Addition of an extract of lucerne (Medicago sativa L.) to cattle diets - Effects on fatty acid profile, meat quality and eating quality of the M. longissimus muscle

Meat Sci. 2017 Aug;130:69-80. doi: 10.1016/j.meatsci.2017.03.011. Epub 2017 Apr 8.


There is considerable interest in enhancing beneficial fatty acids, particularly 18:3n-3, conjugated linoleic acid and long chain n-3 fatty acids such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in beef to provide benefits to human health. Here, the potential to enhance these fatty acids by feeding a n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)-rich plant extract (PX) from lucerne is presented. Cattle (n=8/diet) were assigned to the following finishing diets: straw and concentrate (S-CC); straw and concentrate containing 25% PX and 2000IUvitaminE/kg PX-concentrate (S-PXC); grass silage (GS); GS plus 75gPX/kg dry matter intake (DMI) (GS-LPX) or GS plus 150g PX/kg DMI (GS-HPX). Addition of PX to concentrates or GS increased the n-3 fatty acid content of loin muscle and had favourable effects on the n-6:n-3 PUFA ratio (P<0.05), without detrimental effects on loin muscle sensory characteristics.

Keywords: Beef; Biohydrogenation; Forage; Lucerne; PUFA.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis*
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Fatty Acids / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicago sativa*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts
  • Red Meat / analysis*
  • Silage


  • Fatty Acids
  • Plant Extracts