Affordable Access

Effect of dietary starch or micro algae supplementation on rumen fermentation and milk fatty acid composition of dairy cows

  • Boeckaert, C.
  • Vlaeminck, B.
  • Dijkstra, J.
  • Issa-Zacharia, A.
  • Fievez, V.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2008
Wageningen University and Researchcenter Publications
External links


Two experiments with rumen-fistulated dairy cows were conducted to evaluate the effects of feeding docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; C22:6 n-3)-enriched diets or diets provoking a decreased rumen pH on milk fatty acid composition. In the first experiment, dietary treatments were tested during 21-d experimental periods in a 4 x 4 Latin square design. Diets included a control diet, a starch-rich diet, a bicarbonate-buffered starch-rich diet, and a diet supplemented with DHA-enriched micro algae [Schizochytrium sp., 43.0 g/kg of dry matter intake (DMI)]. Algae were supplemented directly through the rumen fistula. The total mixed ration consisted of grass silage, corn silage, soybean meal, and a standard or glucogenic concentrate. The glucogenic and buffered glucogenic diet had no effect on rumen fermentation and milk fatty acid composition because, unexpectedly, no reduced rumen pH was detected. The algae diet had no effect on rumen pH but provoked decreased butyrate and increased isovalerate molar proportions in the rumen. In addition, algae supplementation affected rumen biohydrogenation of linoleic and linolenic acid as reflected in the modified milk fatty acid composition toward increased conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) cis-9 trans-11, CLA trans-9 cis-11, C18:1 trans-10, C18:1 trans-11, and C22:6 n-3 concentrations. Concomitantly, on average, a 45% decrease in DMI and milk yield was observed. Based on these drastic and impractical results, a second animal experiment was performed for 20 d in which 9.35 g/kg of total DMI of algae were incorporated in the concentrate and supplemented to 3 rumen-fistulated cows. Algae concentrate feeding increased rumen pH, which was associated with decreased rumen short-chain fatty acid concentrations. Moreover, a different shift in rumen short-chain fatty acid proportions was observed compared with the first experiment because molar proportions of butyrate, isobutyrate, and isovalerate increased, whereas acetate molar proportion decreased. The milk fatty acid profile changed as in experiment 1. However, the decrease in DMI and milk yield was less pronounced (on average 10%) at this algae supplementation level, whereas milk fat percentage decreased from 47.9 to 22.0 g/kg of milk after algae treatment. In conclusion, an algae supplementation level of about 10 g/kg of DMI proved effective to reduce the milk fat content and to modify the milk fatty acid composition toward increased CLA cis-9 trans-11, C18:1 trans, and DHA concentrations.

Report this publication


Seen <100 times