Effect of Different Dietary n-6 to n-3 Fatty Acid Ratios on the Performance and Fatty Acid Composition in Muscles of Broiler Chickens

  • Mandal, G.P. (Department of Animal Nutrition, West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences) ;
  • Ghosh, T.K. (Department of Animal Nutrition, West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences) ;
  • Patra, A.K. (Department of Animal Nutrition, West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences)
  • Received : 2014.01.06
  • Accepted : 2014.05.19
  • Published : 2014.11.01


The objective of this study was to investigate the different dietary ratios of n-6 to n-3 (n-6/n-3) fatty acid (FA) on performance and n-6/n-3 FA in muscles of broiler chickens. A total of 300 one-day-old Cobb chicks were randomly assigned to 3 treatments of 10 replicates in each (10 birds/replicate). Birds were fed on a corn-soybean meal-based diet containing 1% oil during starter (day 1 to 21) and 2% oil during finisher (day 22 to 39) phases, respectively. Treatments of high, medium and low dietary n-6/n-3 FA were formulated by replacing rice bran oil with linseed oil to achieve n-6/n-3 FA close to >20:1, 10:1 and 5:1, respectively. Average daily gain, average daily feed intake, and feed conversion ratio were similar (p>0.05) among the treatments. Serum glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides concentrations were not affected (p>0.05) by dietary treatments. In breast, concentration of C18:3n-3 was significantly greater (p = 0.001) for medium and low vs high n-6/n-3 FA, while concentrations of C20:5n-3, C22:6n-3, total n-3 FA, and n-6/n-3 FA were significantly higher for low vs medium, and medium vs high dietary n-6/n-3 FA. In contrast, concentrations of C18:2 and mono-unsaturated FA (MUFA) were lower for low vs high dietary n-6/n-3 FA. In thigh muscles, concentrations of C20:5n-3 were higher (p<0.05) for medium and low vs high dietary n-6/n-3 FA, and concentrations of C18:3n-3, C22:6, and n-3 FA were greater (p<0.05) for medium vs high, low vs medium dietary n-6/n-3 FA. However, concentrations of C18:1, MUFA, n-6/n-3 were lower (p<0.05) for low and medium vs high dietary n-6/n-3 FA. In conclusion, lowering the dietary n-6/n-3 FA did not affect the performance of chickens, but enhanced beneficial long-chain n-3 FA and decreased n-6/n-3 FA in chicken breast and thigh, which could be advantageous for obtaining healthy chicken products.


  1. Crespo, N. and E. Esteve-Garcia. 2001. Dietary fatty acid profile modifies abdominal fat deposition in broiler chickens. Poult. Sci. 80:71-78.
  2. Crespo, N. and E. Esteve-Garcia. 2002. Nutrient and fatty acid deposition in broilers fed different dietary fatty acid profiles. Poult. Sci. 81:1533-1542.
  3. Febel, H., M. Mezes, T. Palfy, A. Herman, J. Gundel, A. Lugasi, K. Balogh, I. Kocsis, and A. Blazovics. 2008. Effect of dietary fatty acid pattern on growth, body fat composition and antioxidant parameters in broilers. J. Anim. Physiol. Anim. Nutr. 92:369-376.
  4. Hulan, H. W., R. G. Ackman, W. M. N. Ratnayake, and F. G. Proudfoot. 1988. Omega-3 fatty acid levels and performance of broiler chickens fed redfish meal or redfish oil. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 68:533-547.
  5. Jankowski, J., P. Zdunczyk, D. Mikulski, J. Juskiewicz, M. Mikulska, and Z. Zdunczyk. 2012. Effects of dietary soyabean, rapeseed and linseed oils on performance, slaughter yield and fatty acid profile of breast meat in turkeys. J. Anim. Feed Sci. 21:143-156.
  6. Kartikasari, L. R., R. J. Hughes, M. S. Geier, M. Makrides, and R. A. Gibson. 2012. Dietary alpha-linolenic acid enhances omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid levels in chicken tissues. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids 87:103-109.
  7. AOAC. 2000. Official Methods of Analysis. Seventeenth edition, Association of Official Analytical Chemists, Arlington, VA, USA.
  8. Kavouridou, K., A. C. Barroeta, C. Villaverde, E. G. Manzanilla, and M. D. Baucells. 2008. Fatty acid, protein and energy gain of broilers fed different dietary vegetable oils. Spanish J. Agric. Res. 6:210-218.
  9. Kitessa, S. M. and P. Young. 2009. Echium oil is better than rapeseed oil in enriching poultry meat with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid and docosapentaenoic acid. Br. J. Nutr. 101:709-715.
  10. Lopez-Ferrer, S., M. D. Baucells, A. C. Barroeta, and M. A. Grashorn. 1999. n-3 Enrichment of chicken meat using fish oil: Alternative substitution with rapeseed and linseed oils. Poult. Sci. 78:356-365.
  11. Cortinas, L., C. Villaverde, J. Galobart, M. D. Baucells, R. Codony, and A. C. Barroeta. 2004. Fatty acid content in chicken thigh and breast as affected by dietary polyunsaturation level. Poult. Sci. 83:1155-1164.
  12. Lopez-Ferrer, S., M. D. Baucells, A. C. Barroeta, J. Galobart, and M. A. Grashorn. 2001. n-3 Enrichment of chicken meat. 2. Use of precursors of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids: Linseed oil. Poult. Sci. 80:753-761.
  13. Macro, D. J. M., S. P. Acda, D. B. Roxas, and F. E. Marca. 2013. Effect of omega-3 fatty acid enriched feed supplement on broiler performance and carcass quality. Philipp. J. Vet. Anim. Sci. 39:53-62.
  14. Newman, R. E., W. L. Bryden, E. Fleck, J. R. Ashes, W. A. Buttemer, L. H. Storlien, and J. A. Downing. 2002. Dietary n-3 and n-6 fatty acids alter avian metabolism: Metabolism and abdominal fat deposition. Br. J. Nutr. 88:11-18.
  15. Nguyen, C. V., S. Smulikowska, and A. Micezkowska. 2003. Effect of linseed and rapeseed or linseed and rapeseed oils on performance, slaughter yield and fatty acid deposition of the edible parts of carcass in broiler chicken. J. Anim. Feed Sci. 12:271-288.
  16. Phetteplace, H. W. and B. A. Watkins. 1990. Lipid measurements in chickens fed different combinations of chicken fat and menhaden oil. J. Agric. Food Chem. 38:1848-1853.
  17. O'Fallon, J. V., J. R. Busboom, M. L. Nelson, and C. T. Gaskins. 2007. A direct method for fatty acid methyl ester synthesis: application to wet meat tissues, oils, and feedstuffs. J. Anim. Sci. 85:1511-1521.
  18. Ozpinar, H., R. Kahraman, I. Abas, H. C. Kutay, H. Eseceli, and M. A. Grashorn. 2003. Effect of dietary fat source on n-3 fatty acid enrichment of broiler meat. Arch. Geflugelk. 67:57-64.
  19. Palmquist, D. L. 2009. Omega-3 fatty acids in metabolism, health, and nutrition and for modified animal product foods. Prof. Anim. Sci. 25:207-249.
  20. Poorghasemi, M., A. Seidavi, A. A. A. Qotbi, V. Laudadio, and V. Tufarelli. 2013. Influence of dietary fat source on growth performance responses and carcass traits of broiler chicks. Asian Australas. J. Anim. Sci. 26:705-710.
  21. Ratnayake, W. M. N., R. G. Ackman, and H. W. Hulan. 1989. Effect of redfish meal enriched diets on the taste and n-3 PUFA of 42-day-old broiler chickens. J. Sci. Food Agric. 49:59-74.
  22. Shen, Y., D. Feng, M. Z. Fan, and E. R. Chavez. 2005. Performance, carcass cut-up and fatty acids deposition in broilers fed different levels of pellet-processed flaxseed. J. Sci. Food Agric. 85:2005-2014.
  23. Simopoulos, A. P. 2002. The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomed. Pharmacother. 56:365-379.
  24. Sprecher, H. 2000. Metabolism of highly unsaturated n-3 and n-6 fatty acids. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1486:219-231.
  25. SPSS. 1997. Statistical Package for Social Sciences, Base Applications Guide 7.5. SPSS, Chicago, IL, USA.
  26. Talpatra, S. K., S. C. Roy, and K. C. Sen. 1940. Estimation of phosphorus, chlorine, calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium in feeding stuffs. Indian J. Vet. Sci. 38:243-253.
  27. Wijendran, V. and K. C. Hayes. 2004. Dietary n-6 and n-3 fatty acid balance and cardiovascular health. Annu. Rev. Nutr. 24:597-615.
  28. Zelenka, J., D. Schneiderova, E. Mrkvicova, and P. Dolezal. 2008. The effect of dietary linseed oils with different fatty acid pattern on the content of fatty acids in chicken meat. Vet. Med. 53:77-85.
  29. Zuidhof, M. J., M. Betti, D. R. Korver, F. I. L. Hernandez, B. L. Schneider, V. L. Carney, and R. A. Renema. 2009. Omega-3-enriched broiler meat: 1. Optimization of a production system. Poult. Sci. 88:1108-1120.

Cited by

  1. A reduced cost strategy for enriching chicken meat with omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids using dietary flaxseed oil vol.58, pp.3, 2017,
  2. Beneficial uses of black cumin (Nigella sativa L.) seeds as a feed additive in poultry nutrition vol.73, pp.04, 2017,
  3. Effect of feeding broken rice and distillers dried grains with solubles in a flaxseed-based diet on the growth performance, production efficiency, carcass characteristics, sensory evaluation of meat, and serum biochemistry of broiler chickens vol.41, pp.13036181, 2017,
  4. ) seeds vol.102, pp.3, 2018,
  5. Nutritional significance and health benefits of designer eggs vol.74, pp.02, 2018,