The fatty acid composition of small and large naturally occurring milk fat globules



Native milk fat globules of various mean diameters, ranging from d43 = 1.5 to 7.3 μm, were obtained using microfiltration of raw whole milk acquired in winter and spring. After total lipid extraction, fatty acid composition was characterized by methyl and butyl ester analysis using gas chromatography. The oleic and linoleic acid content of milk obtained in winter increased with fat globule size, whereas myristic and palmitic acid decreased. There was significantly more lauric, myristic and palmitoleic acid, and less stearic acid in small fat globules compared to large fat globules in milk obtained in both winter and spring. The relative content of oleic and linoleic acids were found to depend on fat globule size and season. Results are interpreted on the basis of the relative content of milk fat globule membrane depending on fat globule size, and on consequences of compositional variations on milk fat globule melting behavior.