The present study demonstrated that the zinc concentration in bovine milk and blood plasma is significantly affected by the intake of saturated fat supplements. Sixteen Holstein cows were used in a 4 x 4 Latin square design with 4 periods of 12 d, and 4 dietary treatments were conducted. A total mixed ration based on corn silage, grass-clover silages, and pelleted sugar beet pulp was used on all treatments. A high de novo milk fat diet was formulated by adding rapeseed meal and molasses in the total mixed ration [39 mg of Zn/kg of dry matter (DM)], and a low de novo diet by adding saturated fat, fat-rich rapeseed cake, and corn (34 mg of Zn/kg of DM). Dietary Zn levels were increased by addition of ZnO to 83 and 80 mg of Zn/kg of DM. Treatments did not affect daily DM intake, or yield of energy-corrected milk, milk fat, or milk protein. The high de novo diet significantly increased milk fat percentage and milk content of fatty acids with chain length from C6 to C16, and decreased content of C18 and C18:1. Treatments did not influence milk free fatty acids at 4 degrees C at 0 or 28 h after milking. The average diameter of milk fat globules was significantly greater in milk from cows offered low de novo diets. Furthermore, the low de novo diet significantly increased the concentration of nonesterified fatty acids and d-beta-hydroxybutyrate in blood plasma, the latter was also increased in milk. Treatments did not affect the enzyme activity of lactate dehydrogenase and N-acetyl-beta-d-glucosaminidase in milk or the activity of isocitrate dehydrogenase and malate dehydrogenase in blood plasma. The low de novo diet significantly increased plasma Zn and milk Zn content, whereas dietary Zn level did not in itself influence these parameters. This indicates that the transfer of fat from diet to milk might facilitate transfer of Zn from diet to milk.