Free-Range Feeding Alters Fatty Acid Composition at the sn-2 Position of Triglycerides and Subcutaneous Fat Physicochemical Properties in Heavy Pigs

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The nutritional value of fat consumption depends on both the fatty acid composition and the positional distribution of fatty acids within the triglyceride molecule. This research studies the effect of feeding with three different diets (4% lard-enriched; 11.5% high-oleic sunflower-enriched; and extensive feeding mainly with acorns) on the composition of fatty acids in the sn-2 position (and sn-1,3) of triglycerides and the textural properties of subcutaneous fat in heavy Iberian pigs (n = 210 castrated males). A moderate dietary enrichment with oleic acid in mixed diets did not alter the regulation of the sn-2 position of triglyceride (69.9% and 13.9% of palmitic and oleic acids, respectively), but the extremely high intake of oleic acid in pigs fed mainly on acorns changed the proportions of palmitic and oleic acids at the sn-2 position in the subcutaneous fat of pigs (55.0% and 27.2%, respectively). Hardness, adhesiveness, cohesiveness, gumminess, and chewiness showed the least values in EXT pigs, and the greatest values in LARD-fed barrows. SUN cohesiveness and gumminess did not differ from those fed LARD. In addition, Iberian pigs raised in free-range conditions had a more favorable nutritional lipid profile for human health compared to pigs fed conventional diets.