Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) has drawn significant attention in the last two decades for its various potent beneficial effects on human health, such as anticarcinogenic and antidiabetic properties. CLA could be generally found in ruminant products, such as milk. The amount of CLA in ruminant products mainly depends on the diet of the animals. In general, the fat content in the ruminant diet is low, and dietary fat supplementation can be provided to improve rumen activity and the fatty acid (FA) profile of meat and milk. Especially, dietary 18-carbon polyunsaturated FA (C18 PUFA), the dominant fat source for ruminants, can modify the milk FA profile and other components by regulating the ruminal microbial ecosystem. In particular, it can improve the CLA in milk, intensify the competition for metabolic hydrogen for propionate producing pathways and decrease methane formation in the rumen. Therefore, lipid supplementation appears to be a promising strategy to naturally increase the additional nutritional value of milk and contribute to lower methane emissions. Meanwhile, it is equally important to reveal the effects of dietary fat supplementation on rumen fermentation, biohydrogenation (BH) process, feed digestion, and microorganisms. Moreover, several bacterial species and strains have been considered to be affected by C18 PUFA or being involved in the process of lipolysis, BH, CLA, or methane emissions. However, no review so far has thoroughly summarized the effects of C18 PUFA supplementation on milk CLA concentration and methane emission from dairy cows and meanwhile taken into consideration the processes such as the microorganisms, digestibility, rumen fermentation, and BH of dairy cattle. Therefore, this review aims to provide an overview of existing knowledge of how dietary fat affects rumen microbiota and several metabolic processes, such as fermentation and BH, and therefore contributes to functional and low-carbon milk production.
- dietary fat
- rumen fermentation