Comparison of the fatty acid composition of subcutaneous adipose tissue from mature Brahman and Hereford cows.
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The fatty acid composition of adipose tissue was measured in 37 mature Brahman and 32 mature Hereford cows to determine breed effect. Diet was held constant among all cows. When biopsied, cows were on oats and native cool-season annual pastures of good quality. Real-time ultrasound measurements of subcutaneous fat were taken at three locations (between the 12th and 13th rib, at the rump, and at the perianal region) to determine overall fatness. Overall fat thickness from these measurements was 1.3 cm for Brahman cows and 1.7 cm for Hereford cows (P < .01). Subcutaneous adipose tissue biopsy samples were collected from the perianal region, and fatty acid composition was determined using a gas chromatograph. Fatty acids were expressed in both normalized (area percentage) and gravimetric (grams/100 grams of fresh tissue) formats. In addition to greater overall subcutaneous fat thickness, Hereford cows contained 5 g more of fatty acids per 100 g of fresh adipose tissue than Brahman cows (P < .05). Subcutaneous adipose tissue from Hereford cows was higher (P < .01) in total saturated fatty acids and lower in mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids than subcutaneous adipose tissue from Brahman cows. Compositional differences remained when breeds were compared by analysis of covariance at a common body fatness. The data suggest a genetic basis for the differences in fatty acid composition of Brahman and Hereford cows.