Effects of Dietary Coconut Oil as a Medium-chain Fatty Acid Source on Performance, Carcass Composition and Serum Lipids in Male Broilers

  • Wang, Jianhong (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Wang, Xiaoxiao (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Li, Juntao (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Chen, Yiqiang (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Yang, Wenjun (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, China Agricultural University) ;
  • Zhang, Liying (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, China Agricultural University)
  • Received : 2014.05.07
  • Accepted : 2014.08.23
  • Published : 2015.02.01


This study was conducted to investigate the effects of dietary coconut oil as a medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA) source on performance, carcass composition and serum lipids in male broilers. A total of 540, one-day-old, male Arbor Acres broilers were randomly allotted to 1 of 5 treatments with each treatment being applied to 6 replicates of 18 chicks. The basal diet (i.e., R0) was based on corn and soybean meal and was supplemented with 1.5% soybean oil during the starter phase (d 0 to 21) and 3.0% soybean oil during the grower phase (d 22 to 42). Four experimental diets were formulated by replacing 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% of the soybean oil with coconut oil (i.e., R25, R50, R75, and R100). Soybean oil and coconut oil were used as sources of long-chain fatty acid and MCFA, respectively. The feeding trial showed that dietary coconut oil had no effect on weight gain, feed intake or feed conversion. On d 42, serum levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol were linearly decreased as the coconut oil level increased (p<0.01). Lipoprotein lipase, hepatic lipase, and total lipase activities were linearly increased as the coconut oil level increased (p<0.01). Abdominal fat weight/eviscerated weight (p = 0.05), intermuscular fat width (p<0.01) and subcutaneous fat thickness (p<0.01) showed a significant quadratic relationship, with the lowest value at R75. These results indicated that replacement of 75% of the soybean oil in diets with coconut oil is the optimum level to reduce fat deposition and favorably affect lipid profiles without impairing performance in broilers.


Broiler;Medium-chain Fatty Acid;Growth Performance;Carcass Composition;Serum Lipid


Supported by : Ministry of Agriculture


  1. Bhatnagar, A. S., P. K. P. Kumar, J. Hemavathy, and A. G. G. Krishna. 2009. Fatty acid composition, oxidative stability, and radical scavenging activity of vegetable oil blends with coconut oil. J. Am. Oil Chem. Soc. 86:991-999.
  2. Adams, B. Y. C., H. A. Vahl, and A. Veldman. 1996. Interaction between nutrition and Eimeria acervulina infection in broiler chickens: Diet compositions that improve fat digestion during Eimeria acervulina infection. Br. J. Nutr. 75:875-880.
  3. AOAC. 2000. Official Methods of Analysis.17th edn. Association of Offical Analytical Chemists, Gaithersburg, MD, USA.
  4. Cater, N. B., H. J. Heller, and M. A. Denke. 1997. Comparison of the effects of medium-chain triacylglycerols, palm oil, and high oleic acid sunflower oil on plasma triacylglycerol fatty acids and lipid and lipoprotein concentrations in humans. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 65:41-45.
  5. Cherian, G., F. W. Wolfe, and J. S. Sim. 1996. Dietary oils with added tocopherols: Effects on egg or tissue tocopherols, fatty acids and oxidative stability. Poult. Sci. 75:423-431.
  6. Contois, J. H., G. R. Warnick, and A. D. Sniderman. 2011. Reliability of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, non-highdensity lipoprotein cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B measurement. J. Clin. Lipidol. 5:264-272.
  7. Dove, C. R. 1993. The effect of adding copper and various fat sources to the diets of weanling swine on growth performance and serum fatty acid profiles. J. Anim. Sci. 71:2187-2192.
  8. Ferreira, L., K. Lisenko, B. Barros, M. Zangeronimo, L. Pereira, and R. Sousa. 2012. Influence of medium-chain triglycerides on consumption and weight gain in rats: A systematic review. J. Anim. Physiol. Anim. Nutr. 98:1-8.
  9. Hill, J. O., J. C. Peters, L. L. Swift, D. Yang, T. Sharp, N. Abumrad, and H. L. Greene. 1990. Changes in blood lipids during six days of overfeeding with medium or long chain triglycerides. J. Lipid Res. 31:407-416.
  10. Furuse, M., R. T. Mabayo, K. Kita, and J. Okumura. 1992. Effect of dietary medium chain triglyceride on protein and energy utilization in growing chicks. Br. Poult. Sci. 33:49-57.
  11. Han, J., J. A. Hamilton, J. L. Kirkland, B. E. Corkey, and W. Guo. 2003. Medium-chain oil reduces fat mass and down-regulates expression of adipogenic genes in rats. Obes. Res. 11:734-744.
  12. Heimberg, M., I. Weinstein, and M. Kohout. 1969. The effects of glucagon, dibutyryl cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate and concentration of free fatty acid on hepatic lipid metabolism. J. Biol. Chem. 244:5131-5139.
  13. Hwa, J. J., L. Ghibaudi, D. Compton, A. B. Fawzi, and C. D. Strader. 1996. Intracerebroventricular injection of leptin increases thermogenesis and mobilizes fat metabolism in ob/ob mice. Horm. Metab. Res. 28:659-663.
  14. Irshad, M. and R. Dubey. 2005. Apolipoproteins and their role in different clinical conditions: An overview. Indian J. Biochem. Biophys.42:73-80.
  15. Kane, J. P. 1983. Apolipoprotein B: Structural and metabolic heterogeneity. Ann. Rev. Physiol. 45:637-650.
  16. Kirchgessner, T. G., J. C. Chuat, C. Heinzmann, J. Etienne, S. Guil-hot, K. Svenson, D. Ameis, C. Pilon, L. D'Auriol, A. Andalibi, M. C. Schotz, F. Galibert, and A. J. Lusis. 1989. Organization of the human lipoprotein lipase gene and evolution of the lipase gene family. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 86:9647-9651.
  17. Marten, B., M. Pfeuffer, and J. Schrezenmeir. 2006. Medium-chain triglycerides. Int. Dairy J. 16:1374-1382.
  18. Rego Costa, A. C., E. L. Rosado, and M. Soares-Mota. 2012. Influence of the dietary intake of medium chain triglycerides on body composition, energy expenditure and satiety; A systematic review. Nutr. Hosp. 27:103-108.
  19. Miller, D., Z. Johnston, B. Mullan, J. Pluske, and C. Hansen. 2009. Nutritional manipulation of the somatotropic axis in grower and finisher pigs. Report prepared for the Co-operative Research Centre for an Internationally Competitive Pork Industry. December, 2009. Australia.
  20. Nuernberg, K., B. H. Breier, S. N. Jayasinghe, H. Bergmann, N. Thompson, G. Nuernberg, D. Dannenberger, F. Schneider, U. Renne, M. Langhammer, and K. Huber. 2011. Metabolic responses to high-fat diets rich in n-3 or n-6 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in mice selected for either high body weight or leanness explain different health outcomes. Nutr. Metab. 8:56.
  21. Rabie, M. H. and M. Szilagyi. 1998. Effects of L-carnitine supplementation of diets differing in energy levels on performance, abdominal fat content, and yield and composition of edible meat of broilers. Br. J. Nutr. 80:391-400.
  22. Royan, M., G. Y. Meng, F. Othman, A. Q. Sazili, and B. Navidshad. 2011. Effects of conjugated linoleic acid, fish oil and soybean oil on PPARs (${\alpha}&{\gamma}$) mRNA expression in broiler chickens and their relation to body fat deposits. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 12:8581-8595.
  23. Rubin, M., A. Moser, N. Vaserberg, F. Greig, Y. Levy, H. Spivak, Y. Ziv, and S. Lelcuk. 2000. Long-chain fatty acids, in long-term home parenteral nutrition: A double-blind randomized crossover study. Nutrition 16: 95-100.
  24. Sanz, M., C. J. Lopez-Bote, D. Menoyo, and J. M. Bautista. 2000. Abdominal fat deposition and fatty acid synthesis are lower and $\beta$-oxidation is higher in broiler chickens fed diets containing unsaturated rather than saturated fat. J. Nutr. 130:3034-3037.
  25. SAS Institute Inc. 1999. SAS Users Guide, Version 8.1. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA.
  26. Shinohara, H., H. Shimada, O. Noguchi, F. Kubota, and T. Aoyama. 2002. Effect of medium-chain fatty acids-containing dietary oil on hepatic fatty acid oxidation enzyme activity in rats. J. Oleo Sci. 51:621-626.
  27. St-Onge, M. P., R. Ross, W. D. Parsons, and P. J. H. Jones. 2003. Medium-chain triglycerides increase energy expenditure and decrease adiposity in overweight men. Obes. Res. 11:395-402.
  28. Shinohara, H., A. Ogawa, M. Kasai, and T. Aoyama. 2005. Effect of randomly interesterified triacylglycerols containing medium- and long-chain fatty acids on energy expenditure and hepatic fatty acid metabolism in rats. Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem. 69:1811-1818.
  29. Solis de los Santos, F., A. M. Donoghue, K. Venkitanarayanan, M. L. Dirain, I. Reyes-Herrera, P. J. Blore, and D. J. Donoghue. 2008. Caprylic acid supplemented in feed reduces enteric campylobacter jejuni colonization in ten-day-old broiler chickens. Poult. Sci. 87:800-804.
  30. Staiger, H., O. Tschritter, J. Machann, C. Thamer, A. Fritsche, E. Maerker, F. Schick, H. U. Haring, and M. Stumvoll. 2003. Relationship of serum adiponectin and leptin concentrations with body fat distribution in humans. Obes. Res. 11:368-372.
  31. Sukhija, P. S. and D. L. Palmquist. 1988. Rapid method for determination of total fatty acid content and composition of feedstuffs and feces. J. Agric. Food Chem. 36:1202-1206.
  32. Tachibana, S., K. Sato, T. Takahashi, and Y. Akiba. 2002. Octanoate inhibits very low-density lipoprotein secretion in primary cultures of chicken hepatocytes. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. part A Mol. Integr. Physiol. 132:621-627.
  33. Takeuchi, H., O. Noguchi, S. Sekine, A. Kobayashi, and T. Aoyama. 2006. Lower weight gain and higher expression and blood levels of adiponectin in rats fed medium-chain TAG compared with long-chain TAG. Lipids 41:207-212.
  34. Uzawa, H., G. Schlierf, S. Chirman, G. Michaels, P. Wood, and L.W. Kinsell, G. Fukayama, N-C. Liu, and M. Coelho. 1964. Hyperglyceridemia resulting from intake of medium chain triglycerides. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 15:365-369.
  35. Xie, C., L. A. Woollett, S. D. Turley, and J. M. Dietschy. 2002. Fatty acids differentially regulate hepatic cholesteryl ester formation and incorporation into lipoproteins in the liver of the mouse. J. Lipid Res. 43:1508-1519.
  36. Yamauchi, T., J. Kamon, Y. Minokoshi, Y. Ito, H. Waki, S. Uchida, S. Yamashita, M. Noda, S. Kita, K. Ueki, K. Eto, Y. Akanuma, P. Froguel, F. Foufelle, P. Ferre, D. Carling, S. Kimura, R. Nagai, B. B. Kahn, and T. Kadowaki. 2002. Adiponectin stimulates glucose utilization and fatty-acid oxidation by activating AMP-activated protein kinase. Nat. Med. 8:1288-1295.
  37. Yeung, R. M. W. and J. Morris. 2001. Consumer perception of food risk in chicken meat. Nutr. Food Sci. 31: 270-279.

Cited by

  1. Coconut oil - a nutty idea? vol.41, pp.1, 2016,
  2. In Silico and Wet Lab Studies Reveal the Cholesterol Lowering Efficacy of Lauric Acid, a Medium Chain Fat of Coconut Oil vol.71, pp.4, 2016,
  3. Growth Performance, Carcass Characteristics and Fatty Acids Profile of Broilers Supplemented with Lauric Acid and Natural Antioxidant from Areca vestiaria Giseke vol.16, pp.9, 2017,
  4. Deep fried edible oils disturb hepatic redox equilibrium and heightens lipotoxicity and hepatosteatosis in male Wistar rats vol.36, pp.9, 2017,
  5. Dietary Cold Pressed Watercress and Coconut Oil Mixture Enhances Growth Performance, Intestinal Microbiota, Antioxidant Status, and Immunity of Growing Rabbits vol.8, pp.11, 2018,
  6. Effects of dietary supplementation with a combination of plant oils on performance, meat quality and fatty acid deposition of broilers vol.31, pp.11, 2018,
  7. Effect of the combined action of Quercus cortex extract and probiotic substances on the immunity and productivity of broiler chickens vol.11, pp.10, 2018,
  8. Black soldier fly larva fat inclusion in finisher broiler chicken diet as an alternative fat source vol.12, pp.10, 2018,
  9. Low-fat diet, and medium-fat diets containing coconut oil and soybean oil exert different metabolic effects in untrained and treadmill-trained mice vol.15, pp.1, 2018,