Physical and chemical properties, hygienic quality and fatty acid profile in milk of lactating Lacaune dairy sheep

Antunović, Zvonko; Mioč, Boro; Klir Šalavardić, Željka; Širić, Ivan; Držaić, Valentino; Mikulec, Nataša; Krivohlavek, Adela; Novoselec, Josip

In recent years, there has been globally increasing interest in dairy sheep breeding, including Lacaune sheep, which is supported by a high demand for sheep's milk on the market. This paper elaborates on the influence of a sheep's lactation stage on the physical and chemical properties, hygienic quality and content of fatty acids in milk produced by Lacaune sheep kept in intensive breeding. The research was conducted on 30 Lacaune sheep, which were tested in the early (60th day), middle (120th day) and late (180th day) stages of lactation. Density, freezing point and titration acidity were determined by applying the infrared spectrometry method, and indicators of the hygienic quality of milk, such as somatic cell count (SCC), were determined by the fluoro-opto-electronic method, and the total count of aerobic mesophilic bacteria (CFU) was determined by the flow cytometry method. The fatty acid profile of feed and milk was obtained by gas–liquid chromatography. Depending on the stage of lactation, results referring to the chemical composition of Lacaune sheep's milk showed a significant increase in the content of fat, protein, total dry matter and casein together with a significant decrease in the content of lactose in the late stage of lactation. There was also a significant increase confirmed for the concentration of urea and the freezing point in milk along with the lactation progress. Depending on the stage of lactation, milk yield in Lacaune sheep significantly decreased as lactation progressed. Analysis of the fatty acid composition in milk of Lacaune sheep proved a significant decrease in the concentrations of C4 : 0, C6 : 0, C11 : 0, C12 : 0, C13 : 0, C15 : 0, C17 : 1, C18 : 2n6 and C18 : 3n6 as well as the n6 concentrations and the n6 inline-formula M1inlinescrollmathml / 8pt14ptsvg-formulamathimg1b4178c77ca0d4bfee6c9ddd864f3a43 aab-67-37-2024-ie00001.svg8pt14ptaab-67-37-2024-ie00001.png  n3 ratio. The opposite trend was observed for concentrations of C10 : 0, C14 : 1, C16 : 0, C16 : 1, C18 : 0, C20 : 2, C18 : 3n3, C20 : 3n6, C20 : 5n3 and C22 : 6n3 as well as for the n3 concentrations. When compared to the early lactation stage, the C18 : 3n6 and n6 concentrations were significantly lower in the late lactation stage, while the C20 : 2 and C20 : 5n3 concentrations were significantly lower in the middle lactation stage when compared to the late lactation stage. There were many significant positive and negative correlations determined between the researched properties of milk. The research results obtained with Lacaune sheep's milk can be compared to the results of other studies, except for the lower content of milk fat. This confirms the good adaptability of Lacaune sheep to different breeding conditions and the necessity to provide sheep with quality pastures for grazing.

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Antunović, Zvonko / Mioč, Boro / Klir Šalavardić, Željka / et al: Physical and chemical properties, hygienic quality and fatty acid profile in milk of lactating Lacaune dairy sheep. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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