Dairy Science & Technology

, Volume 88, Issue 6, pp 631–647 | Cite as

Seasonal variation in the fatty acid composition of milk supplied to dairies in the mountain regions of Switzerland

  • Marius CollombEmail author
  • Walter Bisig
  • Ueli Bütikofer
  • Robert Sieber
  • Mirjam Bregy
  • Luzi Etter
Original Article


The influence of typical feeds from five mountain regions of Switzerland (altitude of grass-based feed (GBF) during the summer and winter seasons: 1247 (± 465) m and 1136 (± 310) m, respectively) on the fatty acid (FA) composition of bovine milk fat was studied over one year (from May 2004 to April 2005). Compared with winter, summer milk had a significantly lower concentration of saturated FA (SFA) (−8.6%) and significantly higher contents of monounsaturated FA (MUFA) (+19.9%), polyunsaturated FA (PUFA) (+21.7%), conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) (+70.1%), and trans FA other than CLA (+56.7%). Summer and winter milk from mountains did not significantly differ with respect to the contents of branched, n-3 and n-6 FA. However, the content of the main n-3 FA (α-linolenic acid) was significantly higher in summer than in winter milk and its content was positively correlated with increasing percentages of GBF and altitude.

milk fat fatty acid mountain milk winter milk summer milk 

Composition en acides gras du lait de montagne suisse. Variations saisonnières


L’influence d’un affouragement typique des régions de montagne suisses (cinq régions; altitude du fourrage à base d’herbe durant les saisons estivale et hivernale : 1247 (± 465) m et 1136 (± 310) m, respectivement) sur la composition en acides gras du lait de vache a été étudiée pendant une année (de mai 2004 à avril 2005). Comparée à l’hiver, la matière grasse du lait d’été avait des concentrations significativement plus basses en acides gras saturés (−8,6 %) et plus élevées en monoinsaturés (+19,9 %), polyinsaturés (+21,7 %), acides linoléiques conjugués (ALC) (+70,1 %) et en acides gras trans (+56,7 %, ALC non inclus). Les concentrations en acides gras ramifiés, n-3 et n-6 du lait d’été et d’hiver n’étaient pas significativement différentes. Cependant, la concentration de l’acide gras n-3 principal de la matière grasse du lait, l’acide α-linolénique, était significativement plus élevée dans les laits d’été que dans ceux d’hiver et était positivement corrélée avec le pourcentage de fourrage à base d’herbe et avec l’altitude.

matière grasse du lait acide gras lait de montagne lait d’hiver lait d’été 


5 ( 1247 ± 465 m 1136 ± 310 m) (2004 5 –2005 4) (−8.6%) (+19.9%) (+21.7%) (+70.1%) (+56.7%) n-3 n-6 n-3 (α-)


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Copyright information

© Springer S+B Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marius Collomb
    • 1
    Email author
  • Walter Bisig
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ueli Bütikofer
    • 1
  • Robert Sieber
    • 1
  • Mirjam Bregy
    • 2
  • Luzi Etter
    • 2
  1. 1.Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux Research Station ALPBerneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Swiss College of AgricultureUniversity of Applied Sciences of BerneZollikofenSwitzerland

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