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Comparing Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue in Beef and Muskox with Emphasis on trans 18:1 and Conjugated Linoleic Acids

Dugan, Michael E. R., Kramer, John K. G., Robertson, Wayne M., Meadus, William J., Aldai, Noelia, Rolland, David C.
Lipids 2007 v.42 no.6 pp. 509-518
Ovibos moschatus, wild animals, beef cattle, adipose tissue, fatty acid composition, saturated fatty acids, unsaturated fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid, stearoyl-CoA desaturase, messenger RNA, gene expression regulation, lipid metabolism, Canada
Muskox (Ovibos moschatus) are ruminant animals native to the far north and little is known about their fatty acid composition. Subcutaneous adipose tissue (backfat) from 16 wild muskox was analyzed and compared to backfat from 16 barley fed beef cattle. Muskox backfat composition differed substantially from beef and the most striking difference was a high content of 18:0 (26.8 vs. 9.77%). This was accompanied by higher levels of most other saturated fatty acids except beef had more 16:0. Muskox backfat also had a lower level of cis-18:1 and this was related to a lower expression of steroyl-CoA desaturase mRNA. Beef backfat had a higher level of total trans-18:1 (4.25 vs. 2.67%). The most prominent trans-18:1 isomers in beef backfat were 10t-18:1 (2.13%) and 11t-18:1 (0.77%) whereas the most prominent isomers in muskox backfat were 11t-18:1 (1.41%), 13t/14t- (0.27%) and 16t-18:1 (0.23%). The total conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) content was higher in beef backfat than muskox (0.67 vs. 0.50%) with 9c,11t-18:2 as the most abundant CLA isomer. The second most abundant CLA isomer in beef backfat was 7t,9c-18:2 (0.10%) whereas in muskox it was 11t13c-18:2 (0.04%). Muskox backfat had a higher content of 18:3n-3 and its elongation and desaturation products 20:5n-3, 22:5n-3 and 22:6n-3 and a lower n-6/n-3 ratio. Overall, the high forage diet of muskox seemed to produce a healthier fatty acid profile and highlighted the need to develop feeding strategies for intensively raising beef that will not negatively impacting fatty acid composition.