In vitro response to EPA, DPA, and DHA: Comparison of effects on ruminal fermentation and biohydrogenation of 18-carbon fatty acids in cows and ewes.J Dairy Sci. 2017 Aug; 100(8):6187-6198.JD
The modulation of milk fat nutritional quality through fish oil supplementation seems to be largely explained by the action of n-3 very long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) on ruminal biohydrogenation (BH) of C18 fatty acids (FA). However, relationships among this action, disappearance of those PUFA in the rumen, and potential detrimental consequences on ruminal fermentation remain uncertain. This study compared the effect of 20:5n-3 (eicosapentaenoic acid; EPA), 22:5n-3 (docosapentaenoic acid; DPA), and 22:6n-3 (docosahexaenoic acid; DHA) on rumen fermentation and BH of C18 FA and was conducted simultaneously in cows and sheep to provide novel insights into interspecies differences. The trial was performed in vitro using batch cultures of rumen microorganisms with inocula collected from cannulated cows and ewes. The PUFA were added at a dose of 2% incubated dry matter, and treatment effects on ruminal C18 FA concentrations, PUFA disappearances, and fermentation parameters (gas production, ammonia and volatile FA concentrations, and dry matter and neutral detergent fiber disappearances) were examined after 24 h of incubation. A principal component analysis suggested that responses to PUFA treatments explained most of the variability; those of ruminant species were of lower relevance. Overall, EPA and DHA were equally effective for inhibiting the saturation of trans-11 18:1 to 18:0 and had a similar influence on ruminal fermentation in cows and sheep (e.g., reductions in gas production and acetate:propionate ratio). Nevertheless, DHA further promoted alternative BH pathways that lead to trans-10 18:1 accumulation, and EPA seemed to have specific effects on 18:3n-3 metabolism. Only minor variations attributable to DPA were observed in the studied parameters, suggesting a low contribution of this FA to the action of marine lipids. Although most changes due to the added PUFA were comparable in bovine and ovine, there were also relevant specificities, such as a stronger inhibition of 18:0 formation in cows and a greater increase in 18:3n-3 metabolites in sheep. No direct relationship between in vitro disappearance of the incubated PUFA and effect on BH (in particular, inhibition of the last step) was found in either cows or ewes, calling into question a putative link between extent of disappearance and toxicity for microbiota. Conversely, an association between the influence of these PUFA on ruminal lipid metabolism and fermentation may exist in both species. In vivo verification of these findings would be advisable.