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J Dairy Sci. 2008 Feb;91(2):722-30. doi: 10.3168/jds.2007-0410.

Milk fatty acid composition of grazing dairy cows when supplemented with linseed oil.

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  • 1Department of Animal Science, Food and Nutrition, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA.


The effects of varying amounts of linseed oil (LSO) in grazing dairy cows' diet on milk conjugated linoleic acid (cis-9, trans-11 CLA) were investigated in this study. Twelve Holstein cows in midlactation (150 +/- 19 DIM) were placed on alfalfa-based pasture and assigned to 4 treatments using a 4 x 4 Latin square design with 3-wk periods. Treatments were: 1) control grain supplement; 2) control grain supplement containing 170 g of LSO (LSO1); 3) control grain supplement containing 340 g of LSO (LSO2); and 4) control grain supplement containing 510 g of LSO (LSO3). Grain supplements were offered at 7 kg/d. Additional 100 g/d of algae, divided evenly between the 2 feeding times, were added to every treatment diet. Milk samples were collected during the last 3 d of each period and analyzed for chemical and fatty acid composition. Treatments had no effect on milk production (18.9, 18.5, 19.6, and 19.1 kg/d for treatments 1 to 4, respectively). Linseed oil supplementation caused a quadratic increase in milk fat (3.23, 3.44, 3.35, and 3.27% for treatments 1 to 4, respectively) and protein (3.03, 3.19, 3.12, and 3.08%) contents. Concentrations (g/100 g of fatty acids) of milk cis-9, trans-11 CLA (1.12, 1.18, 1.39, and 1.65 for treatments 1 to 4, respectively) and VA (3.39, 3.62, 4.25, and 4.89) linearly increased with LSO supplementations. Results from this trial suggest that the increase in milk cis-9, trans-11 CLA was proportional to the amounts of LSO fed. In conclusion, adding LSO to grazing dairy cow diets can improve the nutritional value of milk without compromising milk composition or cow performance.

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