August 27, 2008

Distillers Grains Increase Healthful Fatty Acids In Milk

A research project underway at South Dakota State University has the potential to make milk healthier by feeding the cows distillers grains left over from ethanol production.

Researcher Rosemary Nyoka of Zimbabwe is finding that supplementing the diets of grazing dairy cows with dried distillers grains or fishmeal could increase the level of healthful fatty acids in milk and milk products such as cheese.

“With this potential to improve the healthful fatty acids, we are finding additional uses for distillers grains,” Nyoka said. “We are also trying to improve profitability for dairy farmers. We are hoping they will be able to sell these products at a premium.”

Nyoka is working on her Ph.D. in dairy science and is also a government dairy officer in Zimbabwe. The research is aimed at applications to benefit farmers in her country but have the potential to make milk healthy for all of us.

Nyoka is monitoring healthful fatty acids called conjugated linoleic acids, or CLAs.

“These CLAs are known now to have anti-carcinogenic properties, as well as anti-arthritis and anti-obesity properties. They’ve also been known to improve bone formation,” Nyoka said. “In general, in an average American diet we are eating maybe 1 gram per day of these fatty acids, while the effective levels known so far are like 3.5 grams of the fatty acids. So we see that in general, people are not getting enough.”

CLAs are found mainly in products from ruminant animals such as milk and meat. Milk typically contains between 0.3 grams and 0.6 grams of CLAs per 100 grams of fat, Nyoka said. But on her trial diets, Nyoka’s SDSU cows produced milk with total CLAs ranging from 2.5 to 5 grams.

Source : South Dakota State University

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