Milk production and milk composition of dairy cows fed Lac100® or whole flaxseed
ABSTRACT 2005. Milk production and milk composition of dairy cows fed Lac100 ® or whole flaxseed. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 85: 413–416. Cows were fed whole flaxseed or calcium salts of soybean oil as a fat source. Cows fed flaxseed had lower (P < 0.01) milk yield and higher (P < 0.01) percentages of fat and protein than cows fed calcium salts. Feeding whole flaxseed and calcium salts of soy-bean oil increased, respectively, the concentrations of alpha-linolenic acid and conjugated linoleic acid in milk.
Milk production and milk composition of dairy cows fed
Lac100®or whole flaxseed
F. B. Cavalieri1, G.T. Santos2, 6, 7, M. Matsushita3, H.V. Petit4, L. P. Rigolon1,2, D. Silva2,
J. A. Horst5, L. C. Capovilla1, and F. S. Ramos1
1Departamento de Medicina Veterinária do Centro Universitário de Maringá (CESUMAR), Maringá, Pr, Brazil;
2Departamento de Zootecnia, Universidade Estadual de Maringá (UEM), Maringá, Pr, Brazil; 3Departamento de
Química, Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Maringá, Pr, Brazil; 4Dairy and Swine Research and Development
Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lennoxville, Quebec, Canada J1M 1Z3; 5Associação Paranaense
dos Criadores de Bovinos da Raça Holandesa, Curitiba, Pr, Brazil. Contribution number 860 from the Dairy and
Swine Research and Development Centre. Received 23 December 2004, accepted 11 May 2005.
Cavalieri, F. B., Santos, G. T., Matsushita, M., Petit, H. V., Rigolon, L. P., Silva, D., Horst, J. A., Capovilla, L. C. and Ramos, F.
S. 2005. Milk production and milk composition of dairy cows fed Lac100®or whole flaxseed. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 85: 413–416.
Cows were fed whole flaxseed or calcium salts of soybean oil as a fat source. Cows fed flaxseed had lower (P < 0.01) milk yield
and higher (P < 0.01) percentages of fat and protein than cows fed calcium salts. Feeding whole flaxseed and calcium salts of soy-
bean oil increased, respectively, the concentrations of alpha-linolenic acid and conjugated linoleic acid in milk.
Key words: Flaxseed, fatty acids, fat supplement
Cavalieri, F. B., Santos, G. T., Matsushita, M., Petit, H. V., Rigolon, L. P., Silva, D., Horst, J. A., Capovilla, L. C. et Ramos, F.
S. 2005. Production laitière et composition du lait des vaches recevant du Lac100®ou de la graine de lin entière. Can. J.
Anim. Sci. 85: 413–416. Des vaches ont reçu de la graine de lin entière ou des sels de calcium d’huile de soya comme source de
gras. Les vaches ayant reçu de la graine de lin ont eu une production de lait plus faible (P < 0.01) et des concentrations plus élevées
(P < 0.01) en gras et en protéine que les vaches ayant reçu les sels de calcium. L’apport de graine de lin entière et de sels de calcium
ont augmenté, respectivement, les concentrations en acides gras alpha-linolénique et linoléique conjugué du lait.
Mots clés: Graine de lin, acides gras, supplément de gras
Protection against biohydrogenation of polyunsaturated
fatty acids by rumen microbes helps to overcome the nega-
tive effects of feeding fat on rumen fermentation. For exam-
ple, rumen-protected soybean oil as butylsoyamide (Jenkins
et al. 1996), which is a mixture of butylamine and soybean
oil, or as a mixture of soy lecithin and soap (Abel-Caines et
al. 1998), which are two co-products of soybean oil pro-
cessing, and whole flaxseed (Petit 2002), has had no effect
on feed intake. Although feeding calcium salts of unsaturat-
ed fatty acids has had no effect on dry matter intake, they
increased conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) concentration in
milk (Chouinard et al. 1998), probably as a result of lower
protection against ruminal biohydrogenation for calcium
salts of unsaturated than saturated fatty acids (Wu and
Palmquist 1991). Lac100®, which is a commercial calcium
salt of soybean oil, could then be an interesting fat source to
increase milk concentration of CLA without decreasing
feed intake. The objectives of this experiment were to com-
pare the effects of feeding rich sources of either alpha-
linolenic acid (whole flaxseed) or linoleic acid (Lac100®)
on milk production and composition and milk fatty acid
profile. Flaxseed was used for the comparison as it has been
shown to be a good source of fat for early lactating dairy
cows (Petit 2002).
Ten multiparous Holstein cows averaging 510 kg of BW
(SE = 16 kg) and 80 d in lactation were fed the two diets in
a crossover design with two 45-d periods. The two total
mixed diets (Table 1) consisted of fat supplements based on
either whole flaxseed (FLA) or Lac100®(LAC), which is a
calcium salt of soybean oil (> 82% ether extract, Yakult,
Bragança Paulista, São Paulo, Brazil). Fatty acid composi-
tion of Lac100®was 10.9% palmitic acid, 3.7% stearic acid,
24.7% oleic acid, 55.5% linoleic acid, and 5.2% linolenic
acid. The experiment was conducted at the Iguatemi
Experimental Farm, Maringa State University, Brazil.
Cows were housed in tie stalls, fed individually, and milked
6Bolsista do CNPq – Brazil.
7To whom correspondence should be addressed (e-mail:
Abbreviations: CLA, conjugated linoleic acid; FLA,
whole flaxseed; LAC, Lac100®
414 CANADIAN JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCE
twice daily at 0645 and 1545. Milk production was record-
ed at every milking and data that were collected on the last
10 d were used to determine the effect of diets on milk
yield. Cows were managed according to the guidelines of
the Canadian Council on Animal Care (1993).
Milk samples were obtained weekly from each cow for
two consecutive milkings and were analyzed separately to
determine milk composition. Milk samples were also col-
lected weekly to determine milk fatty acid composition.
Body weight of cows was determined every 2 wk. Feed
consumption was recorded daily. Diets were fed twice daily
at 0600 and 1400 for 10% orts. Samples of each diet were
taken weekly, frozen, and pooled on a 45-d basis. Chemical
composition of diets and milk was determined using the
methods previously quoted by Petit (2002). All results were
analyzed using the MIXED procedure of SAS Institute, Inc.
(2000) software with the following general model:
Yijk= µ + ai+ .βj+ πk+ .eijk,
where Yijk= the dependent variable, µ = overall mean, ai=
random effect of cow (i = 1 to 5), .βj= fixed effect of peri-
od (j = 1,2), πk= fixed effect of treatment (k = FLA, LAC),
and .eijk= random residual error. Periods were considered
long enough (45 d each) not to produce any carryover
effects regarding the effects of diets on milk production,
milk composition, and milk fatty acid profile. Probability
values greater than 0.05 were considered nonsignificant.
Intake of dry matter (Table 2), expressed in kilogram per
day, was significantly greater for cows fed FLA than for
those fed LAC although it was similar between treatments
when expressed as a percentage of body weight. Untreated
whole flaxseed is readily accepted by dairy cows and has no
negative effect on dry matter intake when fed at 10% (Petit
2002). Similarly, feeding butylsoyamide, a form of rumen-
protected soybean oil, did not affect intake of dry matter
over a 14-d period when the diet contained 6.4% ether
extract (Jenkins et al. 1996) and adding 2.25% of protected
soybean oil in the form of a mixture of soy lecithin and soap
compared to a control diet with no fat supplement resulted
in similar feed intake (Abel-Caines et al. 1998). Milk yield
of cows fed FLA was significantly lower than that of cows
fed LAC (Table 2) and values were similar to those for pro-
duction in Brazil (Santos et al. 2001). In general, digestibil-
ity of diets containing flaxseed is lower than that of diets
containing either micronized soybeans or calcium salts of
palm oil (Petit 2002), which would result in lower milk yield
for similar feed intake as observed in the present experi-
ment. Supplementation with calcium salts of long-chain
fatty acids has been reported to augment fat digestibility in
several experiments as the inclusion of highly digestible fats
in the diets dilutes the contributions of poorly digested lipids
other than fatty acids (Garcia-Bojalil et al. 1998).
Supplementing a control diet with rumen protected soybean
oil in the form of a mixture of soy lecithin and soap (Abel-
Caines et al. 1998) or as butylsoyamide (Jenkins et al. 1996)
has had no effect on milk yield.
Percentages of fat, protein, and total solids in milk were
significantly higher for cows fed FLA than for those fed
LAC (Table 2). Yield of 4% fat corrected milk was similar
for both treatments. Feeding fat through seeds maintains or
increases milk fat content (Dhiman et al. 2000), while feed-
ing free oil in the form of fish oil decreases milk fat per-
centage (Cant et al. 1997) likely as a result of the generation
of high levels of trans-fatty acids in the rumen (Baumgard
et al. 2000). This would suggest that oil from flaxseed was
released more gradually over time or in lower amount in the
rumen than that from the Lac100®supplement as fat per-
centage was greater for cows fed FLA than for those fed
LAC. In fact, in vitro biohydrogenation of calcium salts of
unsaturated fatty acids from diets containing a blend of ani-
mal and vegetable fat (Wu and Palmquist 1991) was as high
as 71%, which would corroborate this hypothesis. Feeding
whole flaxseed as compared with calcium salts of palm oil
has previously been reported to increase milk protein per-
centage (Petit 2002) and Mohamed et al. (1988) observed a
milk protein-depressing response to soybean oil products
such as soy oil, whole soybeans, and roasted whole soy-
beans, in agreement with the present findings.
Milk fatty acids concentrations (Table 2) of C6:0, C8:0,
C10:0, C11:0, C12:0, C13:0, C14:1 cis-7, C18:0, C18:1 cis-7, and
C18:3 cis-9, cis-12, cis-15were higher for cows fed FLA than for
those fed LAC while the inverse was observed for concen-
trations of C16:0, C16:1 cis-9, C18:1 trans-11, C18:2 cis-9, cis-12and
C18:2 cis-9, trans-11. Milk composition of cows fed FLA was
similar to that reported by Petit (2002). Feeding LAC
Table 1. Ingredient and chemical composition of the dietsz
Ingredient (% of DM)
Soybean meal (49% CP)
Mineral and vitamin premixx
CP (% of DM)
Ether extract (% of DM)
NDF (% of DM)
ADF (% of DM)
NEl (MJ kg–1of DM)w
Fatty acids (% of total fatty acids)
zFLA = supplement with whole flaxseed; LAC = supplement with
yYakult, Milk Specialities, Araçatuba, São Paulo, Brazil.
xPremix contained (as fed basis): 200 000 IU of vitamin A kg–1, 60 000 IU
of vitamin D3 kg–1, 600 IU of vitamin E kg–1, 30 g kg–1of Ca, 120 g kg–1
of P, 24 g kg–1of Mg, 20 g kg–1of S, 900 mg kg–1of F, 700 mg kg–1of
Cu, 2700 mg kg–1of Zn, 1250 mg kg–1of Mn, 2000 mg kg–1of Fe, 80 mg
kg–1of I, 100 mg kg–1of Co, and 20 mg kg–1of Se.
wCalculated using published values of feed ingredients (National Research
CAVALIERI ET AL. — FAT SUPPLEMENTS FOR DAIRY COWS415
increased concentrations of C18:2and CLA compared with
feeding FLA. A greater dietary supply of C18:2is known to
increase milk CLA concentration through ruminal biohy-
drogenation (Dhiman et al. 1995) with a parallel decrease in
milk fat (Dhiman et al. 2000). It is also possible that the
slow release of oil from flaxseed in the rumen reduced the
amount of trans-fatty acids leaving the rumen. Trans-10
C18:1and trans-10, cis-12 isomer of CLA have been linked
to the inhibition of de novo synthesis of short- and medium-
chain fatty acids in the mammary gland (Bauman and
Griinari 2001). The concentration of C18:1may also increase
dramatically if the amount of unsaturated fatty acids fed is
excessive due to inhibition of the conversion of trans-C18:1
to C18:0by rumen bacteria (Jenkins et al. 1996). This would
increase concentrations of trans-C18:1and decrease those of
C18:0as observed in the present experiment for cows fed
LAC as compared with those fed FLA. On the other hand,
according to Lock and Garnsworthy (2002) the C18:3fatty
acids can be biohydrogenated in the rumen although they do
not increase CLA secretion in milk as is the case with C18:2
fatty acids. The C18:3fatty acids might restrict the formation
of the C18:1 trans-11, which is converted to CLA in the mam-
mary gland (Griinari and Bauman 1999). Feeding whole
flaxseed and Lac100®increased, respectively, the concen-
trations of alpha-linolenic acid and CLA in milk, which are
both important components for human health. Therefore,
both sources of fat would be acceptable fat supplements for
lactating dairy cows depending on which fatty acid one
wishes to increase in milk.
The authors gratefully acknowledge Mr. D. R. Veiga from the
Laboratory of PARLPR of APCBRH and Mr. C. Volpato from the
Laboratory of Nutrition and Animal Science, Curitiba, PR, Brazil
for assistance in laboratory analysis and Mr. E. S. Sakaguti for his
help in performing the statistical analysis. This study was funded
by the Universidada Estadual de Maringá, the Conselho Nacional
de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) and the
Centro Universitário de Maringá (CESUMAR).
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Dry matter intake (% of BW)
Milk yield (kg d–1)
Milk composition (%)
4% FCM (kg d–1)
Production (kg d–1)
Fatty acid (% of total fatty acids)
C18:2 cis-9, cis-12
C18:2 cis-9, trans-11
C18:3 cis-6, cis-9, cis-12
C18:3 cis-9, cis-12, cis-15
C20:2 cis-11, cis-14
zLeast squares means with pooled SE.
ySomatic cell score = log10SCC.
a, b Means within a row with a different letter differ (P < 0.05).
416 CANADIAN JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCE
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