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Ratio of n-6/n-3 in the diets of beef cattle: Effect on growth, fatty acid composition, and taste of beef

McNiven, M.A., Duynisveld, J.L., Turner, T., Mitchell, A.W. (2011). Ratio of n-6/n-3 in the diets of beef cattle: Effect on growth, fatty acid composition, and taste of beef, 170(3-4), 171-181.


Effects of feeding heat-treated canola (C), soybean (S) and flax (F) or mixtures on growth and slaughter characteristics, taste and fatty acid (FA) composition of beef tissue were investigated using 128 crossbred steers to determine the potential of improving the nutritional quality of beef for humans. For Trial 1 (48 steers), dietary treatments were: roasted C, extruded C, roasted S, extruded S, roasted F and extruded F. For Trial 2 (80 steers), the dietary treatments were: S:F (1:1), S:C (1:1), C:F (1:1) and S:F:C (1:1:1), and the oilseeds were processed either by roasting or extruding before mixing. Soybean meal and soybean oil were used to give equivalent lipid and protein contents to each experimental diet. The basal diet consisted of grass silage, barley grain, vitamins and minerals. Steers were fed for a minimum of 100. d then slaughtered at a uniform degree of finish. Growth and slaughter characteristics of the steers were only slightly affected by dietary treatment in that the soybean-fed steers consumed more feed and had a higher average daily gain than the canola or flax-fed animals in Trial 1. There was no difference in taste panel parameters for any of the treatments. Inclusion of flax in the diet increased the total n-3 content of meat. Similar results were found for canola and C18:1n-9 although this was not the case for soybean and the n-6 FA. For the n-6 FA in the PL and neutral lipid fractions of the meat samples, levels were correlated with high dietary levels of n-6 or n-9 with low levels of n-3 while for the n-3 FA, levels were correlated with high dietary n-3 levels and low n-6 levels. Oilseed processing method did not have an effect on any fatty acid levels. It is possible to modify the FA composition of beef meat toward a healthier profile by including heat-treated oilseeds in the diet to influence the degree of lipid metabolism in the rumen. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

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