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Inclusion of flaxseed in hay- and barley silage diets increases alpha-linolenic acid in cow plasma independent of forage type

He, M.L., Chung, Y.H., McAllister, T.A., Beauchemin, K.A., Mir, P.S., Aalhus, J.L., Dugan, M.E.R. (2011). Inclusion of flaxseed in hay- and barley silage diets increases alpha-linolenic acid in cow plasma independent of forage type, 46(7), 577-585. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11745-011-3534-4

Abstract

Feeding flaxseed to cattle may be a means of increasing omega-3 fatty acid levels in ruminant products, but possible interactions with conserved forages have not been investigated. Twelve Holstein cows were used in a replicated 4 x 4 Latin Square experiment. Cows were fed one of four 50:50 forage:concentrate diets (DM basis): hay (hay control, HC), hay plus 15% ground flaxseed (hay-flaxseed, HF), barley silage (silage control, SC), and barley silage plus 15% ground flaxseed (silage-flaxseed, SF). Plasma concentrations of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) did not differ between SC and HC diets. Flaxseed increased ALA (P < 0.05), but levels were not influenced by forage type. Flaxseed slightly increased 18:2n-6 (P < 0.05) and some n-6 and n-3 elongation and desaturation products, particularly arachidonic acid (ARA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Flaxseed also increased C18:0 (P < 0.05) with this increase being greater (P < 0.01) for cows fed SF than HF. Feeding flaxseed also increased plasma C18:1-trans isomers (P < 0.01), predominantly vaccenic acid (VAA, 18:1-t11), with this increase being greater (P < 0.05) in cows fed HF than SF. Although conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) was increased (P < 0.001) with flaxseed it was not influenced by forage type (P = 0.06). Overall, feeding flaxseed increased plasma ALA, EPA, ARA and CLA independently of forage type. Feeding flaxseed with silage, however, resulted in more 18:0, while feeding flaxseed with hay resulted in greater accumulations of plasma 18:1-trans isomers mainly in the form of VAA. © 2011 AOCS.

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