Microalgae in cow diet can deliver more omega 3 in cheese

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

A PhD student in the UK says her research shows omega 3 can be added to cheese through microalgae in cows' diet.
A PhD student in the UK says her research shows omega 3 can be added to cheese through microalgae in cows' diet.

Related tags Nutrition

A PhD student at Harper Adams University in the UK has successfully increased the level of long chain omega-3 while reducing the level of saturated fatty acids in cheese, and producing the same the taste, by feeding microalgae to cows.

Bethan Till, from Caernarfon, in Wales, said the project was designed to improve how healthy dairy products are by increasing the amount of omega-3 present in milk, and therefore cheese.

“Western diets are providing less than recommended levels of long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are beneficial to human health,”​ Till said.

“Fish is typically regarded as a natural source of omega-3s but the levels are diminishing and less fish is being consumed.

“Omega-3 is important because it has many benefits including lowering the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and depression, along with improving general mental health and enhanced children’s learning ability.”

Delivery to children

Till said by increasing the level of omega-3 in cheese, which is already in many people’s diets, they can obtain a health benefit without having to alter their eating and shopping habits.

She added children also generally consume more milk and cheese, making it an ideal method of delivering omega 3s to children.

No effect on taste

The study was conducted on high yielding Holstein Friesian dairy cows, which were allocated one of four diets. Three of these diets contained microalgae at different levels to establish which produced the best results.

Adding microalgae didn’t affect cow performance, including dry matter intake, milk yield, body condition score and live weight.

“From the cheese tasting panel, we found that there were also no negative effects on taste,”​ Till said.

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