A review of nutritional effects on fat composition of animal products with special emphasis on n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.Biochimie. 2011 Jan; 93(1):13-7.B
The fatty acid composition of animal products (eggs, milk and meat) is the reflect of both the tissue fatty acid biosynthesis and the fatty acid composition of ingested lipids. This relationship is stronger in monogastrics (pigs, poultry and rabbits) than in ruminants, where dietary fatty acids are hydrogenated in the rumen. There is an increasing recognition of the health benefits of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), because these fatty acids are essential for humans. In addition, the ratio n-6/n-3 fatty acids in the human diet is important. This ratio by far exceeds the recommended value of 5. Therefore, inclusion of fish meals, or n-3 PUFA rich oils, or linseed in animal diets is a valid means of meeting consumer demand for animal products that are nutritionally beneficial. The studies that are undertaken on animals mainly use diets supplemented with linseed, as a source of n-3 fatty acids. The use of linseed diets generally leads to an increased n-3 fatty acid content in animal products (egg, meat, milk) in ruminants and monogastrics. Recent studies have also demonstrated that neither the processing nor the cooking affects the PUFA content of pork meat or meat products. The ability of unsaturated fatty acids, especially those with more than two double bonds, to rapidly oxidise, is important in regulating the shelf life of animal products (rancidity and colour deterioration); however, a good way to avoid such problems is to use antioxidant products (such as vitamin E) in the diet. Some studies also show that it is not necessary to feed animals with linseed-supplemented diets for a long time to have the highest increase in PUFA content of the products. So, short-term diet manipulation can be a practical reality for industry. As the market for n-3 PUFA enriched products is today limited in most countries, other studies must be undertaken to develop this kind of production.