The hypothesis tested was that randomization of palm oil would increase its digestibility, especially that of its palmitic acid (C16:0) component, with subsequent changes in the fatty acid composition in body tissues. Broiler chickens were fed diets containing either native or randomized palm oil. Diets with either native or a 50/50 mix of native and hydrogenated sunflower oil were also fed. Randomization of palm oil raised the fraction of C16:0 at the sn-2 position of the glycerol molecule from 14 to 32%. Hydrogenation of sunflower oil reduced fat and total saturated fatty acid digestibility, whereas no change in digestibility of total unsaturated fatty acids was found. Randomization of palm oil raised the group mean apparent digestibility of C16:0 by 2.6 and 5.8% units during the starter and grower-finisher phase, respectively. On the basis of the observed digestibilities in the grower-finisher period, it was calculated that the digestibility for C16:0 at the sn-2 and sn-1,3 position was 90 and 51%, respectively. The feeding of randomized instead of native palm oil significantly raised the palmitic acid content of breast meat and abdominal fat and lowered the ratio of unsaturated to saturated fatty acids. It is concluded that randomized palm oil may be used as vegetable oil in broiler nutrition with positive effect on saturated fatty acid digestibility when compared with native palm oil and positive effect on firmness of meat when compared with vegetable oils rich in unsaturated fatty acids.
- metabolizable energy