Factors affecting conjugated linoleic acid content of milk and meat

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Critical Rev. Food Sci. Nutr.



Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) has been recently studied mainly because of its potential in protecting against cancer, atherogenesis, and diabetes. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a collective term for a series of conjugated dienoic positional and geometrical isomers of linoleic acid, which are found in relative abundance in milk and tissue fat of ruminants compared with other foods. The cis-9, trans-11 isomer is the principle dietary form of CLA found in ruminant products and is produced by partial ruminal biohydrogenation of linoleic acid or by endogenous synthesis in the tissues themselves. The CLA content in milk and meat is affected by several factors, such as animal's breed, age, diet, and management factors related to feed supplements affecting the diet. Conjugated linoleic acid in milk or meat has been shown to be a stable compound under normal cooking and storage conditions. Total CLA content in milk or dairy products ranges from 0.34 to 1.07% of total fat. Total CLA content in raw or processed beef ranges from 0.12 to 0.68% of total fat. It is currently estimated that the average adult consumes only one third to one half of the amount of CLA that has been shown to reduce cancer in animal studies. For this reason, increasing the CLA contents of milk and meat has the potential to raise the nutritive and therapeutic values of dairy products and meat.