1. Mammary-tissue biopsies were obtained from multiparous cows at 30 and 7 days pre partum and 7 and 40 days post partum. Investigations of the effect of lactogenesis on fatty acid and lactose synthesis involved measurements of biosynthetic capacity (tissue-slice incubations in vitro) and activities of relevant enzymes. 2. Fatty acid synthesis from acetate increased over 20-fold from 30 days pre partum to 40 days post partum. Changes in the lipogenic capacity of mammary-tissue slices more closely paralleled increases in the activities of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (EC 6.4.1.2) and acetyl-CoA synthetase (EC 6.2.1.1) than of other enzymes involved in acetate incorporation into fatty acids or in NADPH generation. 3. Lactose biosynthesis by mammary-tissue slices, lactose synthetase activity (EC 2.4.1.22) and α-lactalbumin concentration were all negligible at 30 days pre partum but increased 2.5–4-fold between 7 days pre partum and 40 days post partum. Phosphoglucomutase (EC 2.7.5.1), UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase (EC 2.7.7.9) and UDP-glucose 4-epimerase (EC 5.1.3.2) had substantial activities at 30 days pre partum and increased less dramatically during lactogenesis. 4. Results are consistent with acetyl-CoA carboxylase and perhaps acetyl-CoA synthetase representing the regulatory enzyme(s) in fatty acid synthesis, with lactose synthetase (α-lactalbumin) serving a similar function in lactose biosynthesis.

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