Seasonal Variation of Triacylglycerol Profile of Bovine Milk Academic Article uri icon


  • Milk contains 3-6% of fat, of which the dominant component is triacylglycerol (TAG). Over 100 TAG groups can be readily detected in any non-enriched milk sample by LC-MS; most TAG groups contain several isomers (TAG molecules with different fatty acid composition), which cannot be fully resolved chromatographically by any single stationary phase. TAG profile of mature milk from 19 cows was surveyed in this study for eight consecutive months using RP-LC-Orbitrap MS. It was found that TAG profile of milk was not constant throughout the milking season and the seasonal pattern varied with TAG groups. The overall unsaturation level of TAG was stable from October 2013 to January 2014, decreased in February/March 2014 and then increased from April and peaked in May 2014. In addition to the seasonal fluctuation in TAG profile, the proportion of different isomeric species within a TAG group also changed substantially across seasons. However, the proportion of different positional isomers within a given TAG group does not seem to vary during the milking season. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the seasonal change of milk lipid at the TAG group and isomer level.

publication date

  • 2017