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Br J Nutr. 1997 Jul;78 Suppl 1:S15-35.

Digestion and metabolism of dietary fat in farm animals.

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Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Laboratoire Sous-Nutrition des Ruminants, Theix, Saint Genès Champanelle, France.


Fat digestion and metabolism differ widely between animal species. In ruminants, dietary fats are hydrogenated in the rumen before intestinal absorption so that absorbed fatty acids (FA) are more saturated than dietary FA. In non-ruminants, intestinal FA digestibility depends on the level of saturation of dietary FA. Fat supplementation of the diet of cows decreases milk protein and has a variable effect on milk fat, depending on the source of dietary lipids. When encapsulated lipids are used, the linoleic acid content of milk is increased, but the organoleptic quality of milk may be altered. Supplementary lipids are incorporated into non-ruminant body fat, whereas de novo lipogenesis is reduced. There is a close relationship between the nature of dietary FA and nonruminant body FA.

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