Njangsa (Ricinodendron heudelotii), a tropical tree that grows in the forest of West and Central Africa, produces fruits that are manually shelled to collect oil seeds and dried. A compositional analysis of njangsa revealed a unique nutrient presence of long chain omega-3 fatty acids not usually associated with plant materials. The seed had 31.4% crude protein and 44.7% lipid. Of this lipid, about 73% was composed of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), almost entirely of eicosapentaenoic acid, with about 18% oleic acid. Preliminary studies were conducted to determine if njangsa seed meal would alter the lipid and other metabolite levels in the pig and/or improve pork quality traits. Twelve crossbred gilts and barrows were fed corn-soybean diets containing 14% crude protein. Treatment group was supplemented with 2% njangsa oil seed meal. Growth and carcass traits showed similar carcass characteristics (P > 0.05). Backfat measurement was reduced (P < 0.05), while kidney weight was elevated (P < 0.01) in treated animals. Pork sensory evaluations were not different between the experimental groups. Oil rich supply of long chain PUFA from sources other than seafood may provide a more sustainable source.
Key words: Ricinodendron heudelotii, fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic, docosahexaenoic, swine, carcass composition.
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