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Background There has been an increased interest in nutritional strategies to manipulate the fatty acid profile of pigs. Dietary regimens involving the use of oils that are high in monosaturated fatty acid (MUFA), primarily oleic acid (OA), such as canola oil (CO), as well as in omega (n)-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), which are found in fish oil (FO), have been investigated aiming healthier fatty acid profile cuts, with a higher ratio of n-3 to n-6 fatty acids. Therefore, the effects of including 3% soybean oil (SO), CO, or FO in growing-finishing pig diets vs. feeding a standard commercial diet with 1.5% SO (control) on growth performance, carcass traits, meat quality, consumer acceptability, and intramuscular fatty acid composition of the longissimus lumborum (LL) muscle were evaluated.
Results Dietary treatments had no effect on overall growth performance and pig carcasses. Although loins from pigs fed diets containing either 3% SO or CO showed a reduction (P = 0.05) in Warner-Bratzler shear force, only the addition of 3% SO to pig diets resulted in loin chops that were rated higher (P < 0.001) for consumer overall liking. Adding either 3% SO or CO increased (P < 0.01) the percentages of OA and total MUFA in the LL intramuscular fat compared to control- or FO-fed pigs. However, intramuscular fat from 3% SO- or CO-fed pigs had the lowest (P < 0.01) proportion of total n-3 PUFA than control- or FO-fed pigs. Including 3% fat, regardless of source, reduced (P < 0.01) total PUFA, total n-6 PUFA, and PUFA:saturated fatty acid (SFA) ratio than control-fed pigs. Dietary FO inclusion decreased (P < 0.01) n-6:n-3 PUFA ratio, but also increased total SFA (P < 0.01) and atherogenic index (P = 0.02) in the LL intramuscular fat.
Conclusions Although adding 3% CO or FO to pig diets provided slight nutritional benefits to consumers in terms of MUFA and long chain n-3 PUFA contents, respectively, formulating growing-finishing diets with 1.5% SO was adequate enough in terms of LL intramuscular fatty acids composition for high quality meat destined to human consumption.
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