. Eggs collected at wk 5 and 9 were used for total lipid, lipid class, fatty acid, and positional analyses. Sensory evaluation was carried out on eggs collected at wk 6 and 7. Feeding SBO at 1.25% led to an increase (P < 0.0001) in the long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCn3PUFA) and a concomitant decrease (P < 0.0001) in arachidonic acid (ARA) in the egg yolk lipids. Yet this amount of SBO in the diet had no effect (P > 0.1) on the sensory attributes of the egg and on production parameters such as egg weight, number of eggs laid, and feed intake (P > 0.05). When feeding SBO in amounts higher than 1.25% proportionately, a plateau effect of the LCn3PUFA content of the eggs was observed. This appears to be because the PUFA content in the sn-2 position of the phospholipids cannot exceed a certain amount. When this amount is reached, the LCn3PUFA will be increasingly stored in triglycerides. The results presented here clearly indicate how eggs can be produced with optimized composition of LCn3PUFA without affecting (P > 0.1) the sensory properties of the eggs. The procedures elaborated herein provide directly applicable consequences for the food industry.