Feeding of Safflower (Carthamus tintorius) Cake in Small Ruminant Total Mixed Rations: Effects on Growth Traits and Meat Fatty Acid Composition

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of DETO, Section of Veterinary Science and Animal Production, University of Bari “Aldo Moro”, Valenzano 70010, Italy

2 Department of Agro Environmental and Territorial Science, University of Bari “Aldo Moro”, 70125, Bari, Italy


Little scientific information is available that has evaluated safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) cake as a substitute to conventional ingredients in small ruminants diet. The objective of this work was to evaluate the effect of feeding safflower cake in total mixed rations (TMRs) on lamb and kid growth rates, carcass traits and meat fatty acid composition. Two consecutive trials were conducted using Comisana breed lambs and Garganica breed kids. Animals were randomly allocated to two isocaloric and isonitrogenous TMRs formulated to meet or exceed nutritional requirements, and consisted of the control diet and an experimental diet contained safflower cake. Animals were slaughtered after the feeding trial which lasted 50 days and the carcass traits and meat quality were evaluated. In both slaughter trials, none of the parameters studied were (P>0.05) influenced by dietary treatments except for slaughter weight and cold-carcass dressing that were improved in lambs fed safflower. Feeding the safflower diet resulted in significantly lower saturated fatty acid (SFA) content in meat, as well as the n-6 / n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) ratio and saturation, atherogenic and thrombogenic indexes, while total PUFA and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) as well as the indices related to human health increased. These results suggest that including safflower cake in diet for small ruminants can produce meat with an improved meat lipid profile. As result, safflower maintained carcass yields with no detrimental effect on meat quality.


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