Maximising omega-3 available for meat through production of high quality silage

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Background ' Meat is a good source of beneficial long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCn-3PUFA)that have several health benefits, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, and mental health disorders.Concentrations of LCn-3PUFA are higher when animals are fed forages compared to grain. Little research hasexamined the effects of producing silage from forage on the amount of omega-3 available for meat production.Objective ' To examine changes in omega-3 levels in forages following ensiling under Australian conditions and toidentify silage production methods that maximise the conservation of omega-3 ('-linolenic acid), to potentiallyincrease the quality and health benefits of meat consumed from animals fed this silage.Design ' Silage will be produced from different forage types. Fatty acids will be measured in different lipidfractions prior to and following ensiling. An estimation of rumen biohydrogenation of omega-3 and omega-6 fattyacids will assess the amount of fatty acid available for incorporation into meat.Outcomes ' Silages have been produced from triticale and lucerne. Techniques are being established to extractindividual lipid fractions from forage and to quantitatively determine fatty acid concentrations. Typically, cerealforage pre-ensiling contains around 2.25% fat (ether extract) and approximately 40-50% of total fatty acids as '-linolenic acid. Studies are continuing to examine concentrations in forage and potential breakdown(biohydrogenation) in the rumen in vitro.Conclusions ' If '-linolenic acid is released as free fatty acid during the ensiling process, less will be available formetabolism to LCn-3PUFA and subsequent incorporation into meat. Initial results will form the basis of a project toexamine the effects of different methods of silage production on LCn-3PUFA concentrations in meat.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Nutrition Society of Australia
EditorsMark Wahlqvist
Place of PublicationMelbourne
PublisherHEC Press
PagesS116 (P12)
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventAsia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition - Glenelg, Australia
Duration: 30 Nov 200803 Dec 2008


ConferenceAsia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition


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