Enhancing Milk Fat with Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids for Improved Nutritional and Market Value
Milk fat contains saturated fatty acids, which some have deemed unhealthy for the human consumer. Reducing the amount of saturated fatty acids by using the cow's normal biology to insert double bonds or by feeding polyunsaturated fatty acids protected from rumen biohydrogenation could lead to healthier dairy products. An enzyme, stearoyl CoA desaturase (SCD), mostly active the mammary gland inserts a double bond into saturated fatty acids to produce unsaturated fatty acids. Understanding the regulation of SCD throughout the cow's body may find ways to enhance SCD activity, producing more unsaturated fatty acids. This understanding plus the opportunity to feed unsaturated fatty acids that do not get altered by rumen bacteria could lead to new marketing opportunities for the dairy industry.