We report the fatty acid profile of raw milk and of the corresponding digested milk from different sources (human milk, formula milk and donkey, bovine, ovine and caprine milk) to gain information on the nutritional quality of different milk sources in infant nutrition.
Short chain fatty acids (SC-FA) were higher in bovine and caprine milk, intermediate in ovine and donkey and lower in human and formula milk. Medium chain fatty acids (MC-FA) showed the highest values for bovine and caprine milk and the lowest for donkey and formula milk, whereas long chain fatty acids (LC-FA) were the highest in donkey and formula milk and intermediate in human milk.
The percentage distribution of fatty acids liberated after in vitro digestion did not reflect the patterns found in the corresponding milk sources. In particular, MC free fatty acids (MC-FFA) showed the highest and the lowest values in donkey and in formula milk, LC-FFA showed the highest value in human milk. The total FFA was highest in human milk, lowest in formula milk and intermediate in donkey, bovine, ovine, and caprine milk.