Effect of dietary supplementation of hemp seed (Cannabis sativa L.) on meat quality and egg fatty acid composition of Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica)

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It is well recognized that the consumption of food rich in antioxidants can provide protection against cancer and cardiovascular diseases (Betti et al., 2009a,b). Due to a global awareness of health issues, consumers prefer foods which are rich in essential fatty acids (FAs), for example linoleic acid (LA) and alpha‐linolenic acid (ALA), because of their beneficial effects on health. Linoleic acid and ALA, which are needed for the maintenance of the body functions, cannot be synthesized in the body and thus must be consumed through food (Goldberg et al., 2012).
There have been many efforts to produce animal products enriched with omega‐3 polyunsaturated FAs (PUFA) (Çitil et al., 2011; Goldberg et al., 2012). It has been demonstrated that lipid composition of broiler meat can be changed by the addition of LA and ALA of vegetable oil (Kahraman et al., 2004) and fish oil (Basmacioglu et al., 2003). For instance, to obtain eggs rich in omega‐3, sometimes fish oil is used; however, it is expensive and it increases the total production cost. Additionally, it causes the undesirable flavour described as fishy odour at higher than 1.5% inclusion (González‐Esquerra and Leeson, 2001). In this regard, some plant seeds may be considered as a convenient source of omega‐3 and omega‐6 PUFA (Betti et al., 2009a,b). In the nutritional point of view, whole hemp seed (HS) contains high valuable nutrients, approximately 25% crude protein, 34% crude fat and 34% carbohydrates, along with several vitamins and minerals. Additionally, it is rich in omega‐3 and omega‐6 PUFA, which are ALA and LA, existing at 20% and 60% respectively (Callaway, 2004; House et al., 2010). Hemp seed is a rich source of high‐quality digestible protein and amino acids and contains a significant amount of phenolic compounds and tocopherols, which are highly beneficial for health (Oomah et al., 2002; Kriese et al., 2004; Callaway et al., 2005; Girgih et al., 2011). Therefore, HS and its oil may be used in poultry diet formulations to produce enriched eggs with essential FAs, such as omega‐3 and omega‐6 FAs (Goldberg et al., 2012). Gakhar et al. (2012) demonstrated the beneficial effect of feeding HS and HS oil in laying hens, through an increased total egg yolk n‐3 FA content.
Cannabis sativa, commonly known as hemp, is native to central Asia and is one of the oldest field crops that have multiple uses, including nutrition as well as the production of fibre for cloth, rope and canvas. Although the cultivation of hemp was restricted in some countries due to its high content of Δ‐9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, a psychoactive substance), it has received increasing research attention because of its potential uses (Callaway, 2004). Some European countries (France and Finland) allowed hemp cultivation since 1993, and other European Union countries allow the cultivation of hemp under 0.3% THC (Vantreese, 2002). Hemp is used in producing many quality products and contributing in the betterment of human health, as well as farms and communities. Although the production of hemp changes year to year, its total harvest has increased primarily in HS production (Johnson, 2014).
Addition of HS into poultry diet formulation may prevent the production of free radicals that potentially cause oxidative stress‐related diseases (Girgih et al., 2011). Despite the potential of HS and HS oil to serve as feed ingredients in livestock production, there are only a few studies that have investigated the beneficial effect of HS inclusion in the diet, with limited focus on poultry (Silversides and Lefrançois, 2005; Gakhar et al., 2012) and other animal species (Gibb et al., 2005; Karimi and Hayatghaibi, 2006).
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