An experiment was conducted to measure recycling through cecotrophes and retention of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in the body fat of rabbits. A commercial diet was formulated and given ad libitum to six New Zealand × Californian rabbits. Animals were weaned at 25 days of age and were reared in individual cages for five weeks, reaching an average body weight of 2.5 kg. Excretion of soft faeces was individually determined for 24 h after putting a wooden collar around the animals' neck. Ether extract content and fatty acid profile were determined in both soft and hard faeces, and also in the suprarenal and intramuscular fat. CLA cis-9, trans-11 isomer was detected in faeces and tissues. The CLA concentration was higher in soft than in the hard faeces (6.4 vs. 3.6 g/kg total fatty acids). No difference in CLA concentration was found between tissues (muscle vs. adipose). However, CLA incorporation in muscle was only detected in the neutral lipid fraction. It was concluded that the amount of CLA cis-9, trans-11 isomer recycled through cecotrophy in rabbits fed a commercial diet is retained in similar proportions in the suprarenal and intramuscular fat, but differs in the lipid classes.
cecotrophes; fat; dietary fibre; conjugated linoleic acid