Effect of linseed supplementation of the gestation and lactation diets of dairy ewes on the growth performance and the intramuscular fatty acid composition of their lambs
Nudda, A.; Battacone, G.; Bee, G.; Boe, R.; Castanares, N.; Lovicu, M.; Pulina, G.
Animal an international journal of animal bioscience 9(5): 800-809
ISSN/ISBN: 1751-732X PMID: 25491563 DOI: 10.1017/s175173111400305x
In this study, we investigated the effects of maternal gestation and/or lactation diets supplemented with extruded linseed (rich in 18:3n-3) on growth performance and long-chain polyunsaturated faaty acid (PUFA) accumulation in muscle tissues of suckling lambs. A total of 36 dairy ewes were fed a control diet (CON) and a diet containing linseed (LIN) during the last 8 weeks of gestation and/or the first 4 weeks of lactation. The four dietary treatments consisted of the following gestation/lactation feeding treatments: CON/CON, CON/LIN, LIN/LIN or LIN/CON. The lambs born from ewes fed the aforementioned diets were reared exclusively on milk and were slaughtered at 4 weeks of age. Profiles of ewes' milk fatty acids and that of intramuscular fat (IMF) of leg muscles from lambs were determined. Compared with the CON/CON, LIN/CON offspring tended to grow slower and to have reduced cold carcass weights. Moreover, the LIN supplementation only in the prepartum period (LIN/CON) resulted in greater PUFAn-3 accumulation in the IMF compared with the CON/CON offspring due to increased 20:5n-3 (1.20 v. 0.64 mg/100 mg of total FA), 22:5n-3 (1.91 v. 1.46;) and 22:6n-3 (1.25 v. 0.89) contents, respectively. Compared with the CON/CON diet, providing LIN only during lactation (CON/LIN) caused a greater PUFAn-3 content in the IMF mainly due to a greater 18:3n-3 (1.79 v. 0.75 mg/100 g total FA) concentration. Continuous PUFAn-3 exposure, both via the maternal gestation and lactation diet, had no additive effects on PUFAn-3 accumulation in tissues. The results suggest that linseed, as an 18:3n-3 source, seems to be more efficient in increasing long-chain PUFAn-3 in fetal than in suckling lamb tissues.