Production of conjugated fatty acids in milk through a targeted selection of starter cultures.

Project Details


Recently, a lot of attention goes to the health benefits of conjugated fatty acids (CFA), in particular the group of conjugated Linoleic acids (CLA). CLA isomers naturally occur in tissues and products of ruminants, amongst others due to biohydrogenation and specific enzyme activities of rumen bacteria (insomerases). Feeding strategies can help to steer the rumen metabolism towards an increased concentration of CLA in the milk. Also, certain lactic acid bacteria, bifidobacteria, and propionbacteria display linoleic acid isomerase activity. As an alternative for the feeding intervention strategies, bacterial production of CLA during fermentation of the obtained milk (via suitable microbial isomerase/ desaturase activities) could be very interesting. If such an approach proves to be successful, industrial use of such bacteria as starter cultures for the dairy industry could be aimed a. In this project, therefore, a genotypic and phenotypic screening will be performed to find microorganisms that possess isomerase and/or (9-)desaturase activity for the production controlled milk fermentations using appropriate lactic acid bacteria. If necessary, precursor fatty acids will be released in the milk by lipase activity. Also, molecular characterisation of the (9-) desaturase and/or isomerase genes in the selected microorganisms will be performed and the produced CFA will be identified.
Effective start/end date1/01/0731/12/10


  • conjugated fatty acids

Flemish discipline codes

  • Biological sciences