Turner, T. D., Jensen, J., Pilfold, J. L., Prema, D., Donkor, K. K., Cinel, B., Thompson, D. J., Dugan, M. E. R. and Church, J. S. 2015. Comparison of fatty acids in beef tissues from conventional, organic and natural feeding systems in western Canada. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 95: 49-58. The effect of production system on intramuscular and associated trim fatty acid (FA) profiles of retail ribeye steaks from conventional and niche market organic and natural (grain- or grass-fed) beef were compared. Meat from organic grain- and grass-fed systems was leaner, containing greater proportions of polyunsaturated FA, i.e., 18:3n-3, 20:5n-3, 22:5n-3, 22:6n-3. Correspondingly, the n-6/n-3 ratios of organic grain- and grass-fed systems were 3:1, while conventional and natural grain systems had ratios of 8:1. High forage-to-grain ratio production systems increased proportions of desirable biohydrogenation intermediates (BI), including t11-18:1 and c9,t11-18:2, whereas conventional and natural grain systems elevated t10-18:1. Trim fat was similarly affected by production system, and was a relatively richer source of BI. Overall, proportions of desirable FAs, including n-3 and BI, were greater for organic grain- and grass-fed systems, emphasizing the importance of a high forage-to-grain ratio to enhance the healthfulness of beef, whereas conventional and natural grain-fed systems were largely equivalent.
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