Enriching with PUFA

August 12/Food & Farm Week -- "Consumers are becoming more aware of the effect of the food they eat on their health. One of the ways they hope to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease is by consuming more foods enriched with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA)," scientists in Edmonton, Canada, report.

"Due to the high content of alpha-linolenic acid (LNA), dietary flaxseed is a good source for increasing n-3 PUFA in poultry meat. A study was conducted with two primary objectives: to establish the distribution of n-3 PUFA between triacylglycerol (TAG) and phospholipid of broiler chicken breast and thigh meat and to determine the duration of dietary flaxseed supplementation required to ensure a level of n-3 PUFA of 300mg per 100g of meat necessary to label meat as a source of n-3 PUFA.

"This experiment was conducted as a 2 x 8 factorial, with two dietary levels of ground flaxseed (10 and 17%) and eight durations of dietary flaxseed before processing [0 ((control), 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, and 35 d]. A total of 128 Ross x Ross 308 mixed-sex broilers were evaluated to 35 days of age. Breast and thigh meat fatty acid composition was analyzed on duplicate samples of ground meat pooled from eight birds per treatment. Broken-stick analysis was used to estimate the duration required to achieve 300mg of n-3 PUFA per 100g of breast meat. clearly indicated that LNA was mainly deposited in the TAG fraction of both breast and thigh meat. Enriching the chicken breast meat with 300mg of n-3 PUFA per 100g of meat was achieved in 11.3 and 26.2 days with a 17 and 10% level of flaxseed in diet, respectively. Although a significant increase of n-3 long-chain PUFA (20: 5n-3, 22: 5n-3, and 22: 6n-3) was found in the phospholipid and TAG fraction of both tissues, the concentration of these functional components was low," wrote M. Betti and colleagues, University of Alberta.

The researchers concluded, "More than 95% of n-3 PUFA enrichment was due to LNA."

Betti and colleagues published their study in Poultry Science ("Omega-3-enriched Broiler Meat: 3. Fatty Acid Distribution Between Triacylglycerol and Phospholipid Classes." Poultry Science, 2009;88(8):1740-1754).

For additional information, contact M. Betti, University of Alberta, Dept. of Agriculture Food & Nutrition Science, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P5, Canada.

From the August 17, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition