Effect of incremental amounts of fish oil in the diet on ruminal lipid metabolism in growing steers

K J Shingfield, M R F Lee, D J Humphries, N D Scollan, V Toivonen, C K Reynolds, D E Beever

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37 Citations (SciVal)


Based on the potential benefits to human health, there is interest in developing sustainable nutritional strategies to enhance the concentration of long-chain n-3 fatty acids in ruminant-derived foods. Four Aberdeen Angus steers fitted with rumen and duodenal cannulae were used in a 4 × 4 Latin square experiment with 21 d experimental periods to examine the potential of fish oil (FO) in the diet to enhance the supply of 20 : 5n-3 and 22 : 6n-3 available for absorption in growing cattle. Treatments consisted of total mixed rations based on maize silage fed at a rate of 85 g DM/kg live weight0·75/d containing 0, 8, 16 and 24 g FO/kg diet DM. Supplements of FO reduced linearly (P < 0·01) DM intake and shifted (P < 0·01) rumen fermentation towards propionate at the expense of acetate and butyrate. FO in the diet enhanced linearly (P < 0·05) the flow of trans-16 : 1, trans-18 : 1, trans-18 : 2, 20 : 5n-3 and 22 : 6n-3, and decreased linearly (P < 0·05) 18 : 0 and 18 : 3n-3 at the duodenum. Increases in the flow of trans-18 : 1 were isomer dependent and were determined primarily by higher amounts of trans-11 reaching the duodenum. In conclusion, FO alters ruminal lipid metabolism of growing cattle in a dose-dependent manner consistent with an inhibition of ruminal biohydrogenation, and enhances the amount of long-chain n-3 fatty acids at the duodenum, but the increases are marginal due to extensive biohydrogenation in the rumen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-66
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number1
Early online date23 Mar 2010
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


  • Acetic Acid
  • Animals
  • Butyrates
  • Cattle
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Duodenum
  • Energy Intake
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fermentation
  • Fish Oils
  • Isomerism
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Male
  • Propionates
  • Rumen
  • Silage
  • Trans Fatty Acids
  • Zea mays


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