Effects of fatty acid supplements on ruminal and total tract nutrient digestion in lactating dairy cows

K. J. Harvatine, M. S. Allen

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82 Scopus citations


Saturated and unsaturated fatty acid supplements (FS) were evaluated for effects on ruminal digestion kinetics, and ruminal and postruminal nutrient digestion. Eight early lactation ruminally and duodenally cannulated cows (77 ± 12 days in milk, mean ± SD) were used in a replicated 4 × 4 Latin square design experiment with 21-d periods. Treatments were control and a linear substitution of 2.5% fatty acids from supplemented saturated FS (SAT; prilled, hydrogenated free fatty acids) for partially unsaturated FS (UNS; calcium soaps of long-chain fatty acids). All rations contained identical forage and concentrate components including 37.2% forage and 13.5% cottonseed. Saturated FS linearly decreased ruminal digestibility of dry matter and organic matter and linearly decreased ruminal neutral detergent fiber (NDF) digestibility. The reduction in ruminal NDF digestibility was because of a linear decrease in digestion rate and a linear increase in passage rate of potentially digestible NDF with increasing saturated FS. Total tract digestibility of NDF was not different between treatments because of compensatory postruminal digestion. Ruminal fatty acid and C18 fatty acid digestibility tended to increase linearly with increasing unsaturated FS, and postruminal C18 fatty acid digestibility decreased with increasing saturated FS. Saturated FS linearly decreased ruminal organic matter digestibility and decreased intestinal long-chain fatty acid digestibility, although differences in fatty acid digestibility may be partially explained by fatty acid intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1092-1103
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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