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Challenges in enriching milk fat with polyunsaturated fatty acids
Milk fatty acid composition is determined by several factors including diet. The milk fatty acid profile of dairy cows is low in polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially those of the n-3 series. Efforts to change and influence fatty acid profile with longer chain polyunsaturated fatty acids have proven challenging. Several barriers prevent easy transfer of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids to milk fat including rumen biohydrogenation and fatty acid esterification. The potential for cellular uptake and differences in fatty acid incorporation into milk fat might also have an effect, though this has received less research effort. Given physiological impediments to enriching milk fat with polyunsaturated fatty acids, manipulating the genome of the cow might provide a greater increase than diet alone, but this too may be challenged by the physiology of the cow.