Journal Details
First Published
25 Nov 2011
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
access type Open Access

The effect of ruminal fluid pH on milk fatty acids composition in cattle

Published Online: 17 Sep 2021
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Journal Details
First Published
25 Nov 2011
Publication timeframe
4 times per year

The present study aimed to evaluate the effects of ruminal fluid pH on the fatty acids (FA) profile of bovine milk. The experiment was performed on 250 Polish Holstein-Friesian cows reared in 11 commercial high-yielding dairy farms. Ruminal fluid samples were collected by rumenocentesis, and fat and FA concentrations in milk were analyzed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. According to ruminal fluid pH, cows were categorized into three pH groups: high pH (pH > 5.8), moderate pH (pH 5.8–5.6), and low pH (pH < 5.6). Milk produced by low-rumen pH cows had a decreased fat content as compared to milk from moderate- and high-rumen pH cows (P ≤ 0.05). Moreover, milk from low-rumen pH cows was characterized by the lowest level of short-chain FA (SCFA; P ≤ 0.05), and consequently, the highest medium-chain FA to SCFA ratio (P ≤ 0.01). The regression analysis showed that these traits explained a small proportion of rumen pH variance, which makes them unreliable indicators of subacute ruminal acidosis (SARA) in dairy cows. However, despite the extensive variability in milk fat composition observed in this study, the effect of ruminal pH on SCFA in all the analyzed herds showed the same trend. Future research aimed to identify SARA biomarkers should therefore be conducted using techniques that allow detection of more individual FA in milk, including SCFA.


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