Effectiveness of oils rich in linoleic and linolenic acids to enhance conjugated linoleic acid in milk from cows

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

J. Dairy Sci.

Publication Date



Forty Holstein dairy cows were used to determine the effectiveness of linoleic or linolenic-rich oils to enhance C18:2 cis-9, trans-11 conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and C18:1 trans-11 (vaccenic acid; VA) in milk. The experimental design was a complete randomized design for 9 wk with measurements made during the last 6 wk. Cows were fed a basal diet containing 59% forage (control) or a basal diet supplemented with either 4% soybean oil (SO), 4% flaxseed oil (FO), or 2% soybean oil plus 2% flaxseed oil (SFO) on a dry matter basis. Total fatty acids in the diet were 3.27, 7.47, 7.61, and 7.50 g/100 g in control, SO, FO, and SFO diets, respectively. Feed intake, energy-corrected milk (ECM) yield, and ECM produced/kg of feed intake were similar among treatments. The proportions of VA were increased by 318, 105, and 206% in milk fatfrom cows in the SO, FO, and SFO groups compared with cows in the control group. Similar increases in C18:2 cis-9, trans-11 CLA were 273, 150, and 183% in SO, FO, and SFO treatments, respectively. Under similar feeding conditions, oils rich in linoleic acid (soybean oil) were more effective in enhancing VA and C18:2 cis-9, trans-11 CLA in milk fat than oils containing linolenic acid (flaxseed oil) in dairy cows fed high-forage diets (59% forage). The effects of mixing linoleic and linolenic acids (50:50) on enhancing VA and C18:2 cis-9, trans-11 CLA were additive, but not greater than when fed separately. Increasing the proportion of healthy fatty acids (VA and CLA) by feeding soybean or flaxseed oil would result in milk with higher nutritive and therapeutic value.