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Grazing Produces Healthier Milk

22 August 2013

GLOBAL – Bacteriology is the reason why milk from cows in summer contains greater quantities of healthier omega-3 fats than winter milk, UK scientists have found.

Molecules that give cut grass its distinctive ‘green odour’ kill of the bacteria responsible for converting omega-3s into saturated fats, according to a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council funded study.

Animal Science expert, Dr Sharon Huws, who led the study, described the findings as ‘good news’ for a growing world population needing to access nutritious, affordable and accessible food.

Dr Huws said: "We've known for a while that milk contains a greater proportion of the healthy omega-3 fats in the summer than in the winter, and now we know it's probably down to the antimicrobial effects of the green odour products from grass.

"Obviously cows can't be outside all year round but we could, for example, supplement their winter feed with one or more of these products."

Typically, milk composition does vary through the year and the team of scientists suggest that indoor housing periods produce less healthy milk when grass and silage may not be as readily available, explained the researchers.

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