Replacing stearic acid with oleic acid in supplemental fat blends improves fatty acid digestibility of lactating dairy cows.J Dairy Sci. 2021 Sep; 104(9):9956-9966.JD
The objective of our study was to determine the effects of altering the ratio of stearic (C18:0; SA) and oleic (cis-9 C18:1; OA) acids in supplemental fatty acid (FA) blends on FA digestibility and milk yield of dairy cows. Eight multiparous Holstein cows (mean ± SD; 157 ± 11.8 d in milk) were randomly assigned to treatment sequence in a replicated 4 × 4 Latin square design with 14-d periods. Digestibility and production data were collected during the last 4 d of each period. The treatments were an unsupplemented control diet (CON), and 3 diets incorporating FA supplement blends at 1.4% of diet dry matter (DM) containing (as a % of total FA) 50% SA and 10% OA, 40% SA and 20% OA, or 30% SA and 30% OA. The FA blends were balanced to contain 33% palmitic, 5% linoleic, and <0.5% linolenic acids. The FA supplements replaced soyhulls in the CON diet. Preplanned contrasts were as follows: (1) overall effect of FA treatments [CON vs. the average of the FA-supplemented diets; (50:10 + 40:20 + 30:30)/3], (2) the linear effect of OA inclusion in the supplemental FA blend, and (3) the quadratic effect of OA inclusion in the supplemental FA blend. There was no effect of treatment on DM intake, but the replacement of soyhulls in the FA treatments decreased neutral detergent fiber intake. Overall, compared with CON, FA treatments increased DM and neutral detergent fiber digestibility, and increasing OA within FA treatments quadratically increased digestibility of DM and neutral detergent fiber. Overall, FA treatments increased the intake of total, 16-carbon, and 18-carbon FA, decreased the digestibility of total and 18-carbon FA, but increased absorption of total, 16-carbon, and 18-carbon FA. Within FA treatments, increasing OA linearly increased the digestibility of total, 16-carbon, and 18-carbon FA, as well as the absorption of total, 16-carbon, and 18-carbon FA. Overall, FA treatments increased the yields of milk, energy-corrected milk, and milk fat, and tended to increase milk protein yield. Compared with CON, FA treatments had no effect on the yield of de novo milk FA and increased the yields of mixed and preformed milk FA. Within FA treatments, increasing OA did not affect the yields of milk or milk components, linearly decreased the yield of de novo FA, and quadratically affected the yield of mixed and preformed milk FA. Overall, FA treatments increased plasma nonesterified fatty acids but did not affect β-hydroxybutyrate or insulin. Within FA treatments, increasing OA quadratically affected plasma nonesterified fatty acids, and tended to linearly increase β-hydroxybutyrate and quadratically affect insulin. In conclusion, supplemental FA blends containing different ratios of SA and OA did not affect DM intake but increased the yields of milk and milk components. Supplemental FA blends also increased digestibility of DM and neutral detergent fiber and decreased digestibility of total and 18-carbon FA compared with CON. Although increasing OA within FA supplements did not alter milk production, increasing OA within FA supplements increased total, 16-carbon, and 18-carbon FA digestibility and FA absorption. Further research is required to determine longer term effects of SA and OA on nutrient digestion and partitioning and opportunities for maintaining or improving FA digestibility with increasing SA intake and availability in the small intestine.