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In vitro biohydrogenation of 13C-labeled α-linolenic acid in response to ruminal alterations associated with diet-induced milk fat depression in ewes

Toral, P.G., Hervás, G., Frutos, P.
Journal of dairy science 2019 v.102 no.2 pp. 1213-1223
alpha-linolenic acid, biohydrogenation, cannulas, carbon, cis-trans isomers, ewes, fish oils, gas chromatography, inoculum, isotope labeling, lactating females, lactation, low fat milk, mass spectrometry, metabolites, milk fat yield, rumen fermentation, rumen microorganisms, stable isotopes, total mixed rations
The basis for marine lipid-induced milk fat depression (MFD) has not been established yet, but recent reports suggest the putative contribution of shifts in the ruminal metabolism of α-linolenic acid (ALA). To test this hypothesis, an isotopic tracer approach was used in batch cultures of rumen microorganisms with inoculum collected from cannulated ewes fed either a total mixed ration without lipid supplementation (control inoculum) or the same diet supplemented with 2% of fish oil, which is known to cause MFD in lactating sheep (FO-MFD inoculum). The [1-13C]ALA was added at a dose of 1% of incubated dry matter and the proportions of 13C-labeled fatty acids (FA) were examined after 24 h of incubation, using complementary gas chromatography and gas chromatography-combustion isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-C-IRMS) analyses. Expected differences in FA profiles were confirmed between control and FO-MFD inocula (e.g., large decreases in 18:0 and increases in most 18:1 and 18:2 intermediates, particularly trans isomers, to fish oil supply). The biohydrogenation of 13ALA was extensive and yielded multiple metabolites, with a total of 48 chromatographic peaks showing 13C enrichment, regardless of the inoculum type. However, although ALA was biohydrogenated through common pathways under standard or MFD conditions, large changes in the accumulation of 13C-labeled FA suggest important differences in the relative contribution of each specific route. First, increased accumulation of trans-11-containing FA in FO-MFD incubations was accompanied by a general repression of the trans-13/14 pathway (supported by lower trans-13+14 18:1 or trans-11,trans-13 18:2 proportions), together with a lower production of cis FA (e.g., cis-9, -12, and -15 18:1 and some cis,cis 18:2). Results also downplayed the relevance of the trans-11 to trans-10 shift as an effective marker of diet-induced MFD in sheep, and challenged the involvement of some trans-10 intermediates (e.g., trans-10 18:1 and trans-10,cis-15 18:2) in the low-fat milk syndrome in this species. Conversely, increased abundance of most 18:3 intermediates (including some unidentified isomers) might be representative of ruminal alterations related to fish oil supplementation in ewes. Further research is necessary to examine the potential association between these findings and MFD in lactating animals.