Indian Journal of Animal Research

  • Chief EditorK.M.L. Pathak

  • Print ISSN 0367-6722

  • Online ISSN 0976-0555

  • NAAS Rating 6.43

  • SJR .263

  • Impact Factor .427 (2022)

Frequency :
Monthly (January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December)
Indexing Services :
Science Citation Index Expanded, BIOSIS Preview, ISI Citation Index, Biological Abstracts, Scopus, AGRICOLA, Google Scholar, CrossRef, CAB Abstracting Journals, Chemical Abstracts, Indian Science Abstracts, EBSCO Indexing Services, Index Copernicus
Indian Journal of Animal Research, volume 57 issue 2 (february 2023) : 161-164

Comparative Analysis of Milk Fatty Acids and Minerals of Indigenous vis-à-vis Crossbred Cattle and Buffaloes

Akansha Singh1, Amit Kumar1,*, Pushpendra Kumar1, Narayan Dutt2, Mahesh S. Dige3, Arun K. Verma4, B.P. Mishra5, Triveni Dutt6
1Division of Animal Genetics, ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar-243 122, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India.
2Division of Animal Nutrition, ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar-243 122, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh India.
3Division of Genetics and Breeding, ICAR-Central Institute for Research on Goats, Makhdoom- 281 122, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India.
4Goat Products Technology Laboratory, ICAR-Central Institute for Research on Goats, Makhdoom-281122, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India.
5Division of Animal Biotechnology, ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar-243 122, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India.
6Division of Livestock Production and Management, ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar-243 122, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Cite article:- Singh Akansha, Kumar Amit, Kumar Pushpendra, Dutt Narayan, Dige S. Mahesh, Verma K. Arun, Mishra B.P., Dutt Triveni (2023). Comparative Analysis of Milk Fatty Acids and Minerals of Indigenous vis-à-vis Crossbred Cattle and Buffaloes . Indian Journal of Animal Research. 57(2): 161-164. doi: 10.18805/IJAR.B-4558.
Background: The information about milk quality of different breeds of cattle and buffalo is still scanty. The objective of the study was to the compare milk fatty acid composition and mineral concentration in the crossbred cattle and indigenous cattle and buffalo reared on same farm. 

Methods: This study was conducted on 187 individual milk samples, which includes 124 crossbred Vrindavani cattle, 19 indigenous cattle and 44 Murrah buffaloes.   

Result: The Murrah buffalo milk had significantly (P≤0.05) higher concentration of fat and saturated fatty acids than indigenous or crossbred cow’s milk. The mono unsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) and poly unsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) contents (C16:1, C20:2, C20:4n6 and C22:6N3) were significantly higher in indigenous cows compared to crossbreds and Murrah buffalo. The concentration of iron and zinc were significantly (P≤0.05) higher in indigenous cattle, whereas, the contents of Cu and Mn were higher in Murrah buffalo.
Milk constituents including fat and protein percentage as well as fatty acid and mineral contents have drawn the attention of researchers in recent years, because of their direct effect on human health. The milk fat extracted from bovine milk constitute about 70% saturated fatty acid (SFA), 25% Mono unsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) and 5% Poly unsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) which deviates from the favourable fatty acid profile for human health of 30% SFA, 60% MUFA and 10% PUFA, respectively (Bilal et al., 2014). The SFAs are reported to be associated with the increased concentration of blood cholesterol and are responsible for cardiovascular diseases, weight gain and obesity (Pulina et al., 2017). Conversely, MUFAs, due to their cholesterol- declining properties (Schwingshackl and Hoffmann 2012) and PUFAs, due to influence on plasma lipids level associated in cardiac and endothelial functions are considered to lower the threat of coronary heart diseases (Zhang et al., 2016). Furthermore, conjugated linoleic acid modulates the plasma lipid concentrations and has anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory effects (Palombo et al., 2018).

Minerals represent a small fraction of milk (approx. 8-9 g/L) and are distributed in the soluble and the colloidal phase depending on the chemical form (Zamberlin et al., 2012). Minerals play an important in regulation of biological systems and cellular metabolism, like calcium, phosphorus and magnesium are involved in development of bones and teeth (Soyeurt et al., 2009). The micro-minerals including Zn, Mn and Cu play pivotal roles in immune function and enzyme system (Dunshea et al., 2019). In recent times, the indigenous cattle milk demand has gained much popularity due to its A2 milk protein (Kumar et al., 2020).  But in a study it was observed that in Vrindavani crossbred cattle genotypic frequency of A2A2 was 0.42, whereas genotypic frequencies of A1A2 and A1A1 were 0.47 and 0.11, respectively (Kumar et al., 2019). Further, there is dearth of information about the fatty acid and mineral profile of cattle and buffalo milk. Thus, this study will provide an overview of the fatty acid and mineral content in the milk of indigenous cattle and buffalo, compared to crossbred cattle. The fatty acid and mineral profile of indigenous cattle will also provide scientific data for the superiority of indigenous cow milk in terms of their content, if any.

Only limited number of studies are available on the effect of breed and non-genetic factors on composition of milk fatty acid and mineral concentration in tropical countries like India having a wide range of bovine genetic resources. Thus, the objectives of present study was to compare fatty acid composition and mineral concentration in milk of indigenous cattle, crossbred cattle and buffalo, under a similar production system.
Experimental animals and farm
This study was conducted on 187 individual milk samples, which includes 124 crossbred Vrindavani cattle, 19 indigenous cattle (Tharparkar n=11; Sahiwal n=8) and 44 Murrah buffaloes, were collected from Cattle and Buffalo Breeding Farm, ICAR-IVRI, Izatnagar, Bareilly, India. Vrindavani cattle were developed as synthetic strain of composite cattle in India from the native indicine Hariana cattle crossed with three taurine dairy breeds: Holstein, Brown Swiss and Jersey (Singh et al., 2011). The animals are reared in loose housing system with free-stall dairy barn under tropical environmental conditions. During sample collection, animals were fed with green fodder and concentrate mixture composed of maize, wheat bran, Barley and Napier grass with other supplements.
Sample collection
Collection of milk samples were collected during January, 2019 from each animal. The morning milk samples were collected as suggested (Sharma et al., 2018). After proper mixing in plastic bottles, the milk samples were immediately transported to the laboratory on ice. The samples were homogenized using Vortex at 2400 rpm for thirty seconds before processing.
Estimation of milk constituents and fatty acid profile
After proper mixing of samples, the fat and protein percentage in 187 milk samples were analysed by using Lacto Scan milk analyser. The contents of different milk fatty acids were estimated using a gas chromatography (6890N, Agilent), which included SFAs (C6:0, C8:0, C10:0, C12:0, C14:0, C16:0, C18:0, C20:0, C24:0); MUFAs (C14:1, C16:1, C18:1n9c) and PUFAs (C20:2, C20:4n6 and C22:2).

Fatty acid profiling was done by direct FAME synthesis as explained by O’ Fallon et al., (2007) with slight modification. The unsaturation indices for milk fatty acid were calculated as the ratio of an unsaturated fatty acid to the sum of unsaturated and its corresponding saturated fatty acid, multiplied by 100 (Schennink et al., 2008).
Estimation of milk minerals
Milk samples were analyzed for macro-minerals including, Calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P) and microminerals including iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn). The estimation of calcium and phosphorus was done as reported previously (Talapatra et al., 1940). The concentration of micro minerals (Fe, Cu, Zn and Mn) was determined using atomic absorbance spectrophotometer in their mineral extracts.
The Proc GLM procedure of SAS 9.3 (SAS Institute, Inc. 2008) was used for estimating the effect of breed type on milk as follow;
Yij = μ + Bi + eij
Yij= The jth observation of ith breed (3 level).
eij= Random error (NID = 0, σ2e).
The least squares mean of individual and indices of milk fatty acid profile and mineral content for the different breeds are reported in Table 1. The fat percentage was significantly (P£0.05) higher (8.400±0.27) in Murrah buffaloes than crossbred (4.280±0.10) and indigenous (4.150±0.21) cattle. The protein percentage was significantly (P£0.05) higher in milk of Murrah buffaloes (3.140±0.02) and indigenous (3.000±0.02) cows than crossbred (2.810±0.02) cattle. The analysis of variance indicated highly significant (P<0.0001) breed differences in the concentration of almost all fatty acid composition traits under investigation, except C22:2. Further the mineral profile (except Ca and P) of indigenous cattle, crossbred cattle and buffalo differ significantly from each other. The concentration of SFAs (C6:0, C8:0, C10:0, C12:0, C14:0, C16:0, C18:0, C20:0, C24:0) were found to be significantly (P<0.001) higher in the Murrah buffaloes than the crossbred and the indigenous cattle (Table 1). The findings were in agreement with previously reported higher fraction of saturated fatty acid in buffalo milk (Pegolo et al., 2017). However, Haggag et al., (1987) found lower concentration of saturated fatty acid in the Egyptian buffalo compared to the Egyptian cow milk.  However, MUFA and PUFA content (C16:1, C20:2, C20:4n6, C22:6N3) were higher in the indigenous cattle (0.434±0.07, 0.280±0.06, 0.096±0.02 and 0.450±0.08 gm/100 gm of milk, respectively) in comparison to crossbred cattle (0.247±0.02, 0.230±0.01, 0.031±0.00 and 0.178±0.02, gm/100 gm of milk, respectively) and Murrah buffaloes (0.214±0.07, 0.065±0.01, 0.050±0.01 and 0.211±0.03 gm/100 gm of milk, respectively). The concentration of Oleic acid (C18:1n9c) was found to be significantly higher (P<0.001) in crossbred cattle (0.38±0.02 gm/100 gm of milk), while the concentration of C14:1 (0.108±0.02 gm/100 gm of milk) was higher (P<0.0001) in buffaloes. In addition, the buffalo milk showed lower contents of C22:2 (0.447±0.11 gm/100 gm of milk) to the indigenous (0.459±0.13 gm/100 gm of milk) and the crossbred (0.596±0.04 gm/100 gm of milk) cows. The concentration of higher PUFAs content (C20:2, C20:4n6 and C22:6N3) in indigenous cattle also has been reported earlier (Sharma et al., 2018). The higher concentration of PUFA and low SFA in indigenous cattle milk suggest its beneficial effect to human health. Considering the unsaturation index, buffalo milk contained significantly higher amount of C14 index and C18 index (1.178±0.02 and 1.227±0.02) than crossbred (1.110±0.01 and 1.113±0.02) and indigenous cattle (1.066±0.01 and 1.065±0.01). The C16 index was highest in crossbred cattle (23.895±1.53), while C20 index was highest in indigenous cattle (2.835±1.62).

Table 1: Profile of milk constituents, fatty acids (gm/100 gm of milk) and their indices in different breeds of Bovines.

The average concentration of Ca and P in milk did not differ significantly between different bovine breeds (Table 2). The Cu and Mn contents were found to be significantly (P<0.0001) higher in the Murrah buffaloes (1.817±0.05 and 2.271±0.03 mg/l, respectively) followed by the indigenous cattle (1.291±0.11 and 2.026±0.10 mg/l, respectively) and the crossbred cattle (1.071±0.05 and 0.922±0.06 mg/l, respectively), respectively. However, the Fe and Zn concentration were significantly higher in indigenous cattle (9.421±1.05 and 5.461±0.32 mg/l, respectively) in comparison to Murrah buffaloes (7.692±0.39 and 4.548±0.28 mg/l, respectively) and crossbred cattle (9.175±0.29 and 3.642±0.12 mg/l, respectively). Patel et al., (2018) has also reported the higher Ca content in Murrah milk, while the higher phosphorus content was in indigenous milk. The significant difference in milk mineral content among breeds was also reported by Mariani et al., (2002), with lower mineral content in Holstein-Friesian compared to Brown Swiss, Reggiana and Modenese breeds. The higher content of micro-minerals (Fe and Zn) in indigenous cattle milk are involved in boosting immune related pathways and other cellular physiological processes (Yamaguchi et al., 2010). Inadequate concentration of Fe and Zn in diet may hamper the absorption and function of other nutrients leading to challenges in normal development of the animal.

Table 2: Milk mineral concentration in different breeds of Bovines.

This study provided an overview of fatty acid profile and mineral concentration in milk of crossbred and indigenous cattle vis-à-vis Murrah Buffaloes reared under the same managemental and feeding regime. The milk of indigenous cattle breed had significantly higher concentration of beneficial minerals contents (P, Fe, Zn) and unsaturated fatty acids (USFAs), suggested its greater potential benefit on human health compared to crossbred cattle and Murrah buffalo. Thus, the effort should be made to valorise the milk of indigenous breed.
The authors duly acknowledge the financial support rendered by ICAR-IVRI, Izatnagar and world bank funded CAAST-ACLH project of NAHEP.

  1. Bilal, G., Cue, R.I., Mustafa, A.F. and Hayes, J.F. (2014). Effects of parity, age at calving and stage of lactation on fatty acid composition of milk in Canadian Holsteins. Canadian Journal of Animal Science. 94(3): 401-410.

  2. Dunshea, F.R., Walker, G.P., Williams, R. and Doyle, P.T. (2019). Mineral and citrate concentrations in milk are affected by seasons, stage of lactation and management practices.  Agriculture. 9(2): 25. 9020025.

  3. Haggag, H.F., Hamzawi, L.F. and Shahin, Y. (1987). Fatty acid composition of globule core lipids from Egyptian cow, buffalo and goat’s milk. Egyptian Journal of Dairy Science. 15(1): 25-30.

  4. Kumar, S., Singh, R.V. and Chauhan, A. (2019). Molecular characterization of A1/A2 beta-casein alleles in vrindavani crossbred and Sahiwal cattle. Indian Journal of Animal Research. 53: 151-155. 

  5. Kumar, S., Singh, R.V., Chauhan, A., Kumar, A. and Yadav, J.S. (2020). Analysis of beta-casein gene (CSN2) polymorphism in Tharparkar and Frieswal cattle. Indian Journal of Animal Research. 54(1): 1-5.

  6. Mariani, P., Summer, A., Formaggioni, P. and Malacarne, M. (2002). La qualità casearia del latte di differenti razze bovine. La Razza Bruna. 1: 7-13.

  7. O’Fallon, J.V., Busboom, J.R., Nelson, M.L. and Gaskins, C.T. (2007). A direct method for fatty acid methyl ester synthesis: Application to wet meat tissues, oils and feedstuffs. Journal of Animal Science. 85: 1511-1521. 

  8. Palombo, V., Milanesi, M., Sgorlon, S., Capomaccio, S., Mele, M., Nicolazzi, E., Ajmone-Marsan, P., Pilla, F., Stefanon, B. and D’Andrea, M. (2018). Genome-wide association study of milk fatty acid composition in Italian Simmental and Italian Holstein cows using single nucleotide polymorphism arrays. Journal of Dairy Science. 101(12): 11004-11019.

  9. Patel, J., Singh, A., Chaudhary, R., Kumar, A., Jadhav, S.E., Naskar, S., Maurya, V.P., Mishra, B.P. and Dutt, T. (2018). Factors affecting milk minerals and constituents in indigenous vis-à-vis crossbred cattle and buffaloes. Indian Journal of Animal Sciences. 88(4): 71-77.

  10. Pegolo, S., Stocco, G., Mele, M., Schiavon, S., Bittante, G. and Cecchinato, A. (2017). Factors affecting variations in the detailed fatty acid profile of Mediterranean buffalo milk determined by 2-dimensional gas chromatography. Journal of Dairy Science. 100(4): 2564-2576.

  11. Pulina, G., Francesconi, A.H., Stefanon, B., Sevi, A., Calamari, L., Lacetera, N., Dell’Orto V., Pilla, F., Ajmone Marsan, P., Mele, M. and Rossi, F. (2017). Sustainable ruminant production to help feed the planet. Italian Journal of Animal Science. 16(1): 140-171.

  12. Schennink, A., Heck, J.M., Bovenhuis, H., Visker, M.H., van Valenberg, H.J. and van Arendonk, J.A. (2008). Milk fatty acid unsaturation: Genetic parameters and effects of stearoyl- CoA desaturase (SCD1) and acyl CoA: Diacylglycerol acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1). Journal of Dairy Science. 91(5): 2135-2143.

  13. Schwingshackl, L. and Hoffmann, G. (2012). Monounsaturated fatty acids and risk of cardiovascular disease: Synopsis of the evidence available from systematic reviews and meta- analyses. Nutrients. 4(12): 1989-2007.

  14. Sharma, R., Ahlawat, S., Aggarwal, R.A.K., Dua, A., Sharma, V. and Tantia, M.S. (2018). Comparative milk metabolite profiling for exploring superiority of indigenous Indian cow milk over exotic and crossbred counterparts. Journal of Food Science and Technology. 55(10): 4232-4243.

  15. Singh, R.R., Dutt, T., Kumar, A., Tomar, A.K.S. and Singh, M. (2011). On-farm characterization of Vrindavani cattle in India. Indian Journal of Animal Sciences. 81(3): 267-271.

  16. Soyeurt, H., Bruwier, D., Romnee, J.M., Gengler, N., Bertozzi, C., Veselko, D. and Dardenne, P. (2009). Potential estimation of major mineral contents in cow milk using mid-infrared spectrometry. Journal of Dairy Science. 92(6): 2444-2454.

  17. Talapatra, S.K., Ray, S.C. and Sen, K.C. (1940). The analysis of mineral constituents in biological materials. 1. Estimation of phosphorus, chlorine, calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium in food-stuffs. Indian Journal of Veterinary Science. 10: 243-258.

  18. Yamaguchi, M. (2010). Role of nutritional zinc in the prevention of osteoporosis. Molecular and cellular biochemistry. 338 (1-2): 241-254.

  19. Zamberlin, Š., Antunac, N., Havranek, J. and Samaržija, D. (2012). Mineral elements in milk and dairy products. Mljekarstvo: Easopis za unaprjeðenje proizvodnje i prerade mlijeka. 62(2): 111-125.

  20. Zhang, W., Zhang, J., Cui, L., Ma, J., Chen, C., Ai, H., Xie, X., Li, L., Xiao, S., Huang, L. and Ren, J. (2016). Genetic architecture of fatty acid composition in the longissimusdorsi muscle revealed by genome-wide association studies on diverse pig populations. Genetics Selection Evolution. 48(1): 5. doi: 10.1186/s12711-016-0184-2.


Editorial Board

View all (0)