Influence of dietary fish oil on the concentration of conjugated linoleic acid and other healthful fatty acids in milk fat from lactating cows.
Lactating cows were fed menhaden fish oil to elevate concentrations of conjugated linoleic acid, transvaccenic acid, and n-3 fatty acids in milk. Twelve multiparous Holstein cows at 48+/-11 DIM were assigned randomly to a replicated 4 x 4 Latin square. Each treatment period was 35 d in length, with data collected d 15 to 35 of each period. On a dry matter (DM) basis, diets contained 25% corn silage, 25% alfalfa hay, and 50% of the respective concentrate mix. Fish oil was supplemented at 0, 1, 2, and 3% of ration DM. Linear decreases were observed for DM intake (28.8, 28.5, 23.4, and 20.4 kg/d) and milk fat (2.99, 2.79, 2.37, and 2.30%) for 0 to 3% dietary fish oil, respectively. Milk yield (31.7, 34.2, 32.3, and 27.4 kg/d) increased as dietary fish oil increased from 0 to 1% but decreased linearly from 1 to 3% dietary fish oil. Milk protein percentages (3.17, 3.19, 3.21, and 3.17) were similar for all treatments. When the 2% fish oil diet was fed, concentrations of conjugated linoleic acid and transvaccenic acid in milk fat increased to 356% (to 2.2 g/ 100 g of total fatty acids) and 502% (to 6.1 g/100 g), respectively, of amounts when 0% fish oil was fed. There were no additional increases in these fatty acids when cows were fed 3% fish oil. The n-3 fatty acids increased from a trace to over 1 g/100 g of milk fatty acids, when the 3% fish oil diet was fed. Fish oil supplementation to diets of dairy cows increased the conjugated linoleic acid, transvaccenic acid, and n-3 fatty acids in milk.