British Journal of Nutrition

Metabolism and Metabolic Studies

The effect of feeding modified soyabean oil enriched with C18 : 4n-3 to broilers on the deposition of n-3 fatty acids in chicken meat

C. Rymera1 c1, G. F. Hartnella2 and D. I. Givensa1

a1 School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, PO Box 237, Reading RG6 6AR, UK

a2 Monsanto Company, 800 North Lindbergh Boulevard, O3F, St Louis, MO, USA


Supplementing broiler diets with conventional vegetable oils has little effect on the long-chain n-3 PUFA (LC n-3 PUFA) content of the meat. The present study investigated the effect on fatty acid composition and sensory characteristics of chicken meat when broilers were fed oil extracted from soyabeans (SDASOY) that had been genetically engineered to produce C18 : 4n-3 (stearidonic acid (SDA), 240 mg/g oil). Three diets were fed to 120 birds (eight replicate pens of five birds) from 15 d to slaughter (41–50 d). Diets were identical apart from the oil added to them (45 and 50 g/kg as fed in the grower and finisher phases, respectively), which was either SDASOY, near-isogenic soya (CON) or fish oil (FISH). The LC n-3 PUFA content of the meat increased in the order CON, SDASOY and FISH. In breast meat with skin, the SDA concentration was 522, 13 and 37 (sem 14·4) mg/100 g meat for SDASOY, CON and FISH, respectively. Equivalent values for C20 : 5n-3 (EPA) were 53, 13 and 140 (sem 8·4); for C22 : 5n-3 (docosapentaenoic acid (DPA)) 65, 15 and 101 (sem 3·5); for C22 : 6n-3 (DHA) 19, 9 and 181 (sem 4·4). Leg meat (with skin) values for SDA were 861, 23 and 68 (sem 30·1); for EPA 87, 9 and 258 (sem 7·5); for DPA 95, 20 and 165 (sem 5·0); for DHA 29, 10 and 278 (sem 8·4). Aroma, taste and aftertaste of freshly cooked breast meat were not affected. Fishy aromas, tastes and aftertastes were associated with LC n-3 PUFA content of the meat, being most noticeable in the FISH leg meat (both freshly cooked and reheated) and in the reheated SDASOY leg meat.

(Received May 13 2010)

(Revised September 09 2010)

(Accepted October 04 2010)

(Online publication November 22 2010)


c1 Corresponding author: Dr C. Rymer, fax +44 118 3786595, email


Abbreviations: CON, oil derived from a near-isogenic conventional soyabean variety that did not contain SDA; DPA, docosapentaenoic acid; FISH, feed-grade blended fish oil; LC n-3 PUFA, long-chain n-3 PUFA; LNA, α-linolenic acid; SDA, stearidonic acid; SDASOY, oil derived from soyabeans genetically engineered to produce relatively high concentrations of SDA