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The effect of dietary supplementation with Aurantiochytrium limacinum on lactating dairy cows in terms of animal health, productivity and milk composition.

  • Moran, C A1
  • Morlacchini, M2
  • Keegan, J D3
  • Fusconi, G2
  • 1 Regulatory Affairs Department, Alltech SARL, Vire, France. , (France)
  • 2 CERZOO S.r.l, Piacenza, Italy. , (Italy)
  • 3 Regulatory Affairs Department, Alltech European Bioscience Centre, Co., Meath, Ireland. , (Ireland)
Published Article
Journal of animal physiology and animal nutrition
Publication Date
Oct 10, 2017
DOI: 10.1111/jpn.12827
PMID: 29024131


The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of dietary supplementation with the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-rich microalgae, Aurantiochytrium limacinum (AURA), on a variety of health and productivity parameters in lactating cows. Twenty-four cows were blocked by parity and number of days in milk and then randomly assigned to a control (CON; n = 12) group with no algal supplementation, or a treatment group (AURA; n = 12) provided with 100 g AURA cow-1 day-1 or 16 g DHA cow-1 day-1 . A variety of health and productivity measurements were taken, and results indicated that supplementation had no negative effects on animal health in terms of somatic cell count, haematological and biochemical blood parameters, while body condition was marginally improved by algal supplementation. No differences were found for the various production parameters measured; however, a tendency towards increased milk production was observed for the AURA group during the final stage of the study (+4.5 kg cow-1 day-1 , day 78-84). The fatty acid profile of milk was improved by supplementation, with significantly lower saturated fatty acids, significantly higher omega-3 fatty acids and an improved omega-3/omega-6 ratio observed when compared to the control group. The amount of DHA in the milk of cows provided 105 g AURA head-1 day-1 was 4.7 mg/100 g milk with a peak transfer efficiency from feed to milk at day 49 of 8.3%. These results indicate that supplementation with 105 g AURA head-1 day-1 resulted in the successful enrichment of milk with DHA without negatively impacting the health or productivity of the animals.

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