Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a collective term for isomers of octadecadienoic acid with conjugated double-bond system. Thus, it was the objective to investigate whether milk composition and metabolic key parameters are affected by adding CLA to the diet of dairy cows in the first four weeks of lactation.
A study was carried out with five primiparous cows fed a CLA supplemented diet compared to five primiparous cows without CLA supplementation. CLA supplemented cows received 7.5 g CLA/day (i.e. 50% cis(c)9,trans(t)11- and 50% t10,c12-CLA) starting two weeks before expected calving and 20 g CLA/day (i.e. 50% c9,t11- and 50% t10,c12-CLA) throughout day 1 to 28 of lactation.
The CLA supplement was insufficiently accepted by the animals: only 61.5% of the intended amount was ingested. Fed CLA were detectable in milk fat, whereas contents of c9,t11-CLA and t10,c12-CLA in milk fat were higher for CLA supplemented cows compared to the control group. On average over the entire treatment period, there was a decrease of saturated fatty acids (FA) in milk fat of CLA supplemented cows, combined with a higher content of monounsaturated and trans FA.Our study revealed no significant effects of c9,t11- and t10,c12-CLA supplementation either on milk yield and composition or on metabolic key parameters in blood. Furthermore the experiment did not indicate significant effects of c9,t11- and t10,c12-CLA-supplementation on gene expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha (PPARalpha), PPARgamma, sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha in liver tissue.
Feeding c9,t11- and t10,c12-CLA during the first weeks after calving did not affect metabolic key parameters of blood serum or milk composition of fresh cows. Milk fatty acid composition was changed by feeding c9,t11- and t10,c12-CLA resulting in higher contents of these isomers in milk fat. High contents of long chain FA in milk fat indicate that CLA supplementation during the first four weeks of lactation did not affect massive peripheral lipomobilization.