PloS one

Detailed dimethylacetal and fatty acid composition of rumen content from lambs fed lucerne or concentrate supplemented with soybean oil.

PMID 23484024


Lipid metabolism in the rumen is responsible for the complex fatty acid profile of rumen outflow compared with the dietary fatty acid composition, contributing to the lipid profile of ruminant products. A method for the detailed dimethylacetal and fatty acid analysis of rumen contents was developed and applied to rumen content collected from lambs fed lucerne or concentrate based diets supplemented with soybean oil. The methodological approach developed consisted on a basic/acid direct transesterification followed by thin-layer chromatography to isolate fatty acid methyl esters from dimethylacetal, oxo- fatty acid and fatty acid dimethylesters. The dimethylacetal composition was quite similar to the fatty acid composition, presenting even-, odd- and branched-chain structures. Total and individual odd- and branched-chain dimethylacetals were mostly affected by basal diet. The presence of 18:1 dimethylacetals indicates that biohydrogenation intermediates might be incorporated in structural microbial lipids. Moreover, medium-chain fatty acid dimethylesters were identified for the first time in the rumen content despite their concentration being relatively low. The fatty acids containing 18 carbon-chain lengths comprise the majority of the fatty acids present in the rumen content, most of them being biohydrogenation intermediates of 18:2n-6 and 18:3n-3. Additionally, three oxo- fatty acids were identified in rumen samples, and 16-O-18:0 might be produced during biohydrogenation of the 18:3n-3.