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Manipulation of milk fatty acid composition in lactating cows: opportunities and challenges

Kliem, K. E. ORCID: and Shingfield, K. J. (2016) Manipulation of milk fatty acid composition in lactating cows: opportunities and challenges. European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology, 118 (11). pp. 1661-1683. ISSN 1438-9312

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/ejlt.201400543


Public health policies recommend a population wide decrease in the consumption of saturated fatty acids (SFA) to lower the incidence of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. In most developed countries, milk and dairy products are the major source of SFA in the human diet. Altering milk fat composition offers the opportunity to lower the consumption of SFA without requiring a change in eating habits. Supplementing the diet of lactating cows with oilseeds, plant oils and marine lipids can be used to replace the SFA in milk fat with monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), and to a lesser extent, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Due to ruminal metabolism, the decreases in milk SFA are also accompanied by increases in trans fatty acids (TFA), including conjugated isomers. The potential to lower SFA, enrich cis MUFA and PUFA, and alter the abundance and distribution of individual TFA in milk differs according to oil source, form of lipid supplement and degree of oilseed processing, and the influence of other components in the diet. The present review summarises recent evidence on changes in milk fat composition that can be achieved using dietary lipid supplements and highlights the challenges to commercial production of modified milk and dairy products. A meta-analysis on the effects of oilseeds on milk fatty acid composition is also presented.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Animal Sciences > Animal, Dairy and Food Chain Sciences (ADFCS)- DO NOT USE
ID Code:54859

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