Milk Fat (MF) is one of the most important components of milk quality, influencing the technological, sensorial, and nutritional properties of milk and dairy products (Cozma et al., 2013). MF is composed of triacylglycerols (TAG) (> 95% of total lipids) with a wide range of fatty acids (FA) (about 400) with different chain length, sn-positional distribution and degrees of saturation (Jensen, 2002). TAGs determine the physical and functional properties of MF, therefore it is important to understand their composition and the positioning of the fatty acid (FA) within the glycerol backbone (Tzompa-Sosa et al. 2014). One property of interest in this study is crystallization of MF, where the formation of crystals are directly influenced by TAG composition. Accordingly, being able to correlate the variations in TAG composition with crystallization behavior of MF will contribute to a better understanding for specific MF applications.
Several studies show that FA and TAG composition can be modified through the alteration of cows feed (Lock at al., 2004, Grummer R., 1990, Sutton J., 1988). Together the Animal Nutrition Group, the Breeding and Genetics Group and the Food Quality and Design Group have been working on different feeding trials combined with selective breeding to analyze the impact of cows feed alteration and breeding selection on Milk composition and MF profiles.
The objectives of this project is to analyze the effect of feeding regimes, genetic and seasonal factors on the variations in TAG composition in MF and its effect on MF physical properties.