Effects of Ewe Feeding System on Fatty Acid Profile of Cheese

  • Daniel MIERLITA University of Oradea
Keywords: cheese fatty acids, α-linolenic acid and CLA, pasture, dietary supplementation


The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of both sheep diet structure (pasture vs. pasture supplemented with food concentrate and hay), and saponified fat supplement (sunflower oil) in the diet, on the fatty acids (FA) profile in the cheese fat (cottage cheese and pressed cheese). 68 Tzurcana sheep were divided into 4 homogeneous groups (17 sheep/group) which were subsequently randomly assigned to 1 of the 4 diets tested: P: grazing with no supplement, PC: grazing and supplementing the diet with 400 g concentrate/day; PCF: PC ratio supplemented with 0.5 kg meadow hay; PCFG: PCF ratio supplemented with 80g/day saponified fat (4% of DM-saponified sunflower oil). Since no significant differences were found regarding milk’s fatty acid profile, between the PC and PCF sheep lots, the milk provided by the two groups was processed and analyzed as control sample. Supplementing grazing sheep diet with concentrate or concentrate plus meadow hay, even if it resulted in increased milk production it had a negative effect on nutritional quality of cheese fat obtained by processing milk. Thus, as compared with the control group where the diet was made up only of pasture, in the case of fat in dairy products there has been a significant increase of saturated fatty acids (SFA) share and a decreased content in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). PUFA concentrations and especially C18:2 cis-9, trans-11 (rumenic acid) and C18:3 n-3 (α-linolenic acid) (ALA) increased significantly in cheese fat when sheep diet -which contained concentrate and hay- was supplemented with saponified fats (sunflower oil). Cheese’s physico-chemical and organoleptic properties were not affected significantly by the diet structure and the fatty acid profile of their fat, respectively.

Author Biography

Daniel MIERLITA, University of Oradea

Animal Science