Size-dependent lipid content of bovine milk fat globule and membrane phospholipids

Ronit Mesilati-Stahy, Kfir Mida, Nurit Argov-Argaman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


The mammary epithelial cell produces unique structures and a range of diversely sized lipid particles from tens of micrometers to less than 1 μm. The physical, chemical, and biological properties of the differently sized milk fat globules (MFGs) and their complex membranes are not well described. Six size fractions of MFGs were obtained by gravity-based separation and analyzed, and their partial lipidome was determined. The smallest MFGs had a higher concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids (FAs). The FAs indicative of elongase activity were highest in the smallest MFGs, whereas those FAs indicative of desaturase activity did not differ between size groups. The phosphatidylinositol concentration was highest whereas the phosphatidylserine concentration was lowest in MFGs with an average diameter of 2 μm. Phosphatidylethanolamine and cholesterol concentrations were highest whereas that of sphingomyelin was lowest in MFGs with an average diameter of 3 μm. Phosphatidylcholine concentrations did not vary between the size groups. Results suggest that the assembly of milk fat globules that differ in size is not a homogeneous nor random process and that the differences in composition may reflect discrete biosynthetic routes.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)7427-7435
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number13
StatePublished - 13 Jul 2011


  • fatty acid
  • lipid
  • milk fat globule
  • milk fat globule membrane
  • phospholipids
  • sphingolipids


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