Articles | Volume 58, issue 2
Original study
05 Nov 2015
Original study |  | 05 Nov 2015

Characterization of the milk lipid fraction in non-dairy sheep breeds

A. J. Rozbicka-Wieczorek, A. Radzik-Rant, W. Rant, B. Kuczyńska, and M. Czauderna

Abstract. Studies regarding the composition of milk fat are mostly conducted on dairy breeds. The aim of our studies was to evaluate the fatty acid, cholesterol and phospholipid amount in the milk of two non-dairy sheep breeds. The study was conducted on 60 ewes (Żelaźnieńska strain of Polish Lowland sheep – 30 ewes; Wrzosówka breed – 30 ewes) from one flock which were kept under the same conditions and maintenance. There were no differences in the amount of the basic components of milk in these two breeds. In the lipid fraction of Wrzosówka sheep (a more primitive breed), higher amounts of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (P ≤ 0.05), a higher amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) n-3 (P ≤ 0.01) and a lower ratio of n-6 / n-3 (P ≤ 0.01) were recorded compared to Żelaźnieńska sheep. The milk of Żelaźnieńska sheep had a higher amount of cholesterol (P ≤ 0.05). There were no differences in concentrations of phospholipids.

With regard to the two non-dairy sheep breeds, a higher amount of PUFAs n-3 and a more favorable ratio of n-6 / n-3 was observed in the milk of the more primitive breed (i.e., Wrzosówka sheep).

Short summary
Milk produced by two non-dairy breeds, i. e., Żelaźnieńska and Wrzosówka sheep, maintained under the same nutritional conditions, did not differ in terms of the amount of basic components. Higher amounts of PUFAs n-3, a more favorable ratio of n-6/n-3 and a lower level of cholesterol were observed in milk of the more primitive breed (i.e. Wrzosówka). We suggest that non-dairy breeds can provide high-quality milk that can positively affect the carcass quality of lambs slaughtered at low weight.