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Piglet brain and liver fatty acid composition and importance for behavior at birth : an effect of altered dietary lipid in sow diet

Högberg Anders, Pickova Jana, Sampels Sabine, Wigren Isabelle, Neil Maria


Piglet number, their birth weight and survival have been important issues for the farming industry during a long time. Still mortality around 10% or more for piglets after birth is very common. This development in pig farming has been ascribed the selection for lean growth resulting in less physiologically mature status of piglets as suggested by Herpin et al. (1993). The Swedish lean pig, is no exception, generally suffering the same losses of piglets. So far sow diets have been composed with regard to protein, vitamins, minerals and energy demands, while the needs for essentially fatty acids in animal nutrition have not been fully recognised. Today, the most commonly used fat sources in pig diets are cereals, which contain mostly monounsaturated fatty acids and n-6 unsaturated fatty acids. Attempts have not been made to design the composition of lipids to fulfil the physiological needs for polyunsaturates including a well balanced ratio of n-6/n-3 fatty acids. The most obvious goal has been a cheap and not easily oxidised lipid source resulting in a high ratio n-6/n-3 fatty acids, often exceeding 10:1. It is well established that the nervous system of newborns has a large demand for n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The retina and brain of mammals is in general very rich in docosahexaenoic fatty acid, 22:6n-3 (DHA). The need of DHA from external sources in piglet retina and brain has been demonstrated by Leskanich and Noble (1999). The present study deals with the nutritional needs of essentially fatty acids with regard to the composition of fatty acids, especially n-6 and n-3. The aim of this study was to explore if a change in dietary fatty acid content from low fat, high fat- saturated, and two high fat - unsaturated diets (n-6 rich and n-3 rich, respectively) had impact on the tissue composition of newborn piglets. The diets were fed to purebred Swedish Yorkshire sows at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Funbo-Lövsta experimental station, from before service until weaning. Liver and the brain lipids were analysed for fatty acids after extraction and separation as methyl esters by gas chromatography. All samples were analysed in duplicate. The results show an increased amount of n-3 fatty acids in the tissues from piglets born by n-3 fed sows. The fatty acid composition also differed between just born and 1 day old piglets. Thus, a significant effect on the tissue composition of both liver and brain as a result of the different feed fatty acids given to the sows was recognised. If these results have implications on the behaviour of the newborns will be further investigated. References Herpin, P., Le Dividich, J., Amaral, N. 1993. Effect of selection for lean tissue growth on body composition and physiological state of the pig at birth. J. Animal Sci. 71:2645-2653. Leskanich, C.O., Noble, R.C. 1999. The comparative roles of polyunsaturated fatty acids in pig neonatal development. British J. Nutr. 81: 87-106. Rooke, J.A., Shanks, M., Edwards, S.A. 2001 Effects of ooffering maize, linseed or tuna oils throughout pregnancy and lactation on sow and piglet tissue composition and piglet performance. Animal Science 71, 289-299


piglet and fatty acid

Publicerad i

Rapport (Mat 21)
2004, Volym: 2004, nummer: 2, sidor: 202
ISBN: 91-576-6626-1
Utgivare: MAT21


Towards sustainable production and consumption