Influence of C16:0 and long-chain saturated fatty acids on normal variation of bovine milk fat triacylglycerol structure

D.A. Tzompa Sosa, G.A. van Aken, A.C.M. van Hooijdonk, H.J.F. van Valenberg

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46 Citations (Scopus)


Fatty acids (FA) are nonrandomly distributed within milk fat triacylglycerols (TAG). Moreover, the structure of milk fat TAG differs with feeding regimens. So far, nothing is known about the variation of milk fat TAG structure among individual cows. A deep understanding of the normal variation of TAG structures and the relationships between milk fat FA profile and its TAG structure could help to better control functional and compositional differences between milk fats from various sources and to increase the knowledge on milk fat synthesis. The focus of the present study was to determine the regiospecific TAG structure of individual samples of winter milk fat from Dutch Holstein-Friesian cows with a wide variation of FA profiles and with 2 diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1) genotypes: DGAT1 K232A genotype AA and DGAT1 K232A genotype KK. From an initial set of 1,918 individual milk fat samples, 24 were selected. The selected samples had a wide range of FA composition and had either DGAT1 K232A genotype AA or KK. The structure analysis was done with a regiospecific approach. This analysis is based on the acyl degradation of TAG by a Grignard reagent and further isolation of sn-2 monoacylglycerols by thinlayer chromatography. An intra- and interpositional approach was used to study the structural variation. With the intrapositional approach, the amount of an FA at the secondary (sn-2) and primary (sn-1,3) positions was related to its total amount in the TAG. With the interpositional approach, the proportion of C8:0, C10:0, C14:1 cis-9, C16:1 cis-9, and C18:1 cis-9 at sn-2 was positively correlated with the amount of C16:0 in the triacylglycerol; in contrast, saturated C14:0, C16:0, and long-chain saturated FA (C14:0–C18:0) were negatively correlated. These observations suggest that the amount of long-chain saturated FA in TAG influences the positioning of other FA in the TAG. With an interpositional approach, the DGAT1 polymorphism had a significant effect on the proportional positioning of C16:0 at sn-2. These results provide a new direction to controlling functional and compositional differences between milk fats.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4542-4551
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • regiospecific analysis
  • infant formulas
  • positional distribution
  • stereospecific analysis
  • magnesium bromide
  • palmitic acid
  • triglycerides
  • parameters
  • calcium
  • rats


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