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Z Ern~ihrungswiss36:23-27 (1997)

© SteinkopffVerlag 1997

M. Leonhardt Vitamin E content of different animal

S. Gebert
C. Wenk products: Influence of animal nutrition

Der Vitamin E-Gehalt Rind, Kalb und in der Rindsschul- longissimus dorsi muscle from
verschiedener tierischer ter nachgewiesen. Mit dem durch- pork, beef, veal and in beef
Produkte: EinfluB der schnittlichen, t~iglichen Verzehr an shoulder. Considering the average
Tierern{ihrung magerem Fleisch (105 g) in der daily lean meat consumption (105
Schweiz wurden die Empfehlungen g) in Switzerland, recommendation
fiir die tagliche Vitamin E-Zufuhr for daily vitamin E intake was met
zu 3 % gedeckt. to3%.
Zusammenfassung In der vorlie- Die Supplementierung des Supplementation of 200 mg
genden Studie wurde der a-Toco- Schweine- und Legehennenfutters ~t-tocopherol acetate/kg feed to
pherolgehalt verschiedener Fleisch- mit 200 mg a-Tocopherolacetat/kg pigs and laying hens significantly
stiicke untersucht. H~ihnchen- fiihrte zu einem signifikanten An- increased the o~-tocopherol content
schenkel hatte den h6chsten stieg des ot-Tocopherolgehaltes in in all examined products. The
ot-Tocopherolgehalt, gefolgt yon allen untersuchten Produkten. Die ot-tocopherol accumulation differed
H~ihnchenbrust und Schweineschul- c~-Tocopherolakkumulierung unter- according to the following ranking:
ter (p < 0.05). Die niedrigsten Kon- schied sich gem~il3 folgender Rang- egg yolk > liver > adipose tissue >
zentrationen wurden im Musculus ordnung: Eigelb > Leber > Fettge- musculus longissimus dorsi. The
longissimus dorsi vom Schwein, webe >Musculus longissimus dorsi. ot-tocopherot:energy ratios were
Die N~ihrstoffdichten betrugen 28.8, 28.8, 7.3, 0.9 and 1.2 mg/MJ for
7.3, 0.9 und 1.2 mg ot-Tocophe- egg yolk, liver, adipose tissue and
rol/MJ ftir Eigelb, Leber, Fettge- tongissimus dorsi muscle of the
webe und Musculus longissimus vitamin E supplemented groups,
dorsi der jeweiligen mit Vitamin E respectively. The results showed
supplementierten Gruppe. Diese that meat, with the exception of
Ergebnisse zeigen, dab Fleisch, mit chicken thigh, is not an important
Ausnahme des H~ihnchenschenkels, supplier of vitamin E, not even
von Tieren mit supplementierten from animals fed a vitamin E
enriched diet. Egg yolk became a
Di~iten kein bedeutender Vitamin E-
good source of vitamin E for
Lieferant ist. Hingegen wurde
human nutrition by dietary
Eigelb durch fiitterungsbedingte Mo-
Received: 5 June 1996 difikation zu einer guten Vitamin E-
Accepted: t9 August 1996 Quelle.

Summary The ot-tocopherol con- Schliisselwiirter Vitamin E -

M. Leonhardt- S. Gebert tent of different meat cuts was Fleisch - Fettgewebe - Leber -
Prof. Dr. C. Wenk (~) examined. Chicken thigh had the Eigelb
Institut fiir Nutztierwissenschaften
Gruppe Ernfihrungsbiologie highest vitamin E content, followed
ETH-Zentrum, LFW by chicken breast and pork
Universit~itsstraBe 2 shoulder (p < 0.05). The lowest Key words Vitamin E - meat -
CH-8092 Zfirich concentrations were found in adipose tissue-- liver - egg yolk
24 Zeitschrift ftir Ernghrungswissenschaft,Band 36, Heft 1 (1997)
© SteinkopffVerlag 1997

Introduction given ad libitum. The pigs were fattened from 25 kg to

105 kg body weight. The animals were slaughtered in a
The main function of vitamin E (ct-tocopherol) is to local abattoir. The liver was immediately removed and
protect susceptible cellular structures, especially poly- cooled. At 24 h postmortem, chops (1.d.m.) and adipose
unsaturated fatty acids in cell membranes, against damage tissue samples were obtained.
from oxygen-free radicals. Foods rich in vitamin E are
those from plant origin like seed oils, vegetables and Trial with laying hens
whole grains. Most animal products are poor sources of
this vitamin (14). However, feeding practices have Ten laying hens were divided into two groups of five and
changed in the past years and vitamin E supplementation fed either a basal diet or the basal diet supplemented with
of animal diets has garnered interest. Many studies (2, 3, 200 mg a-tocopherol acetate/kg feed. The basal diet was
10) show that supplemental dietary vitamin E improves composed of wheat (30 %), maize (30 %), soybean meal
meat quality by reducing lipid oxidation and enhancing (15 %) and sunflower meal (10 %). The remaining in-
color stability. It is also well known that vitamin E gredients were animal fat, lysine, methionine, minerals
deposits in certain animal tissues. Regarding human nu- and vitamins. The analyzed a-tocopherol concentrations
trition, limited information exists about the vitamin E in the diets were 15 mg&g feed for the control and 213
supply of products from supplemented animals. mg/kg feed for the vitamin E group. Water and feed were
The objective of the present study was to examine the given ad libitum. After the diets were fed for 4 weeks,
ct-tocopherol content of lean meat available in Switzer- one egg of every hen was collected and stored at 4 °C
land. We also studied the efficacy of the same dietary until analysis.
vitamin E supplementation to pigs and laying hens in
order to increase the ct-tocopherol content of the respec- Chemical analysis, calculation and statistical methods
tive animal products and their vitamin E supply for
human nutrition. The ct-tocopherol content was determined by the method
of Rettenmaier and Schiiep (17). For calculating the vit-
amin E:energy ratio (mg/MJ) of the different samples, the
Materials and methods median and the energy values of Souci et al. (18, 19)
were used. The vitamin E allowances recommended
Comparison of different meat cuts (women: 1.4 rag/ MJ, men: 1.2 mg/MJ) do not consider
preparation losses, whereas the recommendation for daily
The following meat cuts were purchased from different vitamin E intake (13 mg/day) takes into account prepa-
supermarkets and butcher's shops in Zurich (Switzer- ration losses of 10 % (8).
land): pork (chop and shoulder), beef (prime rib and The statistical per capita meat consumption (slaughter
shoulder), chicken (breast and thigh) and veal (chop). weight) in Switzerland was the basis for calculating the
Sample size of every meat cut was 25 pieces. The meat average lean meat consumption. A percentage of lean
cuts were transported to our laboratory, where the lon- meat of the slaughter weight of 55 %, 65 %, 66 % and
gissimus dorsi muscle (1.d.m.) from beef prime rib and 50 % for pork, beef, veal and poultry, respectively was
chop (pork and veal) was immediately separated. The considered. About 85 % of the poultry meat consumed
other meat cuts were trimmed of visible fat, skin and was chicken (20).
connective tissue. The lean meat samples were cut into To calculate significant differences (p < 0.05) in o~-
pieces. The samples were stored at -20 °C until the tocopherol content of different meat cuts, the analysis of
analytical procedure was performed. variance (ANOVA) was computed by using Statgraphics
5.0. Significance of means was determined using Bon-
Trial with pigs ferroni's Multiple Range Test. The Mann-Whitney U-test
was employed to determine differences in the ct-tocophe-
rol content of animal products between the control and
Twelve growing pigs (castrates) were divided into two
the vitamin E groups.
groups of six. The animals were fed a basal diet based
on barley (35 %), maize (30 %), soybean meal (10 %)
and sunflower meal (10 %). The remaining ingredients
were potato protein, animal fat, lysine, minerals and vit- Results and discussion
amins. The diet of the control group was not enriched
with ct-tocopherol and the diet of the vitamin E group In Table 1 the ct-tocopherol content and ct-tocopherol:en-
was supplemented with 200 mg ct-tocopherol acetate/kg ergy ratio (mg/MJ) of different meat cuts available in
feed. The analyzed ct-tocopherol concentrations in the Switzerland, are shown. Chicken thigh was the meat cut
diets were 15 mg/kg and 258 mg/kg feed for the control with the highest ct-tocopherol content, followed by
and vitamin E group, respectively. Water and feed were chicken breast and pork shoulder muscles (p < 0.05). Our
M. Leonhardt et al. 25
Vitamin E content of animal products

Table 1 cc-Tocopherol content and et-tocopherol:energy ratio Table 2 (z-Tocopherol content and cc-tocopherol:energy ratio
(mg/MJ) of different meat cuts and ~t-toeopherol intake provided by (mg/MJ) of different products from animals fed a control or a
the average daily meat consumption in Switzerland (1995) vitamin E supplemented diet
.......... ct-Tocopherol
Meat cuts o:-Tocopherol Meat con- a-Tocopherol
Mean ± SD Median Ratio'
Mean ± SD Median Content ~ RatiC sumption intake m~/lO0 ~ m~/IJ
mg/100 g mg/MJ g/day m;g/da~' Pigs (n=6)
Pork 0.35 53 0.19 L.d.m. (control) 0.24 + 0.09 0,22 0.5
td.m. 0.27 ± O.I0~ 0.26 0.6 Ld.m. (vitamin E) 0.51 ± 0.21 * 0.52 1.2
Shoulder 0.52 ± 0.23b 0.44 1.0
Beef 0.22 30 0.07 Adipose tissue (control) 0,99 ± 0.t 3 1.(1t3 0.3
Ld,m. 0.26 ± 0.16a 0,21 0.5 Adipose tissue (vitamin E) 2.92 ± 0.31"* 2.95 0.9
Shoulder 0.26 ± 0.1C 0.22 0.5
Liver (control) 0.58 ± 0.05 0.60 1,1
,Veal (L.d.m.) 0.29 ± 0,11 a 0.30 0.30 0.8 9 0.03
Liver (vitamin E) 4.10 ± 0.5 l ** 4.00 7.3
Chicken 0.89 13 0.12
Laying hens (n=5)
Breast 0.62 ± 0.22b 0.64 1.4 Egg yolk (control) 3.04 ± 0.29 3.00 2.1
Thigh 1.20 ± 0.53c I. 14 2.5 Egg yolk (vitamin E) 45.27 ± 6.40* 42.05 28,8
Sum 105 0.41
German f Men: 1.2 Men: 13 (3%)
Recommendations (8) Women 1.4 Women: 13 (3%) *, p < 0.05; **, p < 0.01.
SD, Standard deviation; MJ, Megajoule; L.d.m., Longissimus dorsi
n = 25; SD, Standard deviation; MJ, Megajoule; L.d.m., Longissi- muscle.
mus dorsi muscle. aFor calculating the ct-tocopherol:energy ratio (rag/MJ) the median
".b.~-Tocopherol contents (means) with unlike letters were signifi- value and the energy values in Souci et al. (19) were considered.
cantly different (p < 0.05). Recommended allowances for vitamin E are: t.2 mg/MJ for men
and 1.4 mg/MJ for women (8).
aFor calculating the average cc-tocopherol content of each animal
species (pork, beef and chicken), the mean of the two median values
was used.
~For calculating the a-tocopherol:energy ratio (mg/MJ) the median chicken thigh with its relatively high vitamin E:energy
value and the energy value in Souci et al. (18, 19) were considered. ratio (2.5 mg/MJ) was a good vitamin E supplier for
qn parentheses the covering of the recommendations expressed as human nutrition.
percentage is shown.
In Table 2, the ct-tocopherol contents of longissimus
dorsi muscle, adipose tissue and liver o f the control and
vitamin E groups are shown. Dietary vitamin E sup-
findings for the vitamin E content o f chicken were higher
plementation to pigs resulted in a significant increase o f
than the values o f McCance and Widdowson (13), Souci
the oc-tocopherol content of l.d.m. (p < 0.05), adipose
et al. (18) and Elmadfa et al. (5). One explanation for
this might be that the diets o f broilers in Switzerland are tissue and liver (p < 0.01). Also, the study with laying
now very often supplemented with vitamin E (Pfirter, hens showed that a vitamin E supplementation signifi-
1996, personal communication). This may account for the cantly increased the ct-tocopherol content o f eggs (yolk),
relative high ct-tocopherol content found in chicken meat, compared to the control group (p < 0.05). Although, in
especially in chicken thigh. The lowest vitamin E con- both trials (pigs and laying hens) the diets were sup-
centrations were found in pork (1.d.m.), beef (1.d.m. and plemented with 200 mg cc-tocopherol acetate/kg feed, the
shoulder muscles) and veal (1.d.m.) and no statistical ct-tocopherol accumulation differed among the examined
significant difference was found in the cc-tocopherol con- animal products according to the following ranking: egg
tent o f these meat cuts. McCance and Widdowson (13) yolk > liver > adipose tissue > longissimus dorsi muscle.
published lower vitamin E concentrations for lean pork Compared to the control groups, the ct-tocopherol content
and beef (0 mg and 0.15 mg/100 g, respectively). In of egg yolk, liver, adipose tissue and pork 1.d.m. of the
relation to our values, data from Souci et al. (19) and vitamin E groups were 15-fold, sevenfold, threefold and
Etmadfa et al. (5) showed comparable vitamin E concen- twice as high, respectively. Meat (1.d.m.) and adipose
trations in pork (0.37 and 0.30 mg/100 g) and higher tissue of the vitamin E group were poor vitamin E sup-
contents of beef (0.48 and 0.5 mg/100 g). Also, the pliers. The vitamin E:energy ratios for these samples were
published vitamin E content of veal chop by Elmadfa et 1.2 and 0.9 mg/MJ, respectively. The increase of the
al. (5) was higher (0.6 mg/100 g chop) than our value. ct-tocopherol content o f liver by the vitamin E sup-
Similarly, an explanation for the variability in the re- plementation was important for human nutrition. Conside-
ported vitamin E contents might be different vitamin E ring an energy value of 549 kJ/100 g (19) the vitamin
contents of animal diets (4). E:energy ratio of the liver samples o f the vitamin E group
Lean meat was not an important vitamin E supplier in increased to 7.3 mg/MJ. However, pig liver is consumed
the nutrition of the Swiss. The vitamin E intake provided only in very low quantities and a high consumption is
with the average daily lean meat consumption in Swit- not favorable for different reasons. Remarkable is the
zerland was 0.41 mg (Table 1). This vitamin E intake observation that the 1.d.m. a-tocopherol content of the
covered 3 % o f the recommendation for the daily vitamin control group was comparable to those o f pork chop
E intake given by the German Nutrition Society (8). Only samples (1.d.m.) at the retail level. Therefore, it can be
26 Zeitschrift ftir Ernghrungswissenschaft, Band 36, Heft 1 (1997)
© Steinkopff Verlag 1997

concluded that the diets of pigs in Switzerland were not pherol concentrations in egg yolk were 18.8 mg/100 g
supplemented with significant quantities o f vitamin E. and 24.6 mg/100 g egg yolk, respectively. Although, in
Many studies have investigated the effect of a vitamin our study the laying hens also received 200 mg c~-toco-
E supplementation of animal diets on the meat ct-toco- pherol acetate/kg feed, the a-tocopherol concentration in
pherol content. Vogg (22), Asghar et al. (3) and Monahan egg yolk (45.3 rag/100 g) was much higher compared to
et al. (15) fed pigs different levels o f vitamin E. The the study o f Garwin et at. (7) and Jiang et al. (9). One
highest 1.d.m. a-tocopherol value (0.80 rag/100 g) was reason might be that we collected the eggs after a feeding
reported by Monahan et al. (15). In their study pigs period of 28 days, whereas Jiang et al. (9) collected the
received a dietary vitamin E supplementation of 200 mg eggs after 21 days. Surai and Ionov (21) showed in their
a-tocopherol acetate/kg feed. Arnold et al. (1), Arnold et study that supplementing laying hens with vitamin E,
al. (2) and Liu et al. (12) fed steers a-tocopherol acetate caused an increase o f the egg yolk ot-tocopherol concen-
enriched diets. Arnold et al. (2) reported that the group tration to a maximum level and than the a-tocopherol
of steers receiving 2000 mg vitamin E/day had a ~-toco- content decreased again and stabilized at a lower level.
pherol content o f 0.82 mg/100 g in gluteus medius muscle They supplemented laying hens with 10, t00, I000 and
and 0.67 mg/100 g in longissimus lumborum muscle. 10000 mg vitamin E/kg feed for 60 days. The maximum
Engeseth et al. (6) showed that 500 mg vitamin E/day egg yolk ct-tocopherol content of the group receiving
given to veal calves for 12 weeks after birth resulted in 10000 mg/kg was found after 3 weeks (1025 mg/100 g).
increased ct-tocopherol concentration in 1.d.m. (0.61 Then the c~-tocopherol concentration decreased again and
rag/100 g). These studies show that meat from supple- stabilized at a level of 370 rag/100 g. The maximum egg
mented animals is not a good vitamin E source. Liu et yolk ct-tocopherol levels of the groups receiving 100
al. (12) calculated that even an exclusive beef consump- mg/kg and 1000 mg/kg (54.0 mg/100 g and 363 mg/
tion in the USA (84 g/day) from supplemented animals 100 g) were detected later and were lower compared to
would only provide 0.56 mg vitamin E/day. However, the group with the highest vitamin E level. Therefore, in
chicken meat, especially chicken thigh, is possibly an further studies it should be examined after how many
exception. Lin et al. ( I I ) and King et al. (10) used 100 days o f feeding supplemental vitamin E the a-tocopherol
mg and 150 mg o f vitamin E/kg broiler feed, respectively. concentration in egg yolk remains stable.
The resulting oc-tocopherol contents of chicken thigh were In conclusion, lean meat is generally not an important
1.0 mg/100 g and 1.3 rag/100 g, respectively. Nepp et al. vitamin E supplier in human nutrition, not even from
(16) tested the compatibility o f a high vitamin E sup- supplemented animals. One exception might be chicken
plementation in broilers. They enriched diets of broilers meat, especially chicken thigh. However, the average
with 0, 100, 1000, 10000, 20000 mg ct-tocopherol ace- daily chicken meat consumption is low and therefore, it
tate/kg feed. The resulting c~-tocopherot contents of is also not an important vitamin E source. A dietary
chicken thigh were 0.11, 0.49, 3.18, 9.05 and 12.16 vitamin E supplementation to laying hens resulted in an
increase of vitamin E concentration in egg yolk, so that
mg/100 g, respectively. It should be noted that these high
egg yolks from these laying hens were potent vitamin E
vitamin E supplementations (> 100 mg/kg feed) are econ-
suppliers for human nutrition.
omically not useful.
By dietary vitamin E supplementation o f laying hen
diets, egg yolk became a good vitamin E source (28.8
mg vitamin E/MJ). This is in agreement with many other Acknowledgements We would like to thank M. Memmen and
studies. Garwin et al. (7) and Jiang et al. (9) supple- C. Senaux for their technical assistance. We also thank Prof.
merited the feed with 200 mg vitamin E/kg. The c~-toco- M. Kreuzer for help in preparing the manuscript.

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