Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Relationship between the fatty acid composition of uropygial gland secretion and blood of meat chickens receiving different dietary fats

Khaled Kanakri A D , Beverly Muhlhausler A , John Carragher A , Robert Gibson A , Reza Barekatain B C , Carolyn Dekoning B C , Kelly Drake B and Robert Hughes B C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A FOODplus Research Centre, School of Agriculture Food and Wine, The University of Adelaide, SA 5064, Australia.

B South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), Roseworthy Campus, SA 5371, Australia.

C School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, The University of Adelaide, SA 5371, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: khaled.kanakri@adelaide.edu.au

Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN16268
Submitted: 26 April 2016  Accepted: 18 October 2016   Published online: 6 December 2016

Abstract

Manipulation of the fatty acid composition of chicken feed has been shown to be effective for improving the nutritional value of chicken products. Currently, however, evaluation of the effectiveness of this approach requires invasive blood sampling or post mortem tissue sampling of the birds. Preen oil can be collected non-invasively from live birds. So this study aimed to test the hypothesis that the fatty acid composition of preen oil reflects that of the blood. Male and female meat chickens (Cobb 500) were fed a diet supplemented with 4% (w/w) flaxseed oil (high n-3 polyunsaturates) or beef tallow (mostly monounsaturates and saturates) for 6 weeks. Preen oil and whole blood samples (n = 9 birds per sex/diet treatment group) were collected freshly post mortem for fatty acid analysis. Preen oil analysis showed that ~97% of fatty acids were saturates, with a small percentage of n-6 polyunsaturates and traces of other types. There were negligible n-3 polyunsaturates in preen oil. Proportions of some saturated fatty acids were slightly, but significantly, affected by diet (C16:0 (P < 0.05) and C17:0 (P < 0.01)) or by gender (C10:0 and C18:0) (P < 0.05). Some fatty acids with odd numbers of carbon atoms (e.g. C17:0 and C19:0) were found in relatively high concentrations in preen oil, despite not being detectable in either the diet or blood. In conclusion, the fatty acid composition of preen oil does not accurately reflect the fatty acid profile of the blood; it is not, therefore, a suitable alternative for determining fatty acid status of meat chickens.

Additional keywords: gender effect, preen oil.


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