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Influence of animal diet on fatty acid composition of pork

Modifying the fatty acid composition of pork through animal nutrition to achieve meat with more polyunsaturated fatty acids and favourable ratio n-3 to n-6 fatty acids to benefit consumers' health.

Animal products contribute significantly to the saturated fat and cholesterol content of the European diet. As they have many benefits (essential amino acids, macro and micro minerals, vitamins and good taste), consumers have not limited their consumption of animal products. Thus, an alternative approach might be to modify the fatty acid composition of animal products. Not only to increase unsaturated fatty acids but also to balance the n-6/n-3 fatty acid ratio because this is essential for normal growth and development and should lead to a decrease in cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases and improve mental health. Meat from monogastric animals, essentially pigs and poultry, is by far the most consumed of all meats. For a long time, pig meat has been presented as fatty meat because of the importance of subcutaneous adipose tissue. Progress in genetics and a better knowledge of dietary needs has improved growth performances to increase muscle weight and strongly decrease carcass adiposity. The next step is to produce lean meat with a higher percentage of unsaturated fatty acids and lower percentage of saturated fatty acids. In particular, we will try to enrich pig meat with n-3 fatty acids because of their benefit to human health. Because the tissues of monogastrics, such as pigs, are very responsive to changes in dietary fatty acids we will focus on pig nutrition. In nutritional experiments we will use different feed mixtures with defined nutrient and fatty acid composition. Using Gas-Liquid Chromatography (GLC) we will examine the fatty acid composition of different pig tissues, especially the fatty acid composition of muscles. Using rancimat, we will define the oxidative stability of meat. We will also measure the sensorial qualities of meat (colour, flavour and juiciness). In the last phase of the trial we will examine the proper handling of such meat in slaughterhouses, storage and the marketplace. Keywords: nutrition, pork, fatty acids.
Acronym: 
AFA
Project ID: 
3 114
Start date: 
01-07-2003
Project Duration: 
36months
Project costs: 
1 450 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Animal Selection/Production / Husbandry technology
Market Area: 
Animal Husbandry

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.