Effect of diet fermentability and unsaturated fatty acid concentration on recovery from diet-induced milk fat depression

D. E. Rico, A. W. Holloway, K. J. Harvatine

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13 Scopus citations


Diet-induced milk fat depression is caused by highly fermentable and high-unsaturated fatty acid (FA) diets, and results in reduced milk fat concentration and yield, reduced de novo FA, and increased trans isomers of the alternate biohydrogenation pathways. The hypothesis of the current experiment was that a diet higher in fermentability and lower in unsaturated FA (UFA) would accelerate recovery compared with a high-UFA and lower-fermentability diet. Eight ruminally cannulated and 9 noncannulated multiparous Holstein cows were randomly assigned to treatment sequences in a replicated Latin square design. During each period milk fat depression was induced for 10. d by feeding a low-fiber, high-UFA diet [25.9% neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and 3.3% C18:2]. Following the induction phase, cows were switched to recovery treatments for 18. d designed to correct dietary fermentability, UFA, or both fermentability and UFA concentration. Treatments during recovery were (1) correction of fiber and UFA diet [control; 31.8% NDF and 1.65% C18:2], (2) a diet predominantly correcting fiber, but not UFA [high oil (HO); 31.3% NDF and 2.99% C18:2], and (3) a diet predominantly correcting UFA, but not fiber concentration [low fiber (LF); 28.4% NDF and 1.71% C18:2]. Milk and milk component yield, milk FA profile, ruminal pH, and 11 rumen microbial taxa were measured every third day during recovery. Milk yield decreased progressively in HO and control, whereas it was maintained in the LF diet. Milk fat concentration increased progressively during recovery in all treatments, but was on average 9% lower in LF than control from d 12 to 18. Milk fat yield increased progressively in all treatments and was not different between control and LF at any time point, but was lower in HO than control on d 15. Milk trans-10 C18:1 and trans-10,. cis-12 conjugated linoleic acid decreased progressively in all treatments, but was higher in HO than control from d 3 to 18 [136 ± 50 and 188 ± 57% (mean ± SD)], whereas LF caused a smaller increase in these FA compared with control (67 ± 25 and 90 ± 22%). Additionally, milk trans-11 C18:1 and cis-9,. trans-11 conjugated linoleic acid was decreased in control and LF and increased in HO during recovery. Selected microbial species observed changed during recovery, but major treatment differences were only observed for Streptococcus bovis. The LF diet that was similar in UFA but 3.4% units lower in NDF compared with to the control had a similar decrease in alternate trans biohydrogenation intermediates in milk. The HO diet that was similar in NDF but 2.0% units higher in UFA compared with the control had higher alternate trans biohydrogenation intermediates in milk compared with control. However, recovery of milk fat yield was similar between treatments at most time points.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number73918
Pages (from-to)7930-7943
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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