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The effects of dairy management and processing on quality characteristics of milk and dairy products

Lookup NU author(s): Gillian Butler, Dr Sokratis Stergiadis, Professor Carlo Leifert


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Studies within the QLIF project reviewed in this article suggest that organic or low-input management is more likely to result in milk with fatty acid profiles that are higher in a-linolenic acid and/or beneficial isomers of conjugated linoleic acid and antioxidants with up to a 2.5-fold increase in some cases, relative to milk from conventional production. These advantages are preserved during processing, resulting in elevated contents or concentrations of these constituents in processed dairy products of organic or low input origin. Much of the literature suggests that these benefits are very likely to be a result of a greater reliance on forages in the dairy diets (especially grazed grass). Since the adoption of alternative breeds or crosses is often an integral part sustaining these low-input systems, it is not possible to rule out an interaction with genotype in these monitored herds. The results suggest that milk fat composition with respect to human health can be optimized by exploiting grazing in the diet of dairy cows. However, in many European regions this may not be possible due to extremes in temperature, soil moisture levels or both. In such cases milk quality can be maintained by the inclusion of oil seeds in the dairy diets. (C) 2011 Royal Netherlands Society for Agricultural Sciences. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Butler G, Nielsen JH, Larsen MK, Rehberger B, Stergiadis S, Canever A, Leifert C

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences

Year: 2011

Volume: 58

Issue: 3-4

Pages: 97-102

Print publication date: 21/06/2011

ISSN (print): 1573-5214

ISSN (electronic): 2212-1307



DOI: 10.1016/j.njas.2011.04.002