The overall goal of this study was to evaluate if intermediary energy metabolism of cows fed with trans-10, cis-12 conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) was modified such that milk-energy compounds were produced with less intermediary energy expenditure as compared to control cows. Published data on supplemented CLA were assembled. The extent was calculated to which the trans-10, cis-12 CLA isomer has an impact on glucose and energy conversion in the mammary gland by modifying glucose equivalent supply and energy required for fatty acid (FA) and fat synthesis, and if this will eventually lead to an improved glucose and energy status of CLA-supplemented high-yielding dairy cows. A possible relationship between CLA supplementation level and milk energy yield response was also studied. Calculations were conducted separately for orally and abomasally administered CLA and based on energy required for supply of glucose equivalents, i.e. lactose, glycerol and NADPH2. Further, modifications of milk FA profile due to CLA supplementation were considered when energy expenditures for FA and fat synthesis were quantified. Differences in yields between control and CLA groups were transformed into glucose energy equivalents. Only abomasal infusion (r2 = 0·31) but not oral CLA administration (r2 = 0·11) supplementation to dairy cow diets resulted in less glucose equivalent energy. Modifications of milk FA profiles also saved energy but the relationship with CLA supplementation was weaker for abomasal infusion (r2 = 0·06) than oral administration (r2 = 0·38). On average, 10 g/d of abomasally infused trans-10, cis-12 CLA saved 1·1 to 2·3 MJ net energy expressed as glucose equivalents, whereas both positive and negative values were observed when the trans-10, cis-12 CLA was fed to the cows.
This study revealed a weak to moderate dose-dependent relationship between the amount of trans-10, cis-12 CLA administered and the amount of energy in glucose equivalents and energy for the synthesis of milk fat conserved from milk ingredient synthesis. Because abomasal infusion of the trans-10, cis-12 CLA more consistently conserved energy in glucose equivalents compared with oral CLA intake, rumen protection of the fed CLA products appears incomplete. Milk fat synthesis showed an energy saving with a weak dose-dependent relationship when CLA was supplemented orally or by abomasal infusion.