High-concentrate diets and polyunsaturated oils alter trans and conjugated isomers in bovine rumen, blood, and milk

J. J. Loor, A. Ferlay, A. Ollier, K. Ueda, M. Doreau, Y. Chilliard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three Holstein cows were fed a high-concentrate diet (65:35 concentrate to forage) supplemented with either 5% sunflower oil (SO), 5% linseed oil (LO), or 2.5% fish oil (FO) to examine effects on biohydrogenation and fatty acid profiles in rumen, blood plasma, and milk. Diets were fed in a 3 x 3 Latin square with 4-wk periods with grass hay as the forage. Milk yield, dry matter intake, and percentages of milk fat (2.64) and protein (3.22) did not differ. All diets resulted in incomplete hydrogenation of unsaturated fatty acids as indicated by the profiles of 18:1 isomers, conjugated 18:2 isomers, nonconjugated 18:2 isomers, and 18:0 in ruminal fluid. Percentages of 8:0-14:0 and 16:0 in milk fat were greater with FO. Percentage and yield of trans10,cis12-18:2 were small and greater in cows fed SO (0.14%, 0.57 g/d) than FO (0.03%, 0.15 g/d) or LO (0.04%, 0.12 g/d). Percentage and yield of trans10-18:1, however, increased with FO (6.16%) and SO (6.47%) compared with LO (1.65%). Dietary FO doubled percentage of cis11-18:1 in rumen, plasma, and milk fat. Despite a lack of difference in ruminal percentage of trans11-18:1 (10.5%), cows fed FO had greater plasma trans11-18:1 (116 vs. 61.5 μg/mL) but this response did not result in greater trans11-18:1 percentage in milk fat, which averaged 5.41% across diets. Percentage (2.2%) and yield (14.3 g/d) of cis9,trans11-18:2 in milk fat did not differ due to oils. Unique responses to feeding LO included greater than 2-fold increases in percentages of trans13+14-18:1, trans15-18:1, trans16-18:1, cis15-18:1, cis9,trans12-18:2 and trans11,cis15-18:2 in umen, plasma, and milk, and cis9,trans13-18:2 in plasma and milk. Ruminal 18:0 percentage had the highest positive correlation with milk fat content (r = 0.82) across all diets. When compared with previous data with cows fed high-concentrate diets without oil supplementation, results suggest that greater production of trans10-18:1, cis11-18:1, and trans11,cis15-18:2 coupled with low production of 18:0 in the rumen may be associated with low milk fat content when feeding high-concentrate diets and fish oil. In contrast, SO or LO could lead to low milk fat content by increasing ruminal trans10-18:1 (SO) or trans11,cis15-18:2 and trans9,trans12-18:2 (LO) along with a reduction in mammary synthesis of 8:0-16:0. Simultaneous increases in ruminal trans11-18:1 with fish oil, at a fraction of sunflower oil supplementation, may represent an effective strategy to maintain cis9,trans11-18:2 synthesis in mammary while reducing milk fat output and sparing energy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3986-3999
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • High-concentrate diet
  • Milk conjugated linoleic acid
  • Polyunsaturated oil
  • trans fatty acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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