Fast Moving Fronts
Dale E. Bauman talks with
ScienceWatch.com and answers a few questions about
this month's Fast Moving
Front* in the field of
Article: Nutritional regulation of milk fat
Journal: ANNU REV NUTR, 23: 203-227 2003
Addresses: Cornell Univ, Dept Anim Sci, Ithaca, NY 14853
Cornell Univ, Dept Anim Sci, Ithaca, NY 14853 USA.
Univ Helsinki, Dept Anim Sci, Helsinki, Finland.
(addresses may have been truncated)
Why do you think your paper is highly
The ability of certain diets to down-regulate milk fat secretion has been
recognized for over 150 years, but the basis has remained unknown. Our
article provides a comprehensive review of the various theories on the
regulation of milk fat synthesis and summarizes the research showing why
each of the previous theories is inadequate to explain the effects of diet.
As such, we provided a valuable summary and context for those interested in
We then go on and propose a new theory to explain the regulation and the
inter-relationship between rumen fermentation and the ability of various
diets to regulate mammary synthesis of milk fat. Again, this is of
widespread interest because it integrates concepts and develops a novel
mechanism to explain the biology.
Does it describe a new discovery, methodology, or
synthesis of knowledge?
As stated above, our article proposes a novel theory to explain the ability
of certain diets to elicit changes in milk fat synthesis. Our theory
represented an integration of concepts whereby unique fatty acids
originating from rumen fermentation are absorbed and in turn regulate the
mammary expression of key genes in lipid synthesis. Thus, it represents one
of the first examples of nutritional genomics.
Would you summarize the significance of your paper in
The article provides a historical overview of milk fat synthesis and the
role that specific nutrients can play in the regulation of lipid
metabolism. In addition, we provide an elegant example of nutritional
genomics whereby specific fatty acids arising as intermediates in rumen
biohydrogenation are able to regulate the expression of mammary genes that
represent key enzymes for fatty acid synthesis.
How did you become involved in this research and were
there any particular problems encountered along the way?
I became interested in this area because little was known about the
regulation of milk fat synthesis and the role that nutrition can play in
this regulation. It was an interesting biological problem and a problem of
interest to the dairy industry. It also requires an interdisciplinary
approach whereby we combine an integration of nutrition, biochemistry, and
Where do you see your research leading in the
We have continued to identify the specific fatty acid isomers that
originate from rumen fermentation and have the ability to regulate tissue
gene expression. In addition, we are continuing research to identify the
transcription factors and signaling mechanisms by which this cellular
Are there any social or political implications for your
An understanding of milk fat synthesis has implications primarily in the
biology of lactation for all mammals, including humans and animals of
Dale E. Bauman, Ph.D.
Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor
Department of Animal Science
Ithaca, NY, USA
Note, this comment (received March 2008)
pertains to a previous data period.
View the list of Fast Moving Fronts and source date
information for that period.