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Arquivo Brasileiro de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

Print version ISSN 0102-0935


RIBEIRO, C.G.S. et al. Productive performance and fatty acid composition of milk from dairy cows fed increasing levels of sunflower oil in elephant-grass based diets. Arq. Bras. Med. Vet. Zootec. [online]. 2014, vol.66, n.5, pp.1513-1521. ISSN 0102-0935.

This study aimed to evaluate the effects of different levels of sunflower oil (SO) (0, 1.3, 2.5 and 3.7% of diet DM) on nutrient intake, milk production, milk composition, and fatty acid (FA) composition of milk and plasma from dairy cows fed elephant-grass based diets. Twelve Holstein cows were divided into three groups and received the dietary treatments in a 4 x 4 Latin-square design. Oleic, linoleic and α-linolenic acid intakes increased linearly (P<0.001) by adding SO to the diets. The reduction (P<0.0001) in odd and branched chain FA in milk fat from cows fed SO suggests that rumen microbial growth has been inhibited to some extent. Feeding up to 3.7% of SO in chopped elephantgrass-based diets improved the nutritional quality of milk fat, which was associated with the following changes in milk fatty acid composition: reduction (P<0.0001) of short and medium chain saturated FA contents, increase in oleic acid and rumenic acid contents (P<0.0001), and increase (P<0.0001) in hypo:hypercholesterolemic FA ratio. Overall, these results indicate that including up to 3.7% SO in elephant-grass based-diets improves the nutritional quality of milk fat from dairy cows without causing any detrimental effects on production paramaters.

Keywords : conjugated linoleic acid; feed management; intake; Pennisetum purpureum; TMR.

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