CZAAWE Resource Article

Serum fatty acid analysis and digestibility study in the Vancouver Island marmot (Marmota vancouverensis) fed a captive diet supplemented with α-linolenic acid
Publication Type 
Journal Article
Year of publication 
Zoo Biology
Abstract 10.1002/zoo.1025.abs Mammals that hibernate must rely on endogenous lipid reserves to survive over winter. This study was conducted to compare the difference in serum fatty acid composition, dietary intake, and apparent digestibility in the Vancouver Island marmot (N = 6) fed the Metro Zoo lagomorph diet supplemented with α-linolenic acid [C(18:3) n-3 (α-LA)]. The experiment was designed as a 3 × 3 Latin square with three 17-day collection periods. The test diets contained 12.16, 14.85, and 17.05% α-LA as a percentage of fatty acids in the diet supplied through the addition of flaxseed oil (∼53% α-LA). Across treatments, dry matter intake (g/d), dry matter digestibility, apparent fat digestibility, and apparent neutral detergent fiber digestibility did not differ significantly (P > 0.05). There were no significant differences in serum α-LA concentration between the three levels of α-LA supplementation. However, this supplementation did elevate serum α-LA, eicosapentaenoic acid [C20:5 (n-3)], and docosahexaenoic acid [C22:6 (n-3)] levels compared with feeding the basal zoo lagomorph diet (P < 0.05). Thus, supplementation of the basal zoo lagomorph diet with α-LA elevated the serum levels of essential fatty acids in the Vancouver Island marmot. Zoo Biol 20:251–259, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.