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Lipgene

Findings from the Lipgene Project:
Animal Nutrition

Dairy fats are the main sources of the cholesterol-raising saturated fatty acids and an allied effort by the agro-food sector is applying advanced technologies to alter the metabolism of dairy cows to reduce the level of saturated fatty acids in milk fat. The potential to increase intakes of beneficial long chain omega-3 fatty acids via poultry is also being studied. A new type of milk and butter, which has significantly altered fatty acid composition, offers enormous potential for mass public health nutrition intervention.

I. Ruminant Nutrition

The main aim is to develop sustainable nutritional strategies to reduce the saturated fatty acid content and increase the monounsaturated fatty acid content of milk without increasing undesirable trans-fatty acids. However, it is believed that if the diet of an animal is changed, the bacterial population of its rumen will be different, and as a result, biohydrogenation will change so the fatty acid composition of the milk will be affected. To understand and predict this better, scientists are attempting to characterise the bacterial population involved in biohydrogenation. The next phase of this work will see milk fat composition related back to ruminal microbial population.

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II. Non-ruminant Nutrition

Chicken meat that is enriched with long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is less oxidatively stable than conventional chicken meat after it has been cooked. Work continues to determine what impact this would have on the shelf life and flavour of the cooked meat. As expected, meat enriched with DHA is more oxidatively unstable than meat enriched with EPA. Feeding long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids to poultry in the form of marine algal biomass rather than fish oil did not increase the oxidative stability of the meat, suggesting that the algal biomass does not contain antioxidants that confer additional protection against autoxidation in the edible tissues of the bird.

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Dropper, Agar plate
Findings from the Lipgene Project