Analysis of meat products supplemented with omega-3 fatty acid sources

Monday, March 21, 2016

Authors: Attila Tanai, Zsuzsanna Lelovics, Anett Kovács, Hajnalka Hingyi, Éva Csavajda, Péter Kovács, Nándor Kovács, Gyöngyi Kanyó Princes, György Grosz, Tamás Tóth


1. Summary

Our research goal was to increase the n-3 fatty acid content of three meat products (letscho sausage, Kaiserroulade, duck liver pâté), so that the added value can be declared on the product labels. Increasing the amount of n-3 fatty acids was performed by the addition of flax seed sprout oil rich in alpha-linolenic acid (min. 300 mg of alpha-linolenic acid/100 g or 100 kcal product) or fish oil rich in EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) (min. 40 mg EPA + DHA/100 g or 100 kcal product).

We found that the n-3 fatty acid proportion of the products tested were increased significantly (p < 0.05) by the oil supplements used. Of the products supplemented by bio flax seed sprout oil, letscho sausage performed the best, with an alpha-linolenic acid content of 644 mg/100 kcal, sufficient to be able to claim „rich in omega-3 fatty acids” on the label. The value was 575 for the Kaiserroulade and 504 mg for the duck liver pâté. These values allow the legitimate use of the statement „omega-3 fatty acid source”. The measured EPA + DHA content of the Kaiserroulade supplemented with fish oil was 99 mg/100 kcal, sufficient to be able to claim „rich in omega-3 fatty acids” on the label. The EPA + DHA contents of letscho sausage and duck liver pâté failed to reach the level required to be able to claim the above statement on the label by 1 and 4 mg/100 kcal, respectively.

The more important microbiological parameters of the finished products were not affected negatively by the oil supplements used, and the shelf lives of the products did not decrease either. The appearance of the products was not influenced by the supplements, however, foreign flavors and odors were identified by testers in several instances, due to the fish oil and bio flax seed sprout oil supplements.


2. Introduction

n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids play an im­portant role in a healthy diet. The most significant representative of the n-6 group linoleic acid (C18:2), while the member of the n-3 group most often en­countered is α-linolenic acid (C18:3) [1] [2]. Several studies have shown that the individual fatty acids affect health in different ways, due to their various physiological roles [3]. The risk of developing coro­nary heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and sev­eral other inflammatory and autoimmune diseases can be reduced by consuming appropriate amounts of n-3 fatty acids [4]. n-3 fatty acids exert their anti­inflammatory effect through the synthesis of eicosa­noids [5]. α-Linolenic acid (ALA), EPA and DHA pre­vent blood clots and reduce serum triglyceride levels [6], [7], [8]. Their consumption also decreases the risk of thrombosis, because they increase bleeding time by their incorporation into the membranes of the platelets, thus inhibiting the aggregation of the latter [9]. Some studies also showed that proper n-3 fatty acid intake during pregnancy contributes to decreas­ing the incidence of gestational hypertension and premature births [10], [11]. For optimal brain and retina development, in addition to arachidonic acid (ARA, C20:4, n-6), an appropriate supply of DHA is also important for the fetus. As a result of insufficient supply, visual disturbances and reduced visual acuity might develop [12]. There are also favorable research results regarding the effects of n-3 fatty acids on dif­ferent tumor cells [13].

In addition to the appropriate amount of fatty acid intake, another important aspect is the relative ratio of the individual fatty acids. While the optimal n-6/n-3 fatty acid ratio is 3-5:1 [14], [15], [16], from the data of the National Diet and Nutritional Status Survey we know that this ration in Hungary was 28-30:1 at the beginning of the last decade [17]. According to the latest results, this ratio by gender is 29:1 for men and 26:1 for women [18]. The unfavorable dominance of n-6 fatty acids is a combined result of a culinary cul­ture based on margarine and sunflower oil and the low intake of n-3 fatty acids.

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