Effect of diet supplementation with Ascophyllum nodosum on cow milk composition and microbiota

J Dairy Sci. 2016 Aug;99(8):6285-6297. doi: 10.3168/jds.2015-10837. Epub 2016 Jun 16.


Iodine deficiency remains a major public health concern in many countries, including some European regions. This study aimed at understanding the effect of a supplement of marine alga Ascophyllum nodosum as a iodine fortifier in the cow diet, on the compositional and microbiological quality of milk. The results obtained in this work indicated that the dietary inclusion of A. nodosum exerted significant effects on cow milk composition. In particular, it increased iodine content and reduced the quantity of free amino acids without modifying the free fatty acid content. From a microbiological point of view, statistically significant differences were found in presumptive mesophilic lactobacilli, mesophilic lactococci, and Pseudomonas spp. counts. Based on a culture-independent method, milk obtained after dietary inclusion of A. nodosum harbored the highest number of Firmicutes (e.g., Lactococcus lactis) and the lowest number of Proteobacteria (e.g., Pseudomonas). In addition to changes in bacterial population, diet supplementation with A. nodosum changed the catabolic profiles of the milk community, according to Biolog Ecoplate (Biolog Inc., Hayward, CA) results. The results of this study suggest that the dietary inclusion of the marine alga A. nodosum led to an improvement of the iodine content in milk, and to a modification of its microbiota with a positive effect on milk hygiene and transformation.

Keywords: Ascophyllum nodosum; Pseudomonas spp; iodide supplementation; milk microbiota.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / analysis
  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Ascophyllum*
  • Cattle
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Diet / veterinary*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / analysis
  • Female
  • Food Contamination
  • Food Microbiology
  • Food Quality
  • Iodine / administration & dosage
  • Lactation
  • Lactobacillus / isolation & purification
  • Lactococcus / isolation & purification
  • Microbiota*
  • Milk / chemistry*
  • Milk / microbiology*
  • Proteobacteria / isolation & purification
  • Pseudomonas / isolation & purification
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • Amino Acids
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Iodine