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Crop Science Abstract - FORAGE & GRAZINGLANDS

Fatty Acid Profiles of Orchardgrass, Tall Fescue, Perennial Ryegrass, and Alfalfa


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 50 No. 1, p. 391-402
    Received: Dec 31, 2008

    * Corresponding author(s): rmdq44@mizzou.edu
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  1. R. M. Dierking *,
  2. R. L. Kallenbach and
  3. C. A. Roberts
  1. Division of Plant Sciences, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211. This material is based on work supported by the US Department of Agriculture under Cooperative Agreement No. 58-6227-3-016. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the US Department of Agriculture. This research was, in part, supported by the Missouri Agric. Exp. Stn. Mention of trade name or proprietary product does not constitute endorsement by the Univ. of Missouri over the products of other manufacturers that may also be suitable


Recent research shows that the meat from beef animals finished on pasture has greater concentrations of omega-3 fatty acid (FA) and conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) compared with animals finished on high-concentrate diets. However, little is known about the FA concentrations in forage that might alter these FA in the meat of pasture-finished beef. The objective was to determine the FA variation between and within forage species commonly grown in pastures in the Midwest. A secondary objective was to identify phenotypic characteristics that may be associated with individual FA. The forages analyzed included multiple cultivars of orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.), tall fescue [Lolium arundinaceum (Schreb.) S.J. Darbyshire = Schedonorus phoenix (Scop.) Holub], perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), and alfalfa [Medicago sativa L. ssp. sativa and falcata (L.) Arcang.]. Grasses had higher amounts of α-linolenic (C18:3) acid compared with alfalfa. Conversely, alfalfa had larger amounts of linoleic acid (C18:2) than did the grasses. Correlations between phenotypic traits and specific FA were found; plant total chlorophyll had the greatest correlation to total FA concentration. Overall, there is not a large amount of within-species variation that breeders could use to make large changes in FA concentrations.

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