Full Paper

Selenium supplementation of lactating dairy cows: effects on milk production and total selenium content and speciation in blood, milk and cheese

R. H. Phippsa1 c1, A. S. Grandisona2, A. K. Jonesa1, D. T. Junipera1, E. Ramos-Moralesa1 and G. Bertina3

a1 Centre for Dairy Research, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, RG6 6AR, UK

a2 Department of Food Biosciences, University of Reading, RG6 6AP, UK

a3 Alltech France, EU Regulatory Affairs Dept, 14 Place Marie-Jeanne Bassot 92300 Levallois-Perret, France


Forty multiparous Holstein cows were used in a 16-week continuous design study to determine the effects of either selenium (Se) source, selenised yeast (SY) (derived from a specific strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae CNCM I-3060) or sodium selenite (SS), or Se inclusion rate in the form of SY in the diets of lactating dairy cows on the Se concentration and speciation in blood, milk and cheese. Cows received ad libitum a total mixed ration (TMR) with a 1 : 1 forage : concentrate ratio on a dry matter (DM) basis. There were four diets (T1 to T4), which differed only in either source or dose of Se additive. Estimated total dietary Se for T1 (no supplement), T2 (SS), T3 (SY) and T4 (SY) was 0.16, 0.30, 0.30 and 0.45 mg/kg DM, respectively. Blood and milk samples were taken at 28-day intervals and at each time point there were positive linear effects of Se in the form of SY on the Se concentration in blood and milk. At day 112, blood and milk Se values for T1 to T4 were 177, 208, 248 and 279 ± 6.6 and 24, 38, 57 and 72 ± 3.7 ng/g fresh material, respectively, and indicate improved uptake and incorporation of Se from SY. In whole blood, selenocysteine (SeCys) was the main selenised amino acid and the concentration of selenomethionine (SeMet) increased with the increasing inclusion rate of SY. In milk, there were no marked treatment effects on the SeCys content, but Se source had a marked effect on the concentration of SeMet. At day 112, replacing SS (T2) with SY (T3) increased the SeMet concentration of milk from 36 to 111 ng Se/g and its concentration increased further to 157 ng Se/g dried sample as the inclusion rate of SY increased further (T4) to provide 0.45 mg Se/kg TMR. Neither Se source nor inclusion rate affected the keeping quality of milk. At day 112, milk from T1, T2 and T3 was made into a hard cheese and Se source had a marked effect on total Se and the concentration of total Se comprised as either SeMet or SeCys. Replacing SS (T2) with SY (T3) increased total Se, SeMet and SeCys content in cheese from 180 to 340 ng Se/g, 57 to 153 ng Se/g and 52 to 92 ng Se/g dried sample, respectively. The use of SY to produce food products with enhanced Se content as a means of meeting the Se requirements is discussed.

(Received January 17 2008)

(Accepted July 03 2008)


c1 E-mail: r.h.phipps@reading.ac.uk