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Effect of dietary sources of n-3 fatty acids on pig performance and technological, nutritional and sensory qualities of pork

  • A. de Tonnac (a1) and J. Mourot (a1)

In France, animal products (dairy products, meat and eggs) are the main source of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in the human diet; however, many individuals do not consume enough of this nutrient. The objective of this study was to increase n-3 PUFA precursor and derivative contents in tissues and test how they influence technological and sensory qualities of meat without negatively affecting growth performances of pigs. A total of 60 male pigs [(Large White×Landrace)×Pietrain] were assigned according to their initial liveweight (50.7±2.7 kg) to five experimental groups corresponding to five different diets that they received from 14 to 22 weeks of age. Dietary lipid supplements were composed of soybean and palm oil (SP), dehulled and extruded linseed (EL-), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-rich microalgae (MAG) or a mixture of linseed and microalgae at 75%/25% (3EL-/MAG) and 50%/50% (EL-/MAG), respectively. Diet did not influence growth performances of pigs or the technological quality of the meat. The n-3 PUFA content in the longissimus dorsi muscle, subcutaneous backfat (SCB) and liver increased with a dietary supply of linseed and microalgae and corresponded to circulating fatty acids (FA). The amount of malondialdehyde, representative of FA lipid peroxidation measured in SCB, increased significantly with the supply of microalgae, meaning that PUFA from the microalgae included in the diet increased the meat’s susceptibility to oxidation. The MAG diet scored highest for ‘abnormal’ flavor, similar to that of fish or organ meat, but the n-3 PUFA-rich diet had no effect on other sensory characteristics. Results of this study indicate benefits of enriching animal feed with n-3 PUFA, but the inclusion of long-chain n-3 PUFA such as DHA must be limited to avoid oxidation susceptibility and development of an off-odor.

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