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Influence of unsaturated to saturated ratio of fatty acids reaching the duodenum on postruminal digestion of stearic acid in Holstein steers fed a high-fat finishing diet

Alejandro Plascencia, Alberto Barreras, Yissel Valdés-García, Richard A. Zinn.


Objective: To evaluate the influence of the unsaturated to saturated ratio of fatty acids (FAs) reaching the duodenum on postruminal digestion of FAs, mainly focused on stearic acid (C18:0).
Materials and Methods: Six Holstein steers [208 ± 3 kg initial live weight (LW)] with cannulas in the abomasum and proximal duodenum were used in a replicated 3 × 3 Latin square design. Steers were fed a fixed amount of a basal steam-flaked corn-based diet containing 8% supple mental fat and were daily infused via abomasum with 0, 67, and 165 gm oleic acid (C18:1). The experiment lasted for 42 days.
Results: The daily total FA (TFA) intake (dietary FA intake plus abomasal infusion of oleic acid) represented a 1.78, 2.10, and 2.56 gm TFA/kg LW ratio. The unsaturated to saturated ratio of FAs entering the duodenum increased (p < 0.01) aslevel C18:1 infusion into the abomasum increased. Infusion of C18:1 tended (quadratic component, p = 0.07) to improve postruminal TFA digestion, being maximal for the 67 gm/day infusions. This increase in TFA digestion was due to increased (quadratic component, p = 0.03) postruminal C18:0 digestion (postruminal digestion of the other FAs was not different, p ≥ 0.13).
Conclusion: Increasing the unsaturated to saturated ratio of FAs entering the small intestine will enhance intestinal C18:0 digestion. This positive effect is expected to be more likely bene ficial when FA intake is high (and thus, the duodenal flow of FA is high), but this benefit looks diminished when the quantity of TFA reaching the intestine exceeds the proportion of 2.13 gm FA/kg LW.

Key words: Fatty acid; postruminal digestion; steers;stearic acid; oleic acid; finishing diets

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