L Nanni Costa

Università degli Studi di Siena, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

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Publications (33)49.35 Total impact

  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In order to evaluate the effect of long transport on weaned piglets transported under warm weather conditions, one-hundred and forty-four piglets, previously submitted to a backtest during nursing, were monitored during four journeys, each lasting 14 hours, carried out from May to September 2009. Into the truck, piglets were allocated in 8 pens on the basis of backtest classification identified as High Resisting (HR), Low resisting (LR), Mixed (M) and Mixed at Loading (MAL). During transport, truck air temperature, skin temperatures and postural and behavioural occurrences were recorded. Prior to and after transportation, blood samples and body weight were also recorded. Piglets lost 5% of their body weight. Environmental conditions affected slightly the behaviour of piglets which were more active during the first 4 hours of transport. The behaviour of the piglets was significantly influenced by the type of pen since some differences in biting and exploratory behaviours were found in M pens. Conversely, no differences were found between HR and LR pens. Significant variations with respect to the baseline levels were found only for glucose which decreased and for urea which increased after journey as a result of the prolonged fasting. In general, the results suggest that long-lasting journeys did not have consistent effects on physiological and behavioural parameters of early-weaned piglets while grouping and mixing procedures may affect how they cope with transport.
    Livestock Science. 03/2014; 162:201-208.
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    ABSTRACT: Many studies have focused on the transport of cattle to fattening farms or to slaughterhouses but there is little information concerning the transport of young bulls delivered to the genetic test stations for selection. Due to the high expected value of young AI candidate bulls, their transport conditions could be very different from those intended for other cattle categories. The objective of the present study was to examine the effect of transport on behavioural response and on some blood variables of 26 young Holstein bulls (mean weight kg 278±64) before, during and after short journeys (duration <8h) to a genetic test centre. Behavioural patterns such as agonistic and affiliative interactions, environmental and conspecific explorative behaviour were recorded by means of an instantaneous sampling method at the farms of origin, into the truck and at the genetic test station. Moreover, standing orientation and postures during transport were recorded. Blood samples were collected by jugular venipuncture before transport (−4 days, T−4), immediately after transport (day 0, T0) and at 4 days (T+4) relative to time day 0. The space allowance during transport, ranging from 1.50m2 to 3.75m2 per head, enabled the animals to move quite freely and adopt comfortable positions. Young bulls did not show any preferences in their standing orientation during journeys and they were observed in a lying position for short time periods; they were also observed to ruminate, especially during the stationary periods of the journey. Mixing of animals during journeys did not affect their behaviour. The agonistic behaviour rate was higher during transport (P=0.049) and in the first two hours after unloading (P=0.003) than on the rearing farms. Four days after transport, agonistic behaviour decreased compared to the level observed during the first two hours after unloading (P=0.003), whereas affiliative behaviours increased (P=0.023); however, since the hourly rate of agonistic interactions remained higher than the rate observed on the farms of origin (P=0.001), we postulate that hierarchical relationships were not well established yet. After unloading, all animals spent more time interacting with others than exploring their new pen. Plasma glucose and non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) concentrations both increased significantly after transport. There were no changes in the activity of plasma creatine kinase (CK) after transport, suggesting that the journeys did not cause physical exertion. The results indicate that the transport conditions adopted for the AI candidate bulls only slightly affected the behavioural response and blood variables examined here and could be considered satisfactory for their welfare
    Applied Animal Behaviour Science 04/2012; · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of long-distance road transport (19 h, from Poland to Italy) during 2 seasons (summer vs. winter) on clinical and hematological variables in calves. The environmental temperature range that could compromise the thermoregulation system (thermal stress) of the calves was tested. For the 7 Holstein calves in each transport, the BW and rectal temperature (RT) were measured, and blood samples were collected at the farm of origin, before loading at the transit center (T2), after unloading at the farm of destination (T3), and 1, 2, 3, and 4 d after arrival. The body temperature (BT) and heart rate (HR) were continuously monitored from T2 to T3. The data were statistically analyzed according to a mixed model that considered the fixed effects of transport (repeated measurements), season of journey, and their interaction. Within the observed temperature-humidity index (THI) range (30 to 80), effective thermoregulation allowed the calves to maintain their BT with small physiologic changes to prevent thermal stress, particularly in the summer. With no seasonal differences, the HR was greater at loading than unloading (120 vs. 115 beats per min; P = 0.012). As for the transport effect, the BW was less (P < 0.001) after unloading, and the RT was greater (P = 0.004). This effect was more marked in summer. The hematological variables indicated a moderate effect of transport on the hydration condition, reactive and muscular systems, and metabolism, although hematocrit (P = 0.004), erythrocytes, cortisol, NEFA, β-hydroxybutyrate, lactate, creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase, and aspartate aminotransferase activity (P < 0.001), and total protein (P = 0.007) were greater after unloading. This was confirmed by a moderate decrease in total leukocytes (P = 0.031) and glucose concentration (P = 0.002). The changes in the clinical variables were similar for both seasons even though in the summer, hematocrit (P < 0.001), urea (P = 0.008), and total protein (P = 0.010) increased and glucose concentration (P = 0.038) decreased. In conclusion, the data did not show a pronounced effect attributable to the season of the journey. Long-distance road transport leads to notable changes in clinical and hematological variables at the end of the journey. However, these variables remained within their physiological ranges and returned to basal values within a few days after the journey.
    Journal of Animal Science 11/2011; 90(4):1183-91. · 2.09 Impact Factor
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    Diego Magnani, Simona Cafazzo, Pietro Calà, Leonardo Nanni Costa
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    ABSTRACT: The Backtest (BT), the Open Field (OF) and the Novel Object (NO) tests have been used to identify individual reaction patterns in piglets and to measure parameters that previous studies have shown to be correlated to the coping strategies of animals. The BT allows for the classification of piglets into two different "coping styles": high-resisting (HR) and low-resisting (LR), which respectively correspond to a (pro-)active and passive (or reactive) behavioural response. During previous research, the subjects were tested singularly, so the aim of this study was to investigate if differences between HR and LR animals could be detected when piglets are tested in a group using the OP and NO tests. A total of 132 piglets were subjected to the BT and then were housed in groups consisting of four individuals each so as to obtain HR pens, LR pens and mixed pens. We found differences in the pigs' behaviour during the OF and the NO tests and according to the type of group. Individual differences in the behavioural response of piglets to the Backtest were not predictive of the behavioural response of the animals subjected to the OF or to NO tests. Our results show that there are no relevant differences between HR and LR piglets when they are subjected in a group to novel situations.
    Behavioural processes 11/2011; 89(1):68-73. · 1.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Meat quality development is highly influenced by the pH decline caused by the postmortem (PM) glycolysis. Protein phosphorylation is an important mechanism in regulating the activity of glycometabolic enzymes. Here, a gel-based phosphoproteomic study was performed to analyze the protein phosphorylation in sarcoplasmic proteins from three groups of pigs with different pH decline rates from PM 1 to 24 h. Globally, the fast pH decline group had the highest phosphorylation level at PM 1 h, but lowest at 24 h, whereas the slow pH decline group showed the reverse case. The same pattern was also observed in most individual bands in 1-DE. The protein phosphorylation levels of 12 bands were significantly affected by the synergy effects of pH and time (p<0.05). Protein identification revealed that most of the phosphoproteins were glycometabolism-related enzymes, and the others were involved in stress response, phosphocreatine metabolism, and other functions. The phosphorylation of pyruvate kinase and triosephosphate isomerase-1 showed to be related to PM muscle pH decline rate. Our work sheds light on the potential role of protein phosphorylation on regulating meat quality development.
    Proteomics 08/2011; 11(20):4063-76. · 4.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study aimed to detect variability in CAST, CAPN1 and CAPN3 porcine genes and to investigate the effect of CAST and CAPN1 polymorphisms on the activity of native and autolyzed μ-calpain and m-calpain, measured from 1 to 72 h post-mortem in Longissimus dorsi (LD) muscle of 30 pigs. Effects of polymorphisms on meat quality parameter such as pH, color and drip loss were also evaluated. Samples carrying CAST EU137105:g.76,872AA genotype showed higher autolyzed μ-calpain activity 24 and 72 h post-mortem, as well as lower drip loss values. Expression of CAST, CAPN1 and CAPN3 was assessed in LD muscles divergent for shear force. Higher CAST and CAPN3 expression was found in LD with high shear force (P<0.2), confirming a direct role for calpastatin but not for calpain 3 in meat tenderization. In conclusion, CAST gene affected post-mortem activation time of calpain and drip loss.
    Meat Science 03/2011; 88(4):694-700. · 2.75 Impact Factor
  • XVth International Congress of the International Society for Animal Hygiene, BRNO; 01/2011
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this work was to identify and analyse DNA markers in two cathepsin genes, cathepsin L (CTSL) and cathepsin S (CTSS), and study their association with meat quality parameters (including cathepsin activity of post mortem muscle) and several production traits in Italian Large White pigs. In silico analysis of the porcine CTSL and CTSS genes identified two new single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), one located in exon 5 (CTSL) and one positioned in the 5'-untranslated region (CTSS). Allele frequencies of these two SNPs were evaluated in 7 different pig breeds. In addition, radiation hybrid mapping localized the CTSS gene on porcine chromosome 4, in an important QTL region for meat and fat deposition. Association analysis with meat quality traits, carried out in 268 Italian Large White pigs, indicated association of the CTSL polymorphism with average daily gain (ADG), weight of lean cuts (LC) and back fat thickness (BFT) estimated breeding values (P<0.05). Results for LC and BFT were also confirmed using a selective genotyping approach in other Italian Large White pigs (P<0.01). In the 268 Italian Large White pigs, the CTSS polymorphism was associated with feed:gain ratio and ADG (P<0.05). No association was observed between the analysed markers and meat quality parameters (pH(1), pH(u), lactate, glycogen, glycolytic potential and cathepsin activity, all measured on Musculus semimembranosus). Overall these results, together with those previously reported for other genes of this family, suggest that cathepsin genes play a role in defining economically important traits in pigs.
    Meat Science 06/2010; 85(2):331-8. · 2.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the influence of post-mortem pH decline on calpain activity and myofibrillar degradation. From 80 pigs, 30 Longissimus dorsi (LD) muscles were selected on the basis of pH values at 3h post-mortem and classified into groups of 10 as fast, intermediate and slow pH decline. The rate of pH decline early post-mortem differed between the three groups, but the ultimate pH values were similar at 24h. Calpain activity and autolysis from 1 to 72h post-mortem were determined using casein zymography and studied in relation to myofibrillar fragmentation. Colour and drip loss were measured. A faster decrease in pH resulted in reduced level of mu-calpain activity and increased autolysis of the enzyme, and hence an earlier loss of activity due to activation of mu-calpain in muscles with a fast pH decline. Paralleling the mu-calpain activation in muscles with a fast pH decline a higher myofibril fragmentation at 24h post-mortem was observed, which was no longer evident in the later phase of the tenderization process. In conclusion, the rate of early pH decline influenced mu-calpain activity and the rate but not the extent of myofibrillar degradation, suggesting an early effect of proteolysis on myofibril fragmentation that is reduced during ageing due to an earlier exhaustion of mu-calpain activity.
    Meat Science 05/2010; 85(1):110-4. · 2.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of mutations in 2 genes [IGF2 and cathepsin D (CTSD)] that map on the telomeric end of the p arm of SSC2. In this region, an imprinted QTL affecting muscle mass and fat deposition was reported, and the IGF2 intron3-g.3072G>A substitution was identified as the causative mutation. In the same chromosome region, we assigned, by linkage mapping, the CTSD gene, a lysosomal proteinase, for which we previously identified an SNP in the 3'-untranslated region (AM933484, g.70G>A). We have already shown strong effects of this CTSD mutation on several production traits in Italian Large White pigs, suggesting a possible independent role of this marker in fatness and meat deposition in pigs. To evaluate this hypothesis, after having refined the map position of the CTSD gene by radiation hybrid mapping, we analyzed the IGF2 and the CTSD polymorphisms in 270 Italian Large White and 311 Italian Duroc pigs, for which EBV and random residuals from fixed models were calculated for several traits. Different association analyses were carried out to distinguish the effects of the 2 close markers. In the Italian Large White pigs, the results for IGF2 were highly significant for all traits when using either EBV or random residuals (e.g., using EBV: lean cuts, P = 2.2 x 10(-18); ADG, P = 2.6 x 10(-16); backfat thickness, P = 2.2 x 10(-9); feed:gain ratio, P = 2.3 x 10(-9); ham weight, P = 1.5 x 10(-6)). No effect was observed for meat quality traits. The IGF2 intron3-g.3072G>A mutation did not show any association in the Italian Duroc pigs, probably because of the small variability at this polymorphic site for this breed. However, a significant association was evident for the CTSD marker (P < 0.001) with EBV of all carcass and production traits in Italian Duroc pigs (lean content, ADG, backfat thickness, feed:gain ratio) after excluding possible confounding effects of the IGF2 mutation. The effects of the CTSD g.70G>A mutation were also confirmed in a subset of Italian Large White animals carrying the homozygous genotype IGF2 intron3-g.3072GG, and by haplotype analysis between the markers of the 2 considered genes in the complete data set. Overall, these results indicate that the IGF2 intron3-g.3072G>A mutation is not the only polymorphism affecting fatness and muscle deposition on SSC2p. Therefore, the CTSD g.70G>A polymorphism could be used to increase selection efficiency in marker-assisted selection programs that already use the IGF2 mutation. However, for practical applications, because the CTSD gene should not be imprinted (we obtained this information from expression analysis in adult skeletal muscle), the different modes of inheritance of the 2 genes have to be considered.
    Journal of Animal Science 04/2010; 88(7):2235-45. · 2.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In order to find objective parameters for the evaluation of pig thighs to be used for PDO processing, digital images of the external surface of 384 left thighs were acquired, to be used for multivariate image analysis. The following parameters were also measured on the same samples: weight, length, circumference, thickness of fat and thigh, globosity index and colour of skin. Moreover, a subjective evaluation of veining and red skin defects was also made by an expert assessor. Multivariate analysis of the digital images showed a separation of the analysed samples in two clusters, whose differences were then investigated on the basis of the other traits. Various differences between the two clusters where found, mainly for the size-related parameters.
    Italian Journal of Animal Science. 01/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: The knowledge of genes and molecular processes controlling stress reactions and involved in the genetic system determining resistance to stress in pigs could be important for the improvement of meat quality. This research aimed to compare the expression profiles of skeletal muscle between physically stressed and not stressed pigs of different breeds immediately before slaughter. DNA microarray analysis showed that different functional categories of genes are up-regulated in stressed compared to not stressed pigs and relevant differences among breeds were found.
    Italian Journal of Animal Science. 01/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: Myostatin (MSTN) is a negative modulator of muscle mass. We characterized the horse (Equus caballus) MSTN gene and identified and analysed single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in breeds of different morphological types. Sequencing of coding, untranslated, intronic, and regulatory regions of MSTN gene in 12 horses from 10 breeds revealed seven SNPs: two in the promoter, four in intron 1, and one in intron 2. The SNPs of the promoter (GQ183900:g.26T>C and GQ183900:g.156T>C, the latter located within a conserved TATA-box like motif) were screened in 396 horses from 16 breeds. The g.26C and the g.156C alleles presented higher frequency in heavy (brachymorphic type) than in light breeds (dolichomorphic type such as Italian Trotter breed). The significant difference of allele frequencies for the SNPs at the promoter and analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) on haplotypes indicates that these polymorphisms could be associated with variability of morphology traits in horse breeds.
    BioMed Research International 01/2010; 2010. · 2.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The left and right hams of forty heavy pig carcasses were thermographed to evaluate whether surface temperature differences were related to meat and ham quality. Thermal imaging analysis showed no differences in average surface temperature among classes of pH or of L* colour co-ordinate nor among classes of ham defects such as veining and red skin. However, hams with a lower fat cover displayed a significantly warmer average temperature surface. Infrared thermography seems to be a practical and non-invasive method to detect hams with a fat cover below the minimum requested to be submitted to the dry-curing process.
    Italian Journal of Animal Science. 01/2010;
  • Italian Journal of Animal Science. 01/2010;
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    L Nanni Costa, D P Lo Fiego, Tassone F
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    ABSTRACT: A bruise is a tissue injury with rupture of the vascular supply and accumulation of blood and serum in tissues (Hoffman et al., 1998). Bruises can occur during each pre-slaughter operation including loading at the farm, transportation, and unloading and resting at the abattoir.
    Italian Journal of Animal Science. 01/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to determine the distribution of glycolytic potential (GP) and its relationships with meat pH and the estimated breeding values (EBVs) of some traits in Italian Large White pigs. GP was determined on samples taken from the semimembranosus muscle at 120 min postmortem. Values of GP were normally distributed around a mean value of µmol/g 103.5 ± 23.0. Increasing GP was associated with decreasing pH at 2 and 24 h postmortem. A nonlinear relationship was found between GP and pHu. GP also showed no relationship with the EBVs of daily gain and feed : gain ratio and a weak relationship with EBVs of carcass traits such as backfat thickness and lean cut weight. The positive but weak correlation between GP and EBV of ham weight loss during the first salting period may suggest a potential risk of using meat with high GP in dry-cured ham production.PRACTICAL APPLICATIONSGlycolytic potential is considered to be a determinant parameter for pork quality, especially when the meat is going to be processed. A better knowledge of its variation and its relationship with other valuable traits in vivo and postmortem is important in a breed such as the Italian Large White, largely used in the production of heavy pigs destined to produce meat for seasoned products. Data reported here on the variation of GP could suggest to breeder association the need to control this parameter in selection programs irrespectively to the presence of the RN- negative allele, as the relationship of GP with processing losses could hinder dry-cured ham producers.
    Journal of Muscle Foods 09/2009; 20(4):392 - 400. · 0.50 Impact Factor
  • S Dall'Olio, R Davoli, L Nanni Costa
    Veterinary Research Communications 08/2009; 33 Suppl 1:277-9. · 1.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to investigate the association of DNA markers in candidate genes for glycolytic potential on meat quality parameters (pH(1), pH(u), glycogen and lactate content and glycolytic potential of semimembranosus muscle) and estimated breeding values (EBVs) for average daily gain, lean cuts, back fat thickness, ham weight, and feed:gain ratio in 272 Italian Large White pigs. Three mutations in the PRKAG3 gene (T30N, G52S and I199V) were investigated as well as single nucleotide polymorphisms in two other skeletal muscle genes (PGAM2 and PKM2) involved in the glycolytic pathway. Association analysis with the PRKAG3 markers showed significant results (P<0.05) only for pH(1) (I199V, with significant additive effect) and lactate content (T30N), confirming, at least in part, the effects of this gene on meat quality traits. Significant association (P<0.05) was also observed for PGAM2 and ham weight EBV with significant additive and dominance effects. PKM2 was associated with average daily gain, lean cuts (P<0.001), back fat thickness and feed:gain ratio (P<0.05), with significant additive and/or dominance effects on these traits. PKM2 encodes for a key enzyme of the muscle glycolytic pathway and maps on porcine chromosome 7 where other studies have reported important QTL for the same traits. These data might suggest an important function of this gene in the mechanisms that produce the observed effects. The results will be important to evaluate the inclusion of some of these DNA polymorphisms in marker assisted selection programs.
    Meat Science 11/2008; 80(3):780-7. · 2.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of the present work was to characterize changes in calpain activity in pork post-mortem. Samples from pig M. longissimus dorsi and M. semimembranosus were collected three days post-mortem from 75 animals and analyzed with casein zymography. The results indicated post-mortem autolysis of m-calpain as two m-calpain bands were observed on the zymogram gel. Use of M. longissimus dorsi from three pigs collected at different times during storage further confirmed post-mortem autolysis of m-calpain. The activity of the autolyzed form of m-calpain was detectable at day 3 and further increased at day 6. The results also showed a decrease in the non-autolyzed m-calpain activity during post-mortem storage. Collectively, these results suggest that m-calpain is active post-mortem in porcine muscles.
    Meat Science 11/2008; 80(3):761-4. · 2.75 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

153 Citations
240 Downloads
2k Views
49.35 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2014
    • Università degli Studi di Siena
      Siena, Tuscany, Italy
  • 1999–2010
    • University of Bologna
      • School of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine
      Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
  • 2009
    • Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia
      Modène, Emilia-Romagna, Italy