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This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 89 No. 11, p. 3728-3741
    Received: Mar 11, 2011
    Published: December 4, 2014

    2 Corresponding author(s):


Effect of linseed oil and fish oil alone or as an equal mixture on ruminal fatty acid metabolism in growing steers fed maize silage-based diets1

  1. K. J. Shingfield 2,
  2. M. R. F. Lee,
  3. D. J. Humphries*,
  4. N. D. Scollan,
  5. V. Toivonen,
  6. D. E. Beever*33 and
  7. C. K. Reynolds*
  1. Centre for Dairy Research, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, The University of Reading, Earley Gate, Reading, RG6 6AR, United Kingdom;
    Animal Production Research, MTT Agrifood Research Finland, FI-31600, Jokioinen, Finland; and
    Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Gogerddan Campus, Aberystwyth, SY23 3EB, United Kingdom



Because of the potential benefits to human health, there is interest in increasing 18:3n-3, 20:5n-3, 22:6n-6, and cis-9,trans-11 CLA in ruminant foods. Four Aberdeen Angus steers (406 ± 8.2 kg of BW) fitted with ruminal and duodenal cannulas were used in a 4 × 4 Latin square experiment with 21-d periods to examine the potential of fish oil (FO) and linseed oil (LO) in the diet to increase ruminal outflow of trans-11 18:1 and total n-3 PUFA in growing cattle. Treatments consisted of a control diet (60:40; forage:concentrate ratio, on a DM basis, respectively) based on maize silage, or the same basal ration containing 30 g/kg of DM of FO, LO, or a mixture (1:1, wt/wt) of FO and LO (LFO). Diets were offered as total mixed rations and fed at a rate of 85 g of DM/(kg of BW0.75/d). Oils had no effect (P = 0.52) on DMI. Linseed oil had no effect (P > 0.05) on ruminal pH or VFA concentrations, whereas FO shifted rumen fermentation toward propionate at the expense of acetate. Compared with the control, LO increased (P < 0.05) 18:0, cis 18:1 (Δ9, 12–15), trans 18:1 (Δ4–9, 11–16), trans 18:2, geometric isomers of ∆9,11, ∆11,13, and ∆13,15 CLA, trans-8,cis-10 CLA, trans-10,trans-12 CLA, trans-12,trans-14 CLA, and 18:3n-3 flow at the duodenum. Inclusion of FO in the diet resulted in greater (P < 0.05) flows of cis-9 16:1, trans 16:1 (Δ6–13), cis 18:1 (Δ9, 11, and 13), trans 18:1 (Δ6–15), trans 18:2, 20:5n-3, 22:5n-3, and 22:6n-3, and decreased (P < 0.001) 18:0 at the duodenum relative to the control. For most fatty acids at the duodenum, responses to LFO were intermediate of FO and LO. However, LFO resulted in greater (P = 0.04) flows of total trans 18:1 than LO and increased (P < 0.01) trans-6 16:1 and trans-12 18:1 at the duodenum compared with FO or LO. Biohydrogenation of cis-9 18:1 and 18:2n-6 in the rumen was independent of treatment, but both FO and LO increased (P < 0.001) the extent of 18:3n-3 biohydrogenation compared with the control. Ruminal 18:3n-3 biohydrogenation was greater (P < 0.001) for LO and LFO than FO, whereas biohydrogenation of 20:5n-3 and 22:6n-3 in the rumen was marginally less (P = 0.05) for LFO than FO. In conclusion, LO and FO at 30 g/kg of DM altered the biohydrogenation of unsaturated fatty acids in the rumen, causing an increase in the flow of specific intermediates at the duodenum, but the potential of these oils fed alone or as a mixture to increase n-3 PUFA at the duodenum in cattle appears limited.

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