Effects of dietary n-6:n-3 fatty acid ratio on feed intake, digestibility, and fatty acid profiles of the ruminal contents, liver, and muscle of growing lambs.J Anim Sci 2007; 85(3):706-16JA
This study investigated the effect of modifying the n-6:n-3 fatty acid ratio (FAR) of diets using linseed, soybean, and cottonseed oils on apparent digestibility, ruminal fermentation characteristics, growth performance, key circulating hormones, and the fatty acid profile of ruminal digesta, liver, and fore-shank muscle of growing lambs fed a high concentrate diet. Forty individually housed Katadhin Dorper lambs (average of 20.0 kg of BW) were fed Bermudagrass hay in ad libitum amounts and concentrates at 3.7% of BW daily. The concentrate contained 68.9% corn, 23.8% soybean meal, 3.3% limestone, and 4.0% oil supplements (DM basis). The treatments consisted of dietary n-6:n-3 FAR of 2.3:1, 8.8:1, 12.8:1, and 15.6:1. After feeding for 35 d in metabolism crates, lambs were slaughtered 15 h after feeding, and samples of ruminal digesta, blood, liver, and foreshank tissue were collected. Increasing dietary n-6:n-3 FAR did not affect the intake of DM nor the apparent digestibility of DM, ether extract, NDF, or ADF, but did increase apparent digestibility of CP (linear, P < 0.05). Concentrations of ruminal butyrate increased linearly (P < 0.05) with increasing dietary n-6:n-3 FAR, whereas the valerate concentration decreased linearly (P < 0.001). Concentrations of plasma insulin and IGF-I were not affected by dietary n-6:n-3 FAR. Concentrations of C18:3n-3 increased linearly (P < 0.001), whereas that of C18:2n-6 decreased linearly (P < 0.001) in ruminal digesta with decreasing dietary n-6:n-3 FAR. Concentrations of transisomers of fatty acids in ruminal digesta did not change. Proportions of C18:0 in liver and foreshank muscle were unchanged by diet. The proportion of trans11 C18:1 and cis-9 trans11 CLA decreased (P < 0.05) in liver but increased (P < 0.05) in foreshank muscle as dietary n-6:n-3 FAR decreased. Proportions of all measured n-3 fatty acids were greater in liver when diets contained more C18:3n-3 from linseed oil. By decreasing the dietary n-6:n-3 FAR, the proportions of n-6 fatty acids in foreshank muscle decreased dramatically; specifically, C18:2n-6 decreased linearly (P < 0.001) from 28.0 to 16.5% and C20:4n-6 decreased linearly (P < 0.001) from 14.7 to 8.6%. Although feeding a diet that contained more n-3 fatty acids increased the n-3 fatty acid concentration of muscle, the ratio of PUFA to SFA was decreased.