Lamb on the MAP

February 11/Madrid, Spain/Life Science Weekly -- According to recent research from Madrid, Spain, "The effect of vitamin E supplementation on fatty acid composition during storage of lamb meat packed in a high-oxygen modified atmosphere was studied. Lambs were fed with diets supplemented with four levels of vitamin E (0, 250, 500, and 1000mg acetate-alpha-tocopherol/kg feed). Slices of M. longissimus dorsi were packed in a high-oxygen modified atmosphere (70% O-2:30% CO2) and stored at 2 +/- 1 degrees C in the dark for 14, 21 and 28 days."

"The nonsupplemented group (EO) showed an increase in saturated fatty acids (SFA) and monounsaturated fatty acids and a reduction in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in total fatty acids. The proportion of SFA and PUFA was unchanged in the supplemented groups (E250, E500, and E1000). The supplementation with 250mg acetate-alpha-tocopherol/kg feed prevented the oxidation of PUFA in the total lipids and in the polar lipids fraction, while 500mg acetate-alpha-tocopherol/kg feed was necessary to prevent the oxidation of PUFA in free fatty acids," wrote I. Alvarez and colleagues.

The researchers concluded, "Supplementing vitamin E not only inhibited lipid oxidation but also maintained nutritional value [essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (C18:2n-6) and linolenic acid (C18:3n-3), and beneficial fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (C20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (C22:6n-3)] throughout the storage period."

Alvarez and colleagues published their study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry ("Changes in the Fatty Acid Composition of M. longissimus dorsi of Lamb during Storage in a High-Oxygen Modified Atmosphere at Different Levels of Dietary Vitamin E Supplementation." Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2009;57(1):140-146).

For additional information, contact M.T. Diaz, INIA, Dept. of Tecnol Alimentos, Centera Coruna Km 7-5, Madrid 28040, Spain.

From the February 16, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition