Track 1-08

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Feeding high-grain diets to finishing beef cattle results in high proportions of saturated fatty acids (SFA) in the beef, which is considered to confer negative impacts on human health. In contrast, pasture-finished cattle produce lower proportion of SFA, greater n-3 and less n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and higher conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) compared to high grain-finished beef (Noviandi et al. 2012). Increased n-3 PUFA, especially C18:3 n-3, can reduce the risk of heart disease, hypertension, inflammation, and mammary cancer, and lower cholesterol concentration in blood (De Deckere et al. 1998; Tapiero et al. 2002).

Nitrogen fertilisation can increase biomass production and nitrogen (N) concentration of tall fescue (TF; Festuca arundinacea) (Berg and Sims 2000; Teuton et al. 2007), which positively affected beef cattle performance (Berg and Sims 1995). However, the metabolism of fatty acids (FA) in pasture-finished beef steers due to N fertilization on TF has not yet been studied. Therefore, the current study was performed to test a hypothesis that due to its potential impacts on nutrient and energy utilization, N fertilization would affect FA compositions in ruminal fluid, blood serum, and adipose tissue of pasture-finished beef steers. In addition, we were interested in beneficial effects of grazing steers by comparing the FA profiles between pasture- and feedlot-finished beef steers.

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Fatty Acid Metabolism on Pasture- and Feedlot-Finished Cattle

Feeding high-grain diets to finishing beef cattle results in high proportions of saturated fatty acids (SFA) in the beef, which is considered to confer negative impacts on human health. In contrast, pasture-finished cattle produce lower proportion of SFA, greater n-3 and less n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and higher conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) compared to high grain-finished beef (Noviandi et al. 2012). Increased n-3 PUFA, especially C18:3 n-3, can reduce the risk of heart disease, hypertension, inflammation, and mammary cancer, and lower cholesterol concentration in blood (De Deckere et al. 1998; Tapiero et al. 2002).

Nitrogen fertilisation can increase biomass production and nitrogen (N) concentration of tall fescue (TF; Festuca arundinacea) (Berg and Sims 2000; Teuton et al. 2007), which positively affected beef cattle performance (Berg and Sims 1995). However, the metabolism of fatty acids (FA) in pasture-finished beef steers due to N fertilization on TF has not yet been studied. Therefore, the current study was performed to test a hypothesis that due to its potential impacts on nutrient and energy utilization, N fertilization would affect FA compositions in ruminal fluid, blood serum, and adipose tissue of pasture-finished beef steers. In addition, we were interested in beneficial effects of grazing steers by comparing the FA profiles between pasture- and feedlot-finished beef steers.