Current information about the nutritional composition of milk fat is required for the consumer and therefore essential for the successful development of dairy industries as well as marketing their products. The progress in the knowledge concerning some milk fat components that possess biological properties and health benefits beyond their nutritional significance, has a growing interest in the dairy industry to design and formulate products that incorporate specific bioactive components derived from milk.
In the last two decades, special attention has been paid to the fatty acid (FA) composition on all short, medium chain and branched fatty acid as well as linoleic conjugated acid (CLA) in milk and dairy products. Trans monounsaturated fatty acids profiles from dairy fat have gained increasing relevance because they may have metabolic properties distinct from those of other origins, hydrogenation reaction for instance. Other minor lipid compounds with biological activity, phospholipids and cholesterol are part of the fat globule membrane.
This review summarizes the current knowledge in milk fat research with a brief overview of the importance of dairy lipids as biological molecules with emphasis on the different bioactive compounds present in this fraction.
Keywords: Milk fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid, trans fatty acids, sphingolipids, Fat, phospholipids, cholesterol, Lipid, butyric acid, linolenic acid, glycoproteins, oleic acid, phytanic acid, Palmitoleic acid, animal fats, vaccenic acid, stress, cancer cells, sterols
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