Main content area

Effect of dietary lipids and other nutrients on milk odd- and branched-chain fatty acid composition in dairy ewes

Toral, P.G., Hervás, G., Della Badia, A., Gervais, R., Frutos, P.
Journal of dairy science 2020 v.103 no.12 pp. 11413-11423
acid detergent fiber, bacteria, biomarkers, branched chain fatty acids, crude protein, dairy sheep, databases, dietary fat, dietary fiber, equations, fatty acid composition, food composition, humans, meta-analysis, milk, nutrients, nutritive value, polyunsaturated fatty acids, principal component analysis, regression analysis, rumen, rumen fermentation, sheep, starch
Milk odd- and branched-chain fatty acids (OBCFA) are largely derived from bacteria leaving the rumen, which has encouraged research on their use as biomarkers of rumen function. Targeted research has examined relationships between these fatty acids (FA) and dietary components, but interactions between the effects of lipids and other nutrients on milk OBCFA are not well characterized yet. Furthermore, factors controlling milk OBCFA in sheep are largely unknown. Thus, the present meta-analysis examined relationships between diet composition and milk OBCFA using a database compiled with lot observations from 14 trials in dairy ewes fed lipid supplements. A total of 47 lots received lipid supplements, whereas their respective controls (27 lots) were fed the same basal diets without lipid supplementation. Relationships between milk OBCFA and dietary components were first assessed through a principal component analysis (PCA) and a correlation analysis. Then, responses of milk OBCFA to variations in specific dietary components (selected on the basis of the PCA) were examined in more detail by regression analysis. According to the loading plot, dietary unsaturated C18 FA loaded opposite to major milk OBCFA (e.g., 15:0, 15:0 anteiso, and 17:0) and were strongly correlated with principal component 1, which described 46% of variability. Overall, regression equations supported this negative, and generally linear, relationship between unsaturated C18 FA levels and milk OBCFA. However, the influence of C20–22 n-3 polyunsaturated FA and saturated FA was more limited. The PCA also suggested that dietary crude protein is not a determinant of milk OBCFA profile in dairy ewes, but significant relationships were observed between some OBCFA and dietary fiber or starch, consistent with a potential role of these FA as biomarkers of rumen cellulolytic and amylolytic bacteria. In this regard, regression equations indicated that iso FA would show opposite responses to increasing levels of acid detergent fiber (positive linear coefficients) and starch (negative linear coefficients). Lipid supplementation would not largely affect these associations, supporting the potential of OBCFA as noninvasive markers of rumen function under different feeding conditions (i.e., with or without lipid supplementation). Because consumption of these FA may have nutritional benefits for humans, the use of high-fiber/low-starch rations might be recommended to maintain the highest possible content of milk OBCFA in dairy sheep.