Functions of DHA
DHA is a very important omega-3 fatty acid, also known as “brain gold”, widely found in the human brain, central nervous system and retina, accounting for 35%-45% of the total fatty acid content of the brain.
The function of DHA covers all ages. When consumed by pregnant women, DHA can promote the healthy development of the fetus and reduce the probability of postpartum depression; DHA supplementation for adults can improve brain function and enhance the ability to manage emotions; DHA intake for infants, children and young children can promote the development of the brain and eyesight, and improve attention; DHA supplementation for middle-aged and elderly people can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in old age, and slow down the deterioration of organs.
Source of DHA
There are two main ways for the human body to obtain DHA. One is the transformation of the body, people from the exogenous intake of α-linolenic acid can be synthesized into DHA. However, with age, Δ6 desaturase activity decreases, α-linolenic acid synthesis of DHA will also reduce the ability.
In addition, the human body can obtain DHA through food. natural sources rich in DHA currently include microalgae, deep-sea fish and shrimp. DHA in fish and shrimp in the ocean is also enriched by the deposition of DHA in the body after long-term ingestion of microalgae; in other words, algae are a natural source of DHA.
The Need to Develop Omega-3 Fatty Acid Fortified Pork
Meat consumption in China is dominated by pork. Pork is the main source of fatty acids and other nutrients for China’s residents, and the production of functional pork enriched with ω-3 fatty acids is of great significance to the health of consumers, especially those suffering from cardiovascular diseases and the elderly population.
Currently, the daily diet of Chinese residents has sufficient sources of ω-6 fatty acids and poor sources of ω-3 fatty acids, and the imbalance of the ω-6/ω-3 ratio can easily lead to cardiovascular diseases. The mortality rate of cardiovascular diseases in Japan is lower than that in Europe and the United States, mainly due to the fact that Japanese people have abundant seafood in their diets, and the ω-6/ω-3 ratio is around 4. In 1994, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations proposed that it is best to have an ω-6/ω-3 ratio of 5-10 in human diets.
Group Standard for Omega-3 Fatty Acid Fortified Pork
Pigs are monogastric animals, and the long-chain fatty acids in the diet are absorbed directly into the bloodstream in the form of celiac particles, which are not hydrogenated during metabolism. Therefore, adding unsaturated fatty acids to the diet can realize the enrichment in pork.
In recent years, a large number of studies have been conducted both domestically and internationally on specific methods to enrich ω-3 fatty acids in pork. These studies usually involve the addition of ω-3 fatty acid-rich feed ingredients such as linseed cake, linseed oil or fish oil, marine algae, etc., to the diet, and comparing and evaluating the effects of different additions and formulations, as well as different dietary ages and durations of addition, on the enrichment effect.
Currently, there are two group standards in the market for omega-3 fatty acid-enriched pork products, “α-linolenic acid-enriched pig products Linseed pig products” and “omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid-enriched pork”. Among them, the draft of the group standard “α-linolenic acid-rich pig products linseed pig products” available on the Internet for comment, the specific parameters of omega-3 fatty acids involved in the requirements are as follows:
Research on the production of DHA pork using split pot algae powder
There is no group standard for DHA pork, but there have been related studies. A domestic company’s patent information “a kind of feed for producing DHA-containing pork and its use method” mentions that the use of Split Pot Algae Powder (DHA mass percentage in the product ≥16%) 0.5%-1.5% in pig feed formula, continuous feeding in one to two months before slaughter, the content of DHA in the longest muscle of the back increased significantly.
A foreign company selected pigs at various growth stages to do a number of tests, the experimental algae product (later referred to as the product) contains 67% fat, 16% DHA and 0.3% sodium, mainly to study the effect of DHA enrichment in pigs and the effect of the product on the reproductive performance of pigs.
Addition of the product to the diets of gestating sows resulted in higher litter weights and higher newborn weights of piglets produced by sows in the test group.
The fecal digestibility test showed that with 4% of the product added to the feed, piglets in the test group could obtain 35 kcal more energy per kg of feed, which could be used in specific diets for the starter phase to reduce feed costs. Algae products not only help to produce more energetic piglets, but also contribute to healthy piglet growth after weaning.
Another on-farm trial showed that by adding 10kg/t of the product to the diet, the abdominal pork omega-6/omega-3 values of the test group improved considerably, and the DHA content in pork was 175mg/100g, much higher than that of the control group.
Algae products as DHA additives not only have a positive impact on the reproductive performance of sows, piglets’ newborn weight and survival rate, but are also crucial for the production of high quality DHA pork products.
Calid’s product, Algae Powder, is a high quality algae-derived DHA from unicellular algae, which is benchmarked against international advanced processes and product quality to achieve economical and environmentally friendly improvements in the fatty acid composition of animal-derived products.