Acta Vet. Brno 2009, 78: 431-440

Influence of Full-fat Soybean Seeds and Hydrolyzed Palm Oil on the Metabolism of Lactating Dairy Cows

Veronika Bellová, Alena Pechová, Rudolf Dvořák, Leoš Pavlata

Clinic of Ruminants, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno, Czech Republic

Received March 17, 2008
Accepted February 9, 2009

The aim of the study was to compare the influence of fat supplementation in the form of full-fat soybean seeds and hydrolyzed palm oil as energy sources for dairy cows in early lactation. During the first 8 lactation weeks, 17 dairy cows divided into group S (n = 8) and group C (n = 9) were observed. The basic diet was the same for both groups. The differences were in the composition of the concentrate mixture, which had a balanced content of nutrients. In group S the fat source was heat-treated soybean seeds, while in group C the fat source used was hydrolyzed palm oil. The two diets started to be fed on the day of calving. Blood samples were taken weekly (1st–5th week) and 8 weeks after delivery. At the end of the experiment ruminal fluid was taken. During the experiment BCS in both groups deteriorated similarly. In group S it decreased from 3.8 ± 0.2 to 3.3 ± 0.3 and in group C from 3.5 ± 0.4 to 3.1 ± 0.4. A better performance of hepatic metabolism was proved in group S. In group S lower concentrations of non-esterified fatty acids were identified in the 3rd (0.96 ± 0.38 vs. 1.76 ± 0.63 mmol l-1; p < 0.01) and 8th (0.32 ± 0.29 vs. 0.78 ± 0.48 mmol l-1; p < 0.05) week after calving. The gamma-glutamyl transferase (EC activity in serum indicates a better liver parenchyma condition in group S where no increased activity was identified above the reference range. An increased activity was identified in group C from the 2nd week with a significant difference between groups detected in the 2nd (0.41 ± 0.07 vs. 0.66 ± 0.25 μkat l-1; p < 0.05) and 4th (0.42 ± 0.05 vs. 0.64 ± 0.25 μkat l-1; p < 0.05) weeks after delivery. There were no significant differences found between groups in bilirubin and aspartate transaminase (EC but a general tendency toward lower values is apparent in group S. No significant differences were found between groups by the examination of ruminal fluid. Based on these results we can conclude that full-fat soy was better utilised than hydrolysed palm oil and represents a suitable alternative for increasing energy concentration in the diet for dairy cows. On the other hand, the development of liver steatosis in cows make controversial the usage of fat as an energy source for fresh cows even if their BCS is around 3.5–3.8 and it may not be recommended generally.