Journal of Dairy Research

Research Article

Suitability of bronopol preservative treated milk for fatty acid determination

Gillian Butlera1 c1 and Sokratis Stergiadisa1

a1 Nafferton Ecological Farming Group, Newcastle University


This work aimed to test if milk preserved with bronopol can be reliably used for fatty acid determination. Dairy production and milk quality are often monitored regularly to assess performance and contribute to selection indices. With evidence that fat composition can be influenced by selective breeding, there might be an interest in using samples collected in routine testing to evaluate individual cow fatty acid profiles, contributing to breeding indices. However, most recording services use a preservative such as bronopol and there is no published record if this influences subsequent fatty acid analysis. This study used milk from an oil seed supplementation trial, generating a wide range of milk fatty acid profiles, to test if the concentration of 31 individual fatty acids determined by GC were influenced by bronopol. Provided preserved samples are subsequently frozen, milk treated with bronopol can reliably be used to evaluate fatty acid composition in most cases; however bronopol might influence a few long-chain fatty acids present in relatively low concentrations. This is one small step towards simplifying milk compositional analysis but it could ultimately streamline the inclusion of milk fat quality into breeding indices, either with a view to ‘healthier’ milk or potentially reducing methane output and the environmental impact of dairy production.

(Received August 24 2010)

(Accepted January 25 2011)

(Online publication March 17 2011)


c1 For correspondence; e-mail: