Dry matter intake is decreased more by abomasal infusion of unsaturated free fatty acids than by unsaturated triglycerides

N. B. Litherland, S. Thire, A. D. Beaulieu, C. K. Reynolds, J. A. Benson, J. K. Drackley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous experiments from our group have demonstrated that abomasal infusion of unsaturated free fatty acids (FFA) markedly decreases dry matter intake (DMI) in dairy cows. In contrast, experiments from other groups have noted smaller decreases in DMI when unsaturated triglycerides (TG) were infused postruminally. Our hypothesis was that unsaturated FFA would be more potent inhibitors of DMI than an equivalent amount of unsaturated TG. Four Holstein cows in late lactation were used in a single reversal design. Cows were fed a total mixed ration containing (DM basis) 23% alfalfa silage, 23% corn silage, 40.3% ground shelled corn, and 10.5% soybean meal. Two cows received soy FFA (UFA; 0, 200, 400, 600 g/d) and 2 received soy oil (TG) in the same amounts; cows then were switched to the other lipid source. Cows were abomasally infused with each amount for 5-d periods. The daily amount of lipid was pulse-dosed in 4 equal portions at 0600, 1000, 1700, and 2200 h; no emulsifiers were used and there was no sign of digestive disturbance. Both lipid sources linearly decreased DMI, with a significant interaction between lipid source and amount. Slope-ratio analysis indicated that UFA were about 2 times more potent in decreasing DMI than were TG. Decreased DMI led to decreased milk production. Milk fat content was increased linearly by lipid infusion. Milk fat yield decreased markedly for UFA infusion but was relatively unaffected by infusion of TG. Contents of short- and medium-chain fatty acids in milk fat decreased as the amount of either infusate increased. Contents of C18:2 and C 18:3 in milk fat were increased linearly by abomasal infusion of either fat source; cis-9 C18:1 was unaffected. Transfer of infused C18:2 to milk fat was 35.6, 42.5, and 27.8% for 200, 400, and 600 g/d of UFA, and 34.3, 39.6, and 34.0% for respective amounts of TG. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (7-36) amide (GLP-1) concentration in plasma significantly increased as DMI decreased with increasing infusion amount of UFA or TG. Plasma concentration of cholecystokinin-octapeptide (CCK-8) was unaffected by lipid infusion. These results indicate that unsaturated FFA reaching the duodenum are more potent inhibitors of DMI than are unsaturated TG; the effect may be at least partially mediated by GLP-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)632-643
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Dietary fat
  • Dry matter intake
  • Gut hormones
  • Unsaturated fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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