Enhancement of dairy sheep cheese eating quality with increased n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids.J Dairy Sci. 2019 Jan; 102(1):211-222.JD
This study investigated the effect of different plant oil-infused and rumen-protected wheat-based pellets containing eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) on n-3 long-chain (≥C20) polyunsaturated fatty acid (LC-PUFA) content, fatty acid recovery, and sensory attributes of ripened cheese from dairy sheep. During a 10-wk supplementary feeding trial, 60 dairy ewes balanced by live weight, milk yield, parity, and sire breed were randomly divided into 6 groups that were (1) supplemented with on-farm existing commercial wheat-based pellets without oil inclusion (control) or supplemented with wheat-based pellets infused with 50 mL/kg dry matter of oils from (2) canola, (3) rice bran, (4) flaxseed, (5) safflower, and (6) rumen-protected EPA + DHA. Milk samples from each treatment were collected separately by sire breed during the experimental period for cheese processing at the end of the experiment. Twelve batches of cheese (2 batches per treatment) were processed and ripened for 120 d. Three cheese samples were collected and analyzed for each cheese making session (total of 36 cheese samples) at d 120 of ripening. Processed cheese of rumen-protected EPA + DHA had the most efficiency at elevating total n-3 LC-PUFA [total EPA + DHA + docosapentaenoic acid (DPA, 22:5n-3] content compared with the control (0.49 vs. 0.28%). Flaxseed elicited the greatest enhancement of α-linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3n-3), whereas safflower was the most effective diet in enhancing the level of linoleic acid (18:2n-6) in cheese (1.29 vs. 0.71% and 4.8 vs. 3.3%, respectively). Parallel recoveries of n-3 and n-6 LC-PUFA were observed across all treatments except for α-linolenic acid and EPA. Cheese eating sensory traits were also highly affected by oil supplementation, with the highest score of 7.5 in cheese from the rice bran and flaxseed treatments. These results provide new insights into the biological mechanisms and processes that determine dairy ewe milk productivity by underpinning the vital biological role of n-3 LC-PUFA in not only enhancing the healthy composition of cheese from ewes but also translating it into consumer acceptability.