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Major Advances In Nutrition: Impact On Milk Composition.

Thomas C. Jenkins, Mark A. McGuire
Published 2006 · Biology, Medicine
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A number of major scientific advances have been realized in the last 25 yr in determining the opportunities and limitations of altering milk composition through nutritional manipulation. Because of the greater sensitivity of milk fat to dietary manipulation than either protein or lactose, nutritional control of milk fat content and fatty acid composition received a great deal of attention. New information emerged linking ruminal production of trans fatty acid isomers with milk fat depression. As a result, research on fatty acid biohydrogenation intensified yielding new insight on the origin of specific trans fatty acid isomers originating from ruminal biohydrogenation and how these isomers were modified by the action of mammary enzymes. The discovery of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) as a potent anticarcinogen also led to extensive work on enhancing its concentration in milk through nutritional manipulation and discovering the physiological effects of specific CLA isomers. New protected fats were developed in recent years that were designed to resist biohydrogenation and enhance the concentration of unsaturated fatty acids in milk. The nutritional factors receiving the most attention during the last 25 yr for their influence on milk protein content were forage-to-concentrate ratio, the amount and source of dietary protein, and the amount and source of dietary fat. New insights were tested on modes of action whereby fat supplements caused a decline in protein concentration. Changes in milk lactose concentration occur only in extreme and unusual feeding situations, but the basic biology of lactose synthesis and regulation are still being explored using modern molecular techniques. This paper highlights the major advances in controlling milk composition by dietary manipulation and how it influences the entire animal system from practical feeding studies to basic cellular work on mammary tissue metabolism.
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