The aim of this study was to determine the effects of an omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)-enriched diet on animal fat depots and lipid oxidation in the blood and meat of broiler chickens. Abdominal fat pad (AFP), sartorius muscle and liver histology were used to assess the effect of the dietary fat on animal lipid depots. A total of 60 female broilers (14 days old) was randomly divided into two groups which received a diet containing 10 % of tallow (S diet), rich in saturated fatty acids or 10 % of a blend of fish oil and linseed oil (N3 diet), rich in n-3 PUFA from 14 to 50 days of life. Both absolute and relative weights of AFP in N3 animals were lower than in the S group (P < 0.05). These results paralleled with a lower adipocyte mean area (P < 0.001) obtained in N3-fed animals, leading to a higher number of fat cells per unit of surface measured (383.4 adipocytes/mm2 vs. 273.7 adipocytes/mm2). Similarly, fat content and the intramuscular fat-occupied area of muscle were lower in N3 (P < 0.0001) than in the S-fed birds. Neither macroscopic nor microscopic differences were observed in the liver. The inclusion of dietary n-3 PUFA increased meat and erythrocyte oxidation susceptibility; however, the erythrocytes from the S group were less resistant to osmotic changes. Results indicate that feeding an n-3 PUFA diet influences fat distribution and the oxidative status of broiler chickens. © 2013 AOCS.
- Abdominal fat
- Fish oil