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Research article2012Peer reviewedOpen access

Association of DGAT1 genotype, fatty acid composition, and concentration of copper in milk with spontaneous oxidized flavor

Pickova, Jana; Juhlin, Jessica; Fikse, Freddy; Lundén, Anne


In 136 cows with altogether 969 milk samples, we investigated the effect of the acyl-coenzyme A:diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1) K232A polymorphism on milk fatty acid (FA) composition and how, in combination with copper concentration in milk, this influences the occurrence of spontaneous oxidized flavor. All milk samples were analyzed for concentrations of copper and individual FA and subjected to sensory analysis by trained judges. We found an effect of DGAT1 genotype on FA composition where mainly the long-chain FA were affected. The 232A allele was associated with larger proportions of the C18:2 cis-9,trans-11 conjugated linoleic acid and lower proportions of C16:0 FA. Milk concentrations of unsaturated FA and copper showed strong and unfavorable associations with spontaneous oxidized flavor (SOF) development. The interaction between FA and copper indicates that SOF will not develop as easily in milk with high copper content unless the substrate is available (i.e., in addition to the previously shown effect of copper in milk, unsaturated FA are required for the process of oxidation to progress). We observed a marked effect of the DGAT1 genotype on SOF development where the A allele was associated with a higher risk of SOP. Moreover, our results suggest that the effects of the FA C18:3 n-3 and of the polyunsaturated index on SOF development are beyond the effect of the DGAT1 genotype. Breed had an effect on FA composition but not on SOF development. Our results imply that copper, FA composition, and DGAT1 genotype are risk factors for SOF and considerations to these factors might be necessary in future breeding decisions.


spontaneous oxidized flavor; fatty acid composition; copper; DGAT1

Published in

Journal of Dairy Science
2012, Volume: 95, number: 8, pages: 4610-4617