The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of dietary supplementation with the disaccharides trehalose and cellobiose on antioxidant activity in rumen fluid, blood, and milk of dairy cows. Nine Holstein dairy cows housed in a free-stall barn were divided into 3 groups, with each group receiving a different dietary treatment (a control diet, a 1% trehalose-supplemented diet, or a 1% cellobiose-supplemented diet) following a 3 × 3 Latin square design. Feed intake and milk production increased in cows receiving the trehalose-supplemented diet compared with those receiving the control and cellobiose-supplemented diets. The total protozoa numbers in the rumen fluid of cows fed trehalose- or cellobiose-supplemented diets were greater than those of the control group. The C18:0 and C18:1 fatty acid content was increased in the milk of cows fed the trehalose-supplemented diet compared with that of the control group, and the C18:3n-3 fatty acid content in the milk of cows fed the cellobiose-supplemented diet was less than that of the control group. Plasma biochemical parameters were unchanged among the different treatments. In rumen fluid, 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging activity and superoxide dismutase activity were increased 2. h after feeding in cows receiving the cellobiose-supplemented diet compared with the control group, and the concentration of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances in the rumen fluid of cows fed the cellobiose-supplemented diet was decreased. In contrast, the values of these parameters measured in the milk of cows fed the cellobiose-supplemented diet were no different from those of control cows. Dietary supplementation with trehalose did, however, bring about an improvement of the oxidative status of milk and blood in these animals compared with controls. These results provide the first evidence supporting the use of dietary disaccharides to decrease lipid peroxide levels and increase the antioxidant content of dairy cow milk. The findings suggest that disaccharides, particularly trehalose, might be useful as supplements for reducing oxidative stress and improving the quality of milk for human consumption, as well as possibly impairing the processes that give rise to lipid oxidation odor in dairy cow milk.
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