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Animal. 2019 Oct 30:1-8. doi: 10.1017/S1751731119002611. [Epub ahead of print]

Milk and meat fatty acids from sheep fed a plantain-chicory mixture or a grass-based permanent sward.

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Escuela de Graduados, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile.
Instituto Producción Animal, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Casilla 567, Valdivia 5090000, Chile.
Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias, INIA Remehue, Ruta 5 Norte km 8, P.O. Box 24-0, Osorno, Chile.


Plantain and chicory are interesting forage species since they present good nutritional quality and are more resistant to drought than many temperate grasses. The fatty acid (FA) profile in milk and meat is related to a growing concern for the consumption of healthy foods, that is, with a lower content of saturated FA, higher polyunsaturated FA (PUFA) and a favourable n-6 : n-3 FAs ratio. Our objective was to evaluate the FA content in ewe's milk and lamb's meat fed a plantain-chicory mixture (PCH) or a grass-based permanent sward (GBS) dominated by perennial ryegrass. Eighteen Austral ewes in mid-lactation were allocated to PCH and GBS treatments. Milk samples were obtained during September (spring). Thirty weaned lambs were finished on both treatments from November to December (7 weeks), slaughtered and their meat sampled. Fat from milk and meat samples was extracted and stored until analysed by gas chromatography. Milk fat from GBS was higher than from PCH (P < 0.05) in C18:0 (11 385 v. 5874 mg/100 g FA), 9c-18:1 (15 750 v. 8565 mg/100 g FA), 11 t-18:1 (4576 v. 2703 mg/100 g FA) and 9c,11 t-18:2 (1405 v. 921 mg/100 g FA) and lower in 18:2n-6 (827 v. 1529 mg/100 g FA) and 18:3n-3 (943 v. 1318 mg/100 g FA) FA. Total mono-unsaturated FA was higher in GBS than PCH (P < 0.05). Meat fat from PCH swards presented a higher (P < 0.05) content than GBS for 18:2n-6 (46.8 v. 28.2 mg/100 g FA), linolenic (24.6 v. 14.2 mg/100 g FA), polyunsaturated FA (119.7 v. 73.4 mg/100 g FA), n-6 (65.9 v. 40.8 mg/100 g FA) and n-3 (53.8 v. 32.5 mg/100 g FA), respectively. No effect of treatment (P > 0.05) was detected for 9c-18:1 (283.9 v. 205.8 mg/100 g FA), 11 t-18:1 (26.2 v. 19.3 mg/100 g FA) and 9c,11 t-18:2 (10.1 v. 7.6 mg/100 g FA), for PCH and GBS. These results suggest that grazing a PCH mixture results in a higher concentration of PUFA in ewes' milk and in lambs' fat, as compared to a GBS sward.


Cichorium intybus; Plantago lanceolata; ewes’ milk; fatty acid composition; lambs’ meat


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