Adiposity, fatty acid composition, and delta-9 desaturase activity during growth in beef cattle Academic Article uri icon


  • Oleic acid (18:1n-9) is the most abundant fatty acid in bovine adipose tissue. Because most of the lipid in bovine muscle is contributed by intramuscular adipocytes, oleic acid also is the predominant fatty acid in beef. In many species, the concentration of oleic acid in adipose tissue is dictated by the average concentration of oleic acid in the diet, but in ruminant species such as beef cattle, oleic acid is hydrogenated largely to stearic acid by ruminal microorganisms. In these species, the concentration of oleic acid in adipose tissue is dependent upon the activity of 9 desaturase, encoded by the stearoyl coenzyme A desaturase (SCD) gene. Expression of the SCD gene is essential for bovine preadipocyte differentiation, and desaturase gene expression and catalytic activity increase dramatically as adipose tissue mass increases after weaning. Feeding a hay-based diet to American Wagyu steers to a typical Japanese bodyweight endpoint (650 kg) markedly stimulated desaturase enzyme activity as well as the accumulation of both oleic acid and intramuscular lipid, but the increase in oleic acid and intramuscular lipid was much less in hay-fed Angus steers. Increasing the concentration of oleic acid improves the palatability and healthiness of beef, and Korean Hanwoo and Japanese Black (and American Wagyu) seem especially well adapted to accumulate oleic acid in their adipose tissue. 2006 Japanese Society of Animal Science.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Smith, S. B., Lunt, D. K., Chung, K. Y., Choi, C. B., Tume, R. K., & Zembayashi, M.

citation count

  • 135

complete list of authors

  • Smith, Stephen B||Lunt, David K||Chung, Ki Y||Choi, Chang B||Tume, Ron K||Zembayashi, Meiji

publication date

  • January 2006