BACKGROUND: Minhota and Holstein Friesian cows (15 from each breed) were selected from several farms located in the north of Portugal, all under similar feeding regime. Milk samples from individual cows were collected once a month, during one year, to take into account different lactation stages and feeding seasonal changes.
RESULTS: Holstein milk was found to have higher content of total polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-6, and trans fatty acids, while Minhota milk had significantly higher monounsaturated fatty acids content. No statistical differences were observed for omega-3 and saturated fatty acids contents, mostly due to the high dispersion observed in Minhota milk samples. The average amount of conjugated linoleic acid was higher in Minhota breed, but the high dispersion of values reduced the statistical significance. Cholesterol content, expressed as mg kg−1 of fat, was higher in Holstein than in Minhota milk.
CONCLUSION: The results indicate that Minhota milk has important nutritional qualities that deserve attention, but the wide individual variation found within animals from this breed suggests a high genetic variability. Following this, the selection of some of these animals for intensive milk production could improve milk quality. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry