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Research Article

Effects of Calcium Salt of Long Chain Fatty Acid on Performance and Blood Metabolites of Atabay Lambs

T. Ghoorchi, A.M. Gharabash and N.M. Torbatinejad
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An experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of different levels of calcium salt of long chain fatty acids (Ca-LCFA) on performance, blood metabolites, carcass characteristics and feed intake in Atabay lambs. Twenty-eight male lambs with mean body weight of 24.5±0.51 kg and 4 to 5 months age were used in a 90 days feeding experiment. The trial was carried out using Completely Randomized Design with 4 dietary treatments containing 0, 2.5, 5 and 7.5% Ca-LCFA (dry matter basis). At the end of the experiment, 3 lambs from each treatment were slaughtered for carcass analysis. The treatments did not result in significant (p<0.05) differences for characteristics of skin, head, neck, shoulder, chest , ribs, feet, back, hot carcass, heart, kidney, lung, liver and fat-tail weight. The Ca-LCFA level in the diet affected (p<0.05) the triglyceride and glucose concentration of blood serum, but have no effect on Ca and urea. It was concluded that Ca-LCFA of 2.5% is the best level for use in diet for lambs.

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T. Ghoorchi, A.M. Gharabash and N.M. Torbatinejad , 2006. Effects of Calcium Salt of Long Chain Fatty Acid on Performance and Blood Metabolites of Atabay Lambs. Asian Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, 1: 70-75.

DOI: 10.3923/ajava.2006.70.75



Fat is usually used as a generic term to describe compounds that have a high contents of long-chain Fatty Acids (FAs) including triglycerides, phospholipids, non-esterified FAs and salts of long-chain Fas (Anonymous, 2001).

Fats, in ruminant diet can increase the caloric density without reducing the fiber contribution and it can also increases energy consumption and utilization efficiency (Espinoza et al., 1998). Incorporation of 3 to 5% of fat into the total ration of dairy cows has increased milk yield (Palmquist et al., 1986). Calcium soaps of long chain fatty acids are relatively inert in the lumen and can increase energy density and energy consumption without altering the microbial activity in lumen (Palmquist and Jenkis, 1980). Use of free fats in diets is usually limited to 3% of dietary Dry Matter (DM). More fat (5 to 6% of dietary DM) in the form of Ca salts can be fed without deleterious effects on ruminal digestion (Palmquist, 1984).

Feeding soybean soap stock or a blend of soybean oil and tallow did not affect Acid Detergent Fiber Intake (ADFI), Average Daily Gain (ADG) or feed efficiency when compared with feeding tallow or yellow grease. These sources improved ADG and efficiency in comparison to no-fat controls (Zinn, 1989). On the contrary, yellow grease added to feedlot diets decreased ADFI in comparison to no-fat controls (Brandt and Anderson, 1990). Typically, the microflora in the rumen convert the majority of dietary unsaturated FAs to saturated FA. It has been of hydrogenation in the rumen, C18:0 and various iso observed that supplementation of diets with fat helps in meeting the energy requirement of high producing dairy cattle without causing metabolic disorder when large amounts of grain are fed (Anonymous, 2001).

Estimates for ruminal hydrogenation of Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) range from 60 to 90%. Biohydrogenation of supplemental unsaturated FAs may be as low as 30 to 40% if the FAs are fed as calcium salts (Klusmeyer and Clark, 1991). Because isomer of C18:1 are the major FAs leaving the rumen. The generation time for bacteria that are able to degrade long-chain FAs is relatively long precluding substantial inhabitation of the rumen. Consequently, little degradation of long-chain FAs occurs in the rumen (Klusmeyer and Clark, 1991).

Feeding supplemental fat to ruminants has reduced digestibility of calcium, magnesium, or both in some studies. Fas can form insoluble soaps with cations in the rumen, distal small intestine and large intestine. Soap formation is favored as pH increases (Palmquist and Conrad, 1978; Rahnema et al., 1994; Zinn and Shen, 1996). Soap formation can reduce magnesium absorption from the intestine.

The purpose of this study, therefore, was to determine the effects of Ca-LCFA on body weight gain, dry matter intake, feed conversion coefficient and to study we hematological factors like blood, urea, glucose, calcium, triglyceride and carcass componend.

Materials and Methods

Twenty-eight male Atabay lambs with mean body weight of 24.5±0.51 kg and 4-5 months of age were used in a 90-day feeding experiment. The trial was carried out using Completely Randomized Design with 4 dietary treatments containing 0, 2.5, 5 and 7.%. Ca-LCFA (DM basis). The diets were isoenergetic (Table 1) according to the recommendation of NRC (Anonymous, 1985). The animals within each treatment were housed in similar pens equipped with feeder and water supply. Lambs were fed for ad libitum intake and Dry Mater Intake (DMI) was recorded daily. Diets were fed twice daily in equal portions at 800 and 1800. Orts were recorded daily at 700.

Table 1: Ingredient and chemical composition of experimental diet (Anonymous, 1985)
aValues (percentage) shown are DM based. Diets were isocaloric. Ca-LCFA = Calcium salt of long- chain fatty acids

These lambs were slaughtered for the evaluation of carcass characteristics and the quality of meat after 90 days. The lambs were fasted for 18 h with free access to water and slaughtered by Iranian method (Edriss, 1992). Then, carcass characteristics of skin, head, neck, shoulder, chest and ribs, feet, back, hot carcass, heart, kidney, lung, liver and fat-tail weights were determined. Dressing proportions were calculated on the basis of field weight and hot carcass weight.

At the end of experiment, blood samples were collected through junction of the jugular vein. The blood samples were collected in evacuated tubes, refrigerated at 4°C, allowed to clod, centrifuged (3000* rpm for 5 min) within 60 min after collection and using EDTA as an anticoagulant.

The collected data was subjected to analysis of variance using the Statistical Analysis System (SAS, 1996).

Results and Discussion

Body Gain and Feed Conversion
Means for initial weight were similar among treatments (Table 2). Significant differences were detected between treatments for live weight and average daily gain (ADG) (Table 2). Live weights of 39.78, 43.05, 38.44 and 38.33 kg were recorded at the end of 90 days experimentation for 0, 2.5, 5.0 and 7.5% Ca-LCFA in the diets, respectively. These estimates were 154.7, 187.1, 149.9 and 148.7 g d-1 for ADG. Zinn (1989), reported that feeding soybean soap stock improves ADG and efficiency in comparison to no-fat control. Jenkins (1993) reviewed earlier studies and concluded that dietary fat reduce rumen fiber digestibility because of the negative effect of unsaturated fatty acids on lumen microorganisms. Furthermore, various fat sources have shown either an improvement in feed efficiency or no effect (Brandt and Anderson, 1990). Toufighi (2004) showed that an addition of 3 to 5% calcium salt of fatty acid to the diet has increased daily body weight gain and feed conversion ration. In the present study, the effect of four periods of measurements on mean of daily body weight gain, was significant (p<0.05).

Dry Matter Intake
Dry matter intake was decreased by the high fat diet (Table 2). Feeding high fat diets often decreases dry matter intake by dairy cows (Toufighi, 2004). decreased intake may be mediated by satiety hormones secreted in response to the presence of dietary fat in the intestine. Chio and Palmquist (1996) reported that cows fed with high fat diets had higher plasma cholecystokinin (CCK) and pancreatic polypeptide but had lower plasma insulin concentrations when compared with control cows. Cholecystokinin is a potent satiety hormone in sheep and in non-ruminants. It is unknown, however, whether increased endogenous CCK is a causative factor in the fat-induced depression of feed intake in dairy cattle (Baile and Della-Ferel, 1981).

Table 2: Production performance of lambs maintained of different levels of Ca-LCFA
Ca-LCFA = Calcium Salt of long-chain fatty acids. Unlike superscript in a row differ significantly (p<0.05)

Table 3: Carcass characterics of lambs on different levels of Ca-LCFA
Ca-LCFA = Calcium Salt of long-chain fatty acids. Unlike superscript in a row differ significantly (p<0.05)

Table 4: Influence Ca-LCFA in the diet on plasma metabolic concentrations
Unlike superscript in a row differ significantly (p<0.05)

Carcass Characteristics
The fat level in the diet affected (p<0.05) shoulder weight and leg weight, but differences in characteristics of skin, head and neck, chest, ribs, feet, back, hot carcass, heart, kidney, lung, liver and fat-tail weights between the treatments were not significant (p>0.05) (Table 3). As animals grow, they do not simply increase in size and weight but also show what is termed development. That is, the various parts of animal, defined as anatomical components (e.g., legs), as organs (e.g., liver) or as tissues (e.g., muscle) grow at different rates (McDonald et al., 1995).

Blood Metabolites
The fat level in the diet affected (p<0.05) serum concentration of TG, glucose, but not urea and Ca (Table 4). The TG levels were higher in lambs fed with the diet containing 2.5% LCFA. Increase in serum concentration of TG metabelolits in lambs fed with 2.5% LCFA may be due to the production of lipoproteins in the intestine by fat (Grummer and Carroll, 1991). Espinoza et al. (1998) reported that feeding calcium soaps of fatty acids to lamb increases serum concentration of TG.

Studies have indicated that plasma glucose do not change when fat is fed or when long- fatty acids are infused into abomasums (Khorasani and Kennelly, 1998). It has been reported that the time of sampling has no effect on plasma concentration of glucose. Plasma insulin concentration is increased linearly by increase in the amounts of fat in the diet (Khorasani and Kennelly, 1998) other studies have shown a lower plasma insulin concentration as the results of added dietary fat (Khorasani and Kennelly, 1998). Plasma triglyceride concentration changed significantly when the high fat diet was fed (Table 4). The TG levels were higher in Lambs fed with the diet of 2.5% calcium soaps of long chain fatty acids.


The authors would like to thank Dr. Mosatafalo from Faculty of agricultural Gonbad, Company Kimia Roshd and Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

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