The effect of dietary lipid saturation and antioxidant source on the nutrient digestibility of lamb finishing diets
The influence of a synthetic or natural antioxidant and lipid saturation on the apparent digestibility of nutrients in a standard lamb finishing diet was investigated. The four dietary treatments consisted of the same basal diet, providing 187 g CP-, 355 g NDF- and 71 g EE per kg DM, but differing in supplemental lipid source (30 g/kg of either saturated beef tallow or unsaturated soybean oil) and type of antioxidant included (125 g/ton of either a synthetic or natural antioxidant). The digestibility study was conducted over a period of 12 days (including a 4-day adaptation to the faecal collection bags). Twenty-eight S.A. Mutton Merino lambs (45.1 ± 3.0 kg) were randomly allocated to the four dietary treatments (n = 7 lambs/treatment). Composite feed, feed refusal and faecal samples of individually penned lambs were collected for chemical analysis. The apparent digestibility coefficients, digestible nutrient and available energy content were calculated accordingly. The DMI of the lambs did not differ significantly between the various experimental diets. The inclusion of unsaturated soybean oil reduced the apparent digestibility of NDF in the diet. The apparent digestibility of NDF seems to be higher when a natural antioxidant was included in the diet. The comparatively negative effects of the unsaturated lipid source and synthetic antioxidant on the apparent digestibility of NDF were associated with a significantly lower digestible NDF content in the experimental diet. Accordingly, soybean oil resulted in a significantly lower ME content in the diet. However, estimating ME from DE with a constant factor of 0.8 probably underestimates the ME content of diets supplemented with lipids rich in unsaturated fatty acids. The latter are known to reduce methane production, and hence, energy losses.
Keywords: Beef tallow, fatty acid, flavonoid, methane, soybean oil