Skip to main content

The Impact of Fetal Programming in Ewe Nutrition with Chromium Propionate or Calcium Salts of Palm Oil on the Meat Quality and Bone of the Progeny


This study aimed to evaluate the inclusion of chromium propionate or calcium salts of palm oil in ewes’ diet during the final third of gestation and lactation on progeny performance, carcass characteristics, non-carcass components, and bone density. Forty-three ewe, Santa Inês and Dorper breed, three ± one-year-old, and body weight 57 ± 10 kg were used. The experimental design was in casual blocks in three treatments, CTL treatment (n = 15) with starch from corn; CR (n = 15) diet CTL plus chromium propionate; PF (n = 13) diet CTL plus calcium salts of palm oil. After weaning, 23 male lambs from these ewes were confined in individual stalls, with the same diet for 60 days, slaughtered. The data were analyzed using the SAS program, PROC GLM, and compared the means using Tukey’s test at 5% probability. The maternal diet did not alter the dry matter intake, feeding efficiency, and average daily weight gain. Therefore, weights (weaning and slaughter) and carcass yield were higher for CR and PF groups than for CTL (P < 0.05). The treatment did not influence the loin eye area and fat thickness (P > 0.05). The spleen and the respiratory tract were smaller for PF and larger for CTL (P < 0.05). Leg weight was higher for CR. The perimeter and depth of the shank for the CR and PF lambs were higher, indicating an effect of maternal nutrition in this commercial cut. The CR group had a smaller epiphysis measurement and femur length than the CTL group. We concluded that the fetal programming effect in ewes fed with Cr propionate and Ca salts of palm oil benefited the progeny by increasing their body weight, better carcass yield, and a higher proportion of prime cuts.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. NRC - National Research Council (2007) Nutrient requirements of small ruminants: sheep, goats, cervids, and new world camelids. National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Brozos C, Mavrogianni VS, Fthenakis GC (2011) Treatment and control of peri-parturient metabolic diseases: pregnancy toxemia, hypocalcemia, hypomagnesemia. Vet Clin North Am - Food Anim Pract 27:105–113.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Sartori ED, Sessim AG, Brutti DD et al (2020) Fetal programming in sheep: effects on pre- and postnatal development in lambs. J Anim Sci 98:

  4. Gao F, Liu Y, Li L et al (2014) Effects of maternal undernutrition during late pregnancy on the development and function of ovine fetal liver. Anim Reprod Sci 147:99–105.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Luzardo S, de Souza G, Quintans G, Banchero G (2019) Refeeding ewe’s ad libitum after energy restriction during mid-pregnancy does not affect lamb feed conversion ratio, animal performance and meat quality. Small Rumin Res 180:57–62.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Tygesen MP, Harrison AP, Therkildsen M (2007) The effect of maternal nutrient restriction during late gestation on muscle, bone and meat parameters in five month old lambs. Livest Sci 110:230–241.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Du M, Wang B, Fu X et al (2015) Fetal programming in meat production. Meat Sci 109:40–47.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  8. Gallo SB, de Almeida MF, de Macedo CM, de Oliveira Silveira RD (2014) Whole grain diet for feedlot lambs. Small Rumin Res 120:185–188.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Santos Neto JM, de Souza J, Lock AL (2021) Effects of calcium salts of palm fatty acids on nutrient digestibility and production responses of lactating dairy cows: a meta-analysis and meta-regression. J Dairy Sci 104:9752–9768.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Simões J, Abecia JA, Cannas A et al (2021) Review: managing sheep and goats for sustainable high yield production. Animal 15:100293.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Ognik K, Dworzański W, Sembratowicz I et al (2021) The effect of the high-fat diet supplemented with various forms of chromium on rats body composition, liver metabolism and organ histology Cr in liver metabolism and histology of selected organs. J Trace Elem Med Biol 64:126705.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Leiva T, Cooke RF, Brandão AP et al (2017) Effects of concentrate type and chromium propionate on insulin sensitivity, productive and reproductive parameters of lactating dairy cows consuming excessive energy. Animal 11:436–444.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Lashkari S, Habibian M, Jensen SK (2018) A review on the role of chromium supplementation in ruminant nutrition—effects on productive performance, blood metabolites, antioxidant status, and immunocompetence. Biol Trace Elem Res 186:305–321.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Tedeschi LO, Fox DG (2020) The ruminant nutrition system: volume i - an applied model for predicting nutrient requirements and feed utilization in ruminants., Third Edit. XanEdu, Acton, MA, Acton, MA

  15. AOAC (2000) Official methods of analysis of AOAC International. Assoc Off Anal Chem Int.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Mertens DR, Allen M, Carmany J et al (2002) Gravimetric determination of amylase-treated neutral detergent fiber in feeds with refluxing in beakers or crucibles: Collaborative study. J AOAC Int 85:1217–1240

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Caputi B (2017) Métodos Analíticos. In: Compêndio Brasileiro de Alimentação Animal, 5° Edição. Sindirações, São Paulo, pp 186–191

  18. Pedrinelli V, Zafalon RVA, Rodrigues RBA et al (2019) Concentrations of macronutrients, minerals, and heavy metals in home-prepared diets for adult dogs and cats. Sci Rep 9:13058.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  19. Tedeschi LO, Cannas A, Fox DG (2010) A nutrition mathematical model to account for dietary supply and requirements of energy and other nutrients for domesticated small ruminants: the development and evaluation of the Small Ruminant Nutrition System. Small Rumin Res 89:174–184.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Kenyon PR, Maloney SK, Blache D (2014) Review of sheep body condition score in relation to production characteristics. New Zeal. J. Agric. Res.

  21. Seedor JG, Quartuccio HA, Thompson DD (1991) The bisphosphonate alendronate (MK-217) inhibits bone loss due to ovariectomy in rats. J Bone Miner Res 6:339–346.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  22. SAS Institute (2012) SAS version 9.4. SAS Inst. Inc.

  23. NRC (2007) Nutrient requirements of small ruminants. National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Prior RL, Christenson RK (1978) Insulin and glucose effects on glucose metabolism in pregnant and nonpregnant ewes. J Anim Sci 46:201–210.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Moallem U, Rozov A, Gootwine E, Honig H (2012) Plasma concentrations of key metabolites and insulin in late-pregnant ewes carrying 1 to 5 fetuses. J Anim Sci 90:318–324.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Leiva T, Cooke RF, Brandão AP et al (2018) Effects of supplemental calcium salts of palm oil and chromium-propionate on insulin sensitivity and productive and reproductive traits of mid- to late-lactating Holstein × Gir dairy cows consuming excessive energy. J Dairy Sci 101:491–504.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. McNamara JP, Valdez F (2005) Adipose tissue metabolism and production responses to calcium propionate and chromium propionate. J Dairy Sci 88:2498–2507.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  28. Moreno-Camarena L, Domínguez-Vara I, Bórquez-Gastelum J et al (2015) Effects of organic chromium supplementation to finishing lambs diet on growth performance, carcass characteristics and meat quality. J Integr Agric 14:567–574.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Castro T, Manso T, Mantecón AR et al (2005) Fatty acid composition and carcass characteristics of growing lambs fed diets containing palm oil supplements. Meat Sci 69:757–764.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. Mostafa-Tehrani A, Ghorbani G, Zare-Shahneh A, Mirhadi SA (2006) Non-carcass components and wholesale cuts of Iranian fat-tailed lambs fed chromium nicotinate or chromium chloride. Small Rumin Res 63:12–19.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Badee G, Hidaka S (2014) Growth performance, carcass characteristics, fatty acid composition and CLA concentrations of lambs fed diets supplemented with different oil sources. Anim Sci J.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Dallago BSL, Lima BAF, Braz SV et al (2016) Tissue accumulation and urinary excretion of Cr in chromium picolinate (CrPic)-supplemented lambs. J Trace Elem Med Biol 35:30–35.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. McCarty MF (1995) Anabolic effects of insulin on bone suggest a role for chromium picolinate in preservation of bone density. Med Hypotheses 45:241–246.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  34. Vincent JB (2004) Recent Developments in the biochemistry of chromium(III). Biol Trace Elem Res 99:001–016.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Li X, Li H, He Z et al (2019) Effects of maternal intake restriction during early pregnancy on fetal growth and bone metabolism in goats. Small Rumin Res 36:57–65.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


This work was supported by the FAPESP—São Paulo Research Foundation, process number 2017/20555–8, and CAPES for the scholarship.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



L. Brohcine: investigation, data curation, writing, and resources.

F. F. Santos: investigation, data curation, formal analysis, writing, and resources.

F. M. Moreira: investigation and resources.

A. L. do V. de Zoppa: laboratory analysis.

P. R. Leme: conceptualization, methodology, and data curation.

L. O. Tedeschi: conceptualization, methodology, data curation, writing, and revising.

S. B. Gallo: conceptualization, methodology, formal analysis, investigation, resources data curation, writing, revising, supervision, project administration, and funding acquisition.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sarita Bonagurio Gallo.

Ethics declarations

Competing Interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Ethics Approval

Animal investigations were carried out by the Institutional Committee on the Use of Animals (Protocol No CEUA 2700201218).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Brochine, L., dos Santos, F.F., Moreira, F.M. et al. The Impact of Fetal Programming in Ewe Nutrition with Chromium Propionate or Calcium Salts of Palm Oil on the Meat Quality and Bone of the Progeny. Biol Trace Elem Res (2022).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI:


  • Femur
  • Ruminant
  • Nutrition
  • Lamb
  • Sheep
  • Viscera