Author(s): Franklin ST, Martin KR, Baer RJ, Schingoethe DJ, Hippen AR
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Abstract Modification of milk fat to contain long-chain (n-3) fatty acids and increased concentrations of conjugated linoleic acid has potential for improving health of consumers. Natural modification of milk through nutritional manipulation of diets for dairy cows is preferable to post-harvest modification. The objectives of this study were to increase the concentrations of beneficial fatty acids in milk fat by feeding a diet rich in (n-3) fatty acids from algae to dairy cows. Cows were fed a control diet, a diet containing algae (Schizochytrium sp.) protected against ruminal biohydrogenation, or a diet containing unprotected algae for 6 wk. Feed intake and milk production were recorded daily. Milk samples were obtained weekly for analysis of milk composition and profile of fatty acids. Percentage of fat in milk of cows fed algae was lower (P < 0.01) than in milk from cows fed the control diet; however, energy-corrected milk production did not differ (P > 0.05). Inclusion of algae in diets decreased (P < 0.01) feed intake. Milk fat from cows fed algae contained greater (P < 0.01) concentrations of conjugated linoleic acid, (n-3) fatty acids (particularly docosahexaenoic acid), and transvaccenic acid. Concentrations of docosahexaenoic acid were greater (P < 0.01) in milk fat from cows fed protected algae compared to milk fat from cows fed unprotected algae. Milk fat from cows fed algae contained lower (P < 0.05) concentrations of total saturated fatty acids compared to cows fed the control diet. In conclusion, milk fat can be modified through nutritional management of dairy cows to provide more favorable fatty acids for consumers.
This article was published in J Nutr
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