Organic Agriculture

, 1:161 | Cite as

Consumption of dairy products of biodynamic origin is correlated with increased contents of rumenic and trans-vaccenic acid in the breast milk of lactating women

  • Ana Paula Simões-WüstEmail author
  • Lukas Rist
  • André Mueller
  • Machteld Huber
  • Hans Steinhart
  • Carel Thijs
Original research


Our previous work showed that incorporation of organic dairy products in the maternal diet may lead to increased contents of the conjugated linoleic acid isomers (CLA) in human breast milk, which might positively affect infant’s health. Now, the effect of biodynamic—a special form of organic—dairy products in the diet on the CLA content in human breast milk has been analysed. The content of rumenic acid (the main CLA) in breast milk was higher in the women consuming biodynamic products (n = 64, 0.323% of total fat, P < 0.001) than in the women with a conventional diet (n = 175, 0.254%), with the group of women consuming other dairy products including organic (but not biodynamic) showing an intermediate value (n = 44, 0.279%). The contents of the CLA-precursor trans-vaccenic acid (TVA) paralleled those of rumenic acid, whereas the opposite was found for those of elaidic acid that often occurs in high concentrations in partially hydrogenated fats. Both the higher contents of CLA and TVA as well as the lower level of elaidic acid in the milk of women consuming biodynamic products might conceivably contribute to a better infant’s health.


Conjugated linoleic acid Trans-vaccenic acid Human milk Biodynamic nutrition 



This work study was financially supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw, the Netherlands), Royal Friesland Foods (the Netherlands), Triodos Foundation (the Netherlands), UDEA organic retail (the Netherlands), Biologica Organisation for Organic Farming and Food (The Netherlands) and the Consumer Association for Bio-Dynamic Agriculture Zurich (Switzerland).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science & Business Media BV 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Paula Simões-Wüst
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lukas Rist
    • 1
  • André Mueller
    • 2
  • Machteld Huber
    • 3
  • Hans Steinhart
    • 2
  • Carel Thijs
    • 4
  1. 1.Research DepartmentParacelsus Hospital RichterswilRichterswilSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Biochemistry and Food Chemistry, Department of Food ChemistryUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  3. 3.Louis Bolk InstituteDriebergenthe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Epidemiology, Nutrition and Toxicology Research Institute Maastricht (Nutrim), and Care and Public Health Research Institute (Caphri)Maastricht UniversityMaastrichtthe Netherlands

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