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Keywords:

  • Descriptive analysis;
  • docosahexaenoic acid;
  • eggs;
  • laying hens;
  • omega-3;
  • saturated fat;
  • sensory

Abstract

The fatty acid composition of eggs is highly reflective of the diet of the laying hen; therefore, nutritionally important fatty acids can be increased in eggs in order to benefit human health. To explore the factors affecting the hen's metabolism and deposition of fatty acids of interest, the current research was divided into two studies. In Study 1, the fatty acid profile of eggs from Bovan White hens fed either 8%, 14%, 20%, or 28% of the omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid (LA) (expressed as a percentage of total fatty acids), and an additional treatment of 14% LA containing double the amount of saturated fat (SFA) was determined. Omega-6 fatty acids and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) in the yolk were significantly (P < 0.05) increased, and oleic acid (OA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) were significantly decreased with an increasing dietary LA content. In Study 2, the fatty acid and sensory profiles were determined in eggs from Shaver White hens fed either (1) 15% or 30% of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) (of total fatty acids), and (2) low (0.5), medium (1), or high (2) ratios of SFA: LA+OA. Increasing this ratio resulted in marked increases in lauric acid, ALA, EPA, DPA, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), with decreases in LA and arachidonic acid. Increasing the dietary ALA content from 15% to 30% (of total fatty acids) did not overcome the DHA plateau observed in the yolk. No significant differences (P ≥ 0.05) in aroma or flavor between cooked eggs from the different dietary treatments were observed among trained panelists (n = 8). The results showed that increasing the ratio of SFA: LA+OA in layer diets has a more favorable effect on the yolk fatty acid profile compared to altering the LA content at the expense of OA, all while maintaining sensory quality.