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Lipid digestion in ruminants

INRA Prod. Anim., 14(5), 303-310.


INRA-INAPG, UMR Physiologie de la Nutrition et Alimentation, 16 rue Claude Bernard, 75231 Paris Cedex 05


Lipid digestion in ruminants presents a renewof interest because of the presence of fattyacids (FA) having an influence on the technologicaland nutritional properties of their products.These aspects are mainly the outcome ofthe hydrogenation and isomerisation of the FAin the reticulo-rumen. Micro-organisms of therumen, particularly the attached bacteria, arericher in FA than the offered diets. The FA compositionof microbes is characterised by moleculardiversity (more than 50 FA) and a highcontent in C16:0 and particularly C18:0. The FAcomposition can be influenced by dietary effects: concentrate contents of the diet and FA compositionwhen the diet is supplemented withlipids. The duodenal flow of FA (Y), expressedin % of dry matter intake (DMI) is highly correlatedwith the ingested flow of FA (X, % DMI) :Y = 0.83 X + 0.84(n = 116, R2 = 0.94, rsd = 0.54)Lipid digestion also depends on the level ofthe microbial synthesis in the rumen. About2/3 of the double bonds of the ingested FA arehydrogenated in the reticulo-rumen. Theintensity of this hydrogenation decreases withdiets rich in concentrate and having a highlevel of intake. The intestinal digestibility ofFA ranges between 65 and 75 % approximately.The type of fat supplementation caninfluence this digestibility. The data and equationsprovided in this paper allow to predictthe absorbed flows of the major FA in ruminantsand to formulate diets on this basis.

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