Influence of Different Dietary Doses of n-3- or n-6-Rich Vegetable Fats and α-Tocopheryl Acetate Supplementation on Raw and Cooked Rabbit Meat Composition and Oxidative Stability

This study evaluates the effects of replacing beef tallow added to rabbit feeds (3% w/w) by different doses (0%, 1.5% and 3% w/w) of n-6- or n-3-rich vegetable fat sources (sunflower and linseed oil, respectively) and α-tocopheryl acetate supplementation (0 and 100 mg/kg) on the fatty acid composition, α-tocopherol content, and oxidation levels [assessed by analyzing thiobarbituric acid (TBA) and lipid hydroperoxide values] in rabbit meat. We also measured these parameters after cooking and refrigerated storage of cooked rabbit meat. Both dietary α-tocopheryl acetate supplementation and the dose and source of fat added to feeds influenced meat fatty acid composition, modifying the n-6/n-3 ratio, which was more nutritionally favorable when linseed oil was used. Furthermore, the addition of linseed oil and the supplementation with α-tocopheryl acetate enhanced long-chain PUFA biosynthesis. However, the addition of 3% linseed oil increased meat oxidation, and although it was reduced by dietary supplementation with α-tocopheryl acetate in raw meat, this reduction was not as effective after cooking. Therefore, dietary supplementation with 1.5% linseed oil plus 1.5% beef tallow and with α-tocopheryl acetate would be recommended to improve the nutritional quality of rabbit meat.