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Published by Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Online ISSN: 1751-732X
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Article
Twenty Assaf lambs fed barley straw plus a concentrate alone (CONTROL group) or enriched with naringin (1.5 g/kg DM, NARINGIN group) were used to assess the effect of this polyphenolic compound on meat quality attributes. Serum samples were collected for 7 weeks, then the animals were slaughtered and the livers and longissimus thoracis et lumborum muscles extracted for analysis. Triacylglycerol levels in the serum samples tended to show (P = 0.087) lower average values for the NARINGIN group when compared with the CONTROL, but no differences were observed when the meat was analysed for the intramuscular fat content. Lower thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances procedure (TBARS) values (P < 0.001) in the liver of the NARINGIN group were detected, probably as a consequence of naringenin accumulation in this organ. No significant differences were observed in the meat samples concerning TBARS or colour evolution during refrigerated storage, as not enough naringenin would have reached the muscle. Independent of naringin administration, the low levels of the most atherogenic oxysterols must be highlighted as the most important quality score in the lamb meat samples studied.
 
Ingredients (g/kg) and chemical composition (g/kg dry matter) of the experimental concentrates and barley straw 
Discriminant analysis on the basis of PCA performed on matrix data showing the presence (1) or absence (0) of peaks detected by T-RFLP of ruminal content for Naringin (&) and Control (K) lambs. 
Article
Forty Assaf fattening lambs (initial age 13 to 15 weeks) offered a diet of barley straw and a commercial concentrate were used to assess the effect of naringin (a type of citrus flavonoid with proven antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties in monogastric animals) at a dose of 1.5 g/kg per dry matteron plasma lipid peroxidation thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), immune response, ruminal bacterial community and protection provided by the ruminal wall against subclinical acidosis. After 49 days of the experimental diets, lambs were subjected to a 4-h transportation stress period. As expected, TBARS values were significantly increased in all the lambs just after the transportation period, but no effect of naringin was observed. Although naringin lowered red blood cell count, neither the total white blood cells counts nor the production of IFN-γ were affected by naringin. No anti-inflammation activity preventing rumenitis was detected, but a clear effect on ruminal bacterial community was observed in lambs consuming naringin. Further experiments, using different doses of naringin might show health benefits of naringin supplementation in lambs, but a clear beneficial effect on health was not readily apparent in this study.
 
The nitrogen metabolism of 32 male mink kits exposed to either a low (FL) or an adequate (FA) protein supply during foetal life and fed either low (LP) or adequate (AP) dietary protein post-weaning from 7 to 9.5 weeks of age. The presented data are digested nitrogen, urinary nitrogen and retained nitrogen. a,b,c The mean values within trait with different lower-case superscript letters were significantly different (P , 0.05). 
Amino acid composition of the diets used postnatally containing AP or LP levels 
Sequence of gene-specific RT-PCR primers 
The relative mRNA abundance normalized to 18 s rRNA of leptin in adipose tissue from 32 male mink kits exposed to either a low (FL) or an adequate (FA) protein supply during foetal life and fed either low (LP) or adequate (AP) dietary protein post-weaning from 7 to 9.5 weeks of age. 
Feed and nutrient intake and the energy metabolism measured as ME, HE, RE and RF and the OXP, OXF and OXCHO in male mink kits exposed to FA or FL protein levels during foetal life combined with an AP or an LP supply from 7 to 9.5 weeks of age 
Article
Foetal life malnutrition has been studied intensively in a number of animal models. Results show that especially foetal life protein malnutrition can lead to metabolic changes later in life. This might be of particular importance for strict carnivores, for example, cat and mink (Neovison vison) because of their higher protein requirement than in other domestic mammals. This study aimed to investigate the effects of low protein provision during foetal life to male mink kits on their protein metabolism during the early post-weaning period of rapid growth and to investigate whether foetal life protein deficiency affects the response to adequate or deficient protein provision post weaning. Further, we intended to study whether the changes in the gene expression of key enzymes in foetal hepatic tissue caused by maternal protein deficiency were manifested post-weaning. A total of 32 male mink kits born to mothers fed either a low-protein diet (LP), that is, 14% of metabolizable energy (ME) from protein (foetal low - FL), n = 16, or an adequate-protein (AP) diet, that is, 29% of ME from protein (foetal adequate - FA), n = 16) in the last 16.3 ± 1.8 days of pregnancy were used. The FL offspring had lower birth weight and lower relative abundance of fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase (Fru-1,6-P2ase) and pyruvate kinase mRNA in foetal hepatic tissue than FA kits. The mothers were fed a diet containing adequate protein until weaning. At weaning (7 weeks of age), half of the kits from each foetal treatment group were fed an AP diet (32% of ME from protein; n = 8 FA and 8 FL) and the other half were fed a LP diet (18% of ME from protein; n = 8 FA and 8 FL) until 9.5 weeks of age, yielding four treatment groups (i.e. FA-AP, FA-LP, FL-AP and FL-LP). Low protein provision in foetal life lowered the protein oxidation post-weaning compared with the controls (P = 0.006), indicating metabolic flexibility and a better ability to conserve protein. This could not, however, be supported by changes in liver mass because of foetal life experience. A lower relative abundance of Fru-1,6-P2ase mRNA was observed (P < 0.05), being lower in 9.5-week-old FL than in FA kits. It can be concluded that foetal life protein restriction leads to changes in post-weaning protein metabolism through lower protein oxidation of male mink kits.
 
Effect of CAS of gilts and SW on Musculus longissimus dorsi traits and on FA profile of BF 
Article
A total of 200 (Landrace × Large White dam × Pietrain × Large White sire) gilts of 50 ± 3 days of age (23.3 ± 1.47 kg BW) were used to investigate the effects of castration (intact gilt, IG v. castrated gilt, CG) and slaughter weight (SW; 106 v. 122 kg BW) on productive performance, carcass and meat quality. Four treatments were arranged factorially and five replicates of 10 pigs each per treatment. Half of the gilts were ovariectomized at 58 days of age (8 days after the beginning of the trial at 29.8 ± 1.64 kg BW), whereas the other half remained intact. The pigs were slaughtered at 106 or 122 kg BW. Meat samples were taken at Musculus longissimus thoracis at the level of the last rib and subcutaneous fat samples were taken at the tail insertion. For the entire experimental period, CG had higher (P < 0.05) BW gain and higher (P < 0.001) backfat and Musculus gluteus medius fat thickness than IG. However, IG had higher (P < 0.05) loin and trimmed primal cut yields than CG. Meat quality was similar for IG and CG but the proportion of linoleic acid in subcutaneous fat was higher (P < 0.001) for IG. Pigs slaughtered at 122 kg BW had higher (P < 0.001) feed intake and poorer feed efficiency than pigs slaughtered at 106 kg BW. An increase in SW improved (P < 0.001) carcass yield but decreased (P < 0.05) trimmed primal cut yield. Meat from pigs slaughtered at the heavier BW was redder (a*; P < 0.001) and had more (P < 0.01) intramuscular fat and less thawing (P < 0.05) and cooking (P < 0.10) loss than meat from pigs slaughtered at the lighter BW. In addition, pigs slaughtered at 122 kg BW had less (P < 0.01) linoleic acid content in subcutaneous fat than pigs slaughtered at 106 kg BW. Castration of gilts and slaughtering at heavier BW are useful practices for the production of heavy pigs destined to the dry-cured industry in which a certain amount of fat in the carcass is required. In contrast, when the carcasses are destined to fresh meat production, IG slaughtered at 106 kg BW is a more efficient alternative.
 
Aorta fatty streak scoring in the New Zealand White rabbits fed a diet supplemented with 0.2% (dry matter, DM) cholesterol and containing 12% (DM) butter. Aortas were fixed with 10% buffered formalin solution and lipid depositions were stained with a solution of Oil Red O in isopropanol. The note 0 corresponded to the absence of fatty streak (A), the notes 1 or 2 corresponded to mild fatty streak (B and C, respectively), and the note 3 corresponded to strong lipid infiltration (D).  
Article
Dairy fat contains high amounts of saturated fatty acids (FA), which are associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Manipulation of dairy cows nutrition allows to decrease the saturated FA content of milk fat, and is associated with increases either in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and trans-11-C18:1 contents, or in trans-10-C18:1 content. CLA putatively exhibits beneficial properties on CVD risk, whereas trans FA are suspected to be detrimental. The present study compared the effects of a trans-10-C18:1-rich butter (T10 butter), a trans-11-C18:1+CLA-rich butter (T11-CLA butter) and a standard butter (S butter) on lipid parameters linked to the CVD risk and fatty streaks. Thirty-six White New Zealand rabbits were fed one of the three butters (12% of the diet, plus 0.2% cholesterol) for 6 (experiment 1) or 12 (experiment 2) weeks. Liver lipids, plasma lipids and lipoprotein concentrations (experiments 1 and 2) and aortic lipid deposition (experiment 2) were determined. The T10 butter increased VLDL-cholesterol compared with the two others, and total and LDL-cholesterol compared with the T11-CLA butter ( P < 0.05). The T10 butter also increased non-HDL/HDL ratio and aortic lipid deposition compared with the T11-CLA butter ( P < 0.05). The T11-CLA butter non-significantly reduced aortic lipid deposition compared with the S butter, and decreased HDL-cholesterol and increased liver triacyglycerols compared with the two other butters ( P < 0.05). These results suggest that, compared with the S butter, the T10 butter had detrimental effects on plasma lipid and lipoprotein metabolism in rabbits, whereas the T11-CLA butter was neutral or tended to reduce the aortic lipid deposition.
 
Ingredients and chemical composition of donor cow diets 
Ingredients and chemical composition of the substrates of in vitro incubations 
Effect of donor cow diet and in vitro substrates on the balance of trans-18:1 isomers (% of total fatty acids) after 5 h incubations (Cs 5 control substrate; HSs 5 high-starch substrate; LAs 5 added linoleic acid substrate; HS 1 LAs 5 high-starch plus added linoleic acid substrate).  
Initial pH (before and after the addition of pH 5 6 buffer solution), total FA amount (mg per flask) and C18 FA content (% of total FA) of the rumen fluids 
Effect of donor cow diet and in vitro substrates on final pH and rates (mg/l/h) and efficiencies of the three reactions of LA BH during 5 h incubations 
Article
On the basis of the isomer-specific effects of trans fatty acids (FA) on human health, and the detrimental effect of t10,c12-conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) on cows' milk fat production, there is a need to identify factors that affect the shift from trans-11 to trans-10 pathway during ruminal biohydrogenation of FA. This experiment was conducted in vitro and aimed at separating the effects of the diet of the donor cows from those of the fermentative substrate, which is necessary to prevent this shift. A total of four dry Holstein dairy cows were used in a 4 × 4 Latin square design. They received 12 kg of dry matter per day of four diets based on maize silage during four successive periods: the control diet (22% starch, <3% fat); the high-starch diet, supplemented with wheat plus barley (35% starch, <3% crude fat); the sunflower oil diet, supplemented with 5% of sunflower oil (20% starch, 7.6% crude fat); and the high-starch plus oil diet (33% starch, 7.3% crude fat). Ruminal fluid of each donor cow was incubated for 5 h with four substrates having similar chemical composition to the diets, replacing sunflower oil by pure linoleic acid (LA). The efficiency of isomerisation of LA to CLA was the highest when rumen fluids from cows receiving dietary oil were incubated with added LA. The shift from trans-11 to trans-10 isomers was induced in vitro by high-starch diets and the addition of LA. Oil supplementation to the diet of the donor cows increased this shift. Conversely, the trans-10 isomer balance was always low when no LA was added to incubation cultures. These results showed that a large accumulation of trans-10 FA was only observed with an adapted microflora, as well as an addition of non-esterified LA to the incubation substrate.
 
Article
A total of 72 male weaned pigs were used in a 110-day study to investigate the effect of feeding genetically modified (GM) Bt MON810 maize on selected growth and health indicators. It was hypothesised that in pigs fed Bt maize, growth and health are not impacted compared with pigs fed isogenic maize-based diets. Following a 12-day basal period, pigs (10.7 ± 1.9 kg body weight (BW); ∼40 days old) were blocked by weight and ancestry and randomly assigned to treatments: (1) non-GM maize diet for 110 days (non-GM), (2) GM maize diet for 110 days (GM), (3) non-GM maize diet for 30 days followed by GM maize diet up to day 110 (non-GM/GM) and (4) GM maize diet for 30 days followed by non-GM maize diet up to day 110 (GM/non-GM). BW and daily feed intake were recorded on days 0, 30, 60 and 110 (n = 15). Body composition was determined by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (n = 10) on day 80. Following slaughter on day 110, organs and intestines were weighed and sampled for histological analysis and urine was collected for biochemical analysis (n = 10). Serum biochemistry analysis was performed on days 0, 30, 60, 100 and 110. Growth performance and serum biochemistry were analysed as repeated measures with time and treatment as main factors. The slice option of SAS was used to determine treatment differences at individual time points. There was no effect of feeding GM maize on overall growth, body composition, organ and intestinal weight and histology or serum biochemistry on days 60 and 100 and on urine biochemistry on day 110. A treatment × time interaction was observed for serum urea (SU; P < 0.05), creatinine (SC; P < 0.05) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST; P < 0.05). On day 30, SU was lower for the non-GM/GM treatment compared with the non-GM, GM and GM/non-GM treatments (P < 0.05). On day 110, SC was higher for the non-GM/GM and GM/non-GM treatments compared with non-GM and GM treatments (P < 0.05). Overall, serum total protein was lower for the GM/non-GM treatment compared with the non-GM/GM treatment (P < 0.05). The magnitude of change observed in some serum biochemical parameters did not indicate organ dysfunction and the changes were not accompanied by histological lesions. Long-term feeding of GM maize to pigs did not adversely affect growth or the selected health indicators investigated.
 
Article
A total of eight Simmental heifers (114 ± 3.2 days old and weighing 118 ± 3.8 kg BW) were used to study the effects of feeding method on intake and animal behaviour in a crossover design experiment. Treatments consisted of feeding concentrate and chopped barley straw as (1) choice (CH; concentrate and straw in separate feedbunks) or (2) total mixed ration (TMR; concentrate and straw in one feedbunk). Feeds were offered on an ad libitum basis, but always maintaining a concentrate to straw ratio of 90 to 10. The experiment was performed in two 21-day periods, and sampling was carried out in the last week of each period. At the end of each period, treatment was changed for heifers; hence, the final number of animals per treatment was eight. Intake was recorded over 7 consecutive days. BW was recorded at the beginning and the end of the experiment and on day 21 of each experimental period. Barley straw was coarsely chopped with a chopping machine. Once chopped, all the straw was handled for particle size separation using the 2-screen Penn State Particle Separator and only material of more than 8 mm was used to feed the heifers. Animal behaviour was video-recorded for 24 h on day 2 and day 6 of each experimental period. Concentrate intake and total dry matter intake of heifers fed with the CH feeding method were higher (P < 0.01 and P < 0.05) than when fed with TMR (5.1 and 5.3 v. 4.7 and 5.0 kg dry matter (DM)/day, respectively). Conversely, barley straw was consumed in higher amounts in heifers fed with the TMR feeding method (0.3 v. 0.2 kg DM/day, respectively; P = 0.001). The total NDF intake was similar in both treatments. In contrast, NDF intake from barley straw and physically effective NDF intake were higher in heifers fed with the TMR feeding method than when fed with CH. Feeding method used to feed heifers did not affect the consumption of the different kinds of barley straw particles and eating and drinking behaviours but affected ruminating behaviour. Heifers fed TMR spent more time ruminating than heifers fed concentrate and barley straw separately (376 v. 287 min/day, respectively; P < 0.01). TMR as the feeding method in intensive beef production systems could be a good approach to promote roughage intake.
 
Representative radiochromatograms of desaturation of stearic acid ( 14 C-18:0) into oleic acid ( 14 C-18:1 n-9) (a, d), of vaccenic acid ( 14 C-VA) into 9cis,11trans CLA (b, e) and of 9cis,11trans CLA into 6cis,9cis,11trans 18:3 (c, f) in subcutaneous (SC) (a, b, c) and intermuscular (IM) (d, e, f) adipose tissue explants of Charolais steers. Adipose tissue slices were incubated in a medium containing a mixture of FA (0.75 mM) and 186 mM [1-14 C]-18:0 or 58.6 mM [1-14 C]-vaccenic acid or 56 mM [1-14 C]-9cis,11trans CLA for 16 h. Cellular lipids were extracted, transformed into methyl esters and analysed by gas-liquid chromatography. The outflow from the column was split between a flame-ionisation detector (15%) and a copper oxide oven in order to transform the labelled fatty acids into 14 CO 2 (85%). The radioactivity was determined with a radiodetector by counting 14 CO 2. The proportions of radioactivity recovered in other fatty acids were calculated as the ratio between the radioactivity corresponding to the metabolite and the sum of the radioactivity present in peak of precursor plus its corresponding metabolite. 
Extent of desaturation of stearic acid (18:0), vaccenic acid (VA) and 9cis, 11trans CLA (CLA) in subcutaneous (SC) and intermuscular (IM) adipose tissue explants of Charolais steers 
Article
Although endogenous synthesis of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in the mammary gland of lactating cows has been already well documented, no study has determined so far as to which tissue and/or organ is involved in CLA synthesis in the growing ruminant except one study showing that CLA synthesis does not occur in ruminant liver. In this context, adipose tissue appears to be a good candidate for endogenous synthesis of CLA in the growing ruminant. The aim of this study was to compare the respective metabolisms of 11trans 18:1 (vaccenic acid, VA) and 9cis,11trans 18:2 (rumenic acid) to that of stearic acid (the preferential substrate of Δ9 desaturase) in adipose tissues (subcutaneous, SC and intermuscular, IM) of six Charolais steers by using the in vitromethod of incubated tissue slices. Samples of SC and IM adipose tissues were incubated at 37°C for 16 h under an atmosphere of 95% O2/5% CO2 in a medium supplemented with 0.75 mM of fatty acid (FA) mixture (representative of circulating non-esterified FA) and 186 μM [1-14C]-18:0 or 58.6 μM [1-14C]-VA or 56 μM [1-14C]-9cis,11trans CLA. Viability of explants was verified by measuring metabolic functions (glucose uptake and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity). After 16 h of incubation, FA uptake was similar for all FA (18:0, VA and 9cis,11trans 18:2) in both SC and IM adipose tissues (around 40%). Once in adipose tissue, all FA were preferentially esterified (>80% of cell FA) favouring neutral lipid synthesis (around 90% of esterified FA). Stearic acid was highly (27%) desaturated into oleic acid in SC adipose tissue whereas this desaturation was much lower (6.8%) in IM adipose tissue (P < 0.0001). VA was desaturated into 9cis,11trans CLA at a low extent of about 2.5% to 4.4% in both adipose tissues probably because of a limited affinity of Δ9 desaturase for VA. 9cis,11trans CLA was itself converted by desaturation into 6cis, 9cis,11trans 18:3 at the intensity of 10.8% and 14.5% of cell 9cis,11trans CLA in SC and IM adipose tissues, respectively. In conclusion, bovine adipose tissues of the growing ruminant were especially involved in the endogenous synthesis of CLA from VA and in its desaturation into conjugated derivative, mainly 6cis, 9cis,11trans 18:3, of which biological properties need to be elucidated.
 
Article
Whether the rumen microbes are able to synthesize and/or degrade long-chain alkanes in anaerobic conditions remains a question to be answered before these hydrocarbons can be confidently used as duodenal flow or rumen transit markers. In this context, an experiment in vitro was carried out to establish whether within a rumen liquor fermentation system, n-alkanes can be derived from de-waxed structures of the plant or from non-alkane wax components (long-chain fatty alcohols, long-chain fatty acids and esters), or may be metabolized by bacteria to other components or to shorter-chain hydrocarbons. Ryegrass was labelled with 14C in growth chambers under controlled conditions in order to use it as a substrate. The labelled material obtained was separated in three fractions: labelled alkanes, labelled de-waxed plant and labelled wax components without the alkanes. These fractions were used for three different incubations in vitro, which objectives were as follows: 1. To check whether rumen bacteria can synthesize alkanes from carbon structures other than waxes (e.g. sugars). 2. To verify whether rumen bacteria can metabolize the n-alkanes to other compounds. 3. To check whether rumen bacteria can synthesize n-alkanes from other carbon compounds from waxes. The results showed that there was neither bacterial synthesis nor metabolism of the n-alkanes in in vitro conditions.
 
Article
A study was conducted to evaluate the effect of pre-weaning concentrate feeding in early-weaned (EW, day 90) or traditionally weaned (TW, day 150) autumn-born beef calves on growth, feed intake and feed efficiency, and carcass and meat quality. Twenty-eight male calves were either EW or TW, and offered a starter concentrate (S) or no additional feed (NS) during the pre-weaning period. Therefore, four management strategies were tested: EWS, EWNS, TWS and TWNS. Growth patterns were affected by management strategy. From day 90 to 150, TWNS calves presented a substantially lower average daily gain (ADG) than their counterparts, which had similar performance. During the finishing phase (from day 150 to slaughter at 450 kg live weight), EWS calves had the lowest ADG. Daily feed intake or efficiency in the finishing phase was unaffected by previous management. Serum IGF-I concentrations at day 90 and slaughter did not differ with management strategy, but early weaning and pre-weaning concentrate feeding increased IGF-I concentrations at day 150. Circulating leptin concentrations were unaffected by age at weaning and pre-weaning concentrate feeding, except for leptin concentrations at slaughter, which were higher in S calves than in NS calves. Total concentrate intake from birth to slaughter and the concomitant feed costs were higher for EWS and EWNS calves than for TWNS and TWS ones. However, cow feed costs were lower for cows whose calves had been early weaned. Concerning carcass quality, early weaning improved dressing percentage and increased fatness score, and particularly TWNS calves presented a poorer conformation. Meat quality was not affected by management strategy. Considering the economic performance, TWS, EWNS and EWS strategies yielded a similar economic margin, whereas TWNS would be the least advisable strategy when calves are fattened in the farm until slaughter.
 
Diet characteristics of the different experiments 
Differences in chemical composition of bacteria isolated from the solid and liquid fractions of the rumen content 
Amino acid composition (% of total analysed amino acids) of bacteria isolated from the solid and liquid fractions of rumen content 
Article
Previous studies have indicated that (15)N enrichment of solid-associated bacteria (SAB) may be predicted from the same value in liquid-associated bacteria (LAB). The aims of this study were to confirm this and to measure the error in the nutrient supply from SAB, when LAB are used as the reference sample. For this purpose, the chemical and amino acid (AA) compositions of both the bacterial populations were studied in four experiments carried out on different groups of three rumen cannulated wethers. Diets (one in Experiments 1 and 4 and three in Experiments 2 and 3) had forage-to-concentrate ratios (dry matter (DM) basis) between 2 : 1 and 40 : 60, and were consumed at intake levels between 40 and 75 g DM/kg (BW)(0.75). The bacteria samples were isolated after continuous infusion of ((15)NH(4))(2)SO(4) (40, 18, 30 and 25 mg (15)N/day, in Experiments 1 to 4, respectively) for at least 14 days. In all experiments, SAB had consistently higher concentrations of organic matter (826 v. 716 g/kg DM, as average) and total lipids (192 v. 95 g/kg DM, as average) than LAB. Similar CP concentrations of both populations were observed, except a higher concentration in SAB than in LAB in Experiment 3. A consistent (in Experiment 4 only as tendency) higher AA-N/total N ratio (on average 17.5%) was observed in SAB than in LAB. The (15)N enrichment in SAB was systematically lower than in LAB. On the basis of the results of all studies a close relationship was found between the (15)N enrichment in SAB and LAB, which was shown irrespective of experiments. This relationship was established from Experiments 1 and 2 and the above cited previous results (n = 20; P < 0.001; R(2) = 0.996), and then confirmed from the results of Experiments 3 and 4. These relationships between SAB and LAB demonstrate that CP supply from SAB is underevaluated by, on average, 21.2% when LAB are used as the reference. This underevaluation was higher for true protein and even higher for the lipid supply (32.5% and 59.6%, respectively, as an average of the four experiments). Large differences in AA profile were observed between SAB and LAB. The prediction equation obtained using (15)N as the marker may be used to correct the errors associated with the traditional use of LAB as the reference sample, and therefore to obtain more accurate estimates of the microbial nutrient supply to the ruminants.
 
Article
Osteochondrosis (OC) is an inherited developmental disease in young horses most frequently observed in thoroughbreds, trotters, warmblood and coldblood horses. Quantitative trait loci (QTL) for equine OC have been identified in Hanoverian warmblood horses employing a whole genome scan with microsatellites. A QTL on ECA16 reached the genome-wide significance level for hock osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD). The aim of this study was to refine this QTL on ECA16 using an extended marker set of 34 newly developed microsatellites and 15 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). We used the same 14 paternal half-sib groups as in the above-mentioned whole genome scan. The QTL for OCD in hock joints on ECA16 could be delimited at an interval between 17.60 and 45.18 Mb using multipoint non-parametric linkage analyses. In addition, six microsatellites and one SNP were significantly associated with hock OCD in the QTL region between 24.26 and 42.41 Mb. Furthermore, our analysis revealed a second QTL for fetlock OC between 6.55 and 24.26 Mb on ECA16. This report is a further step towards unravelling the genes underlying QTL for equine OC and towards the development of a marker test for OC in Hanoverian warmblood horses.
 
DGGE profiles of bacterial community associated with Italian ryegrass leaf (L), Italian ryegrass stem (S), rice straw (R) samples from rumen of three goats (A, B and C) after 30 min and 12 h of incubation. Solid arrow indicated bands existed after 30 min of incubation and disappeared after 12 h of incubation. White arrow indicated bands appeared after 12 h of incubation. The corresponding clones of bands indicated by solid arrow and their closest sequence relatives from the GenBank are: 1, A5 uncultured rumen bacterium; 2, A6 Roseburia intestinalis; 3, A7 uncultured bacterium and 4, A10 Eubacterium ramulus. M-marker.
DGGE profiles of bacteria community associated with Italian ryegrass leaf (L), Italian ryegrass stem (S), rice straw (R) samples from rumen of goat C during different incubation time (10 min, 30 min, 1, 6, 12 and 24 h). Solid arrow indicated bands existed from 10 min to 6 h of incubation and then disappeared. White arrow indicated bands appeared from 12 h of incubation. Band I matching B. fibrisolvens existed at all substrates during the 24 h of incubation. The corresponding clones of bands indicated by solid arrow and their closest sequence relatives from the GenBank are: 1, A5 uncultured rumen bacterium; 2, A6 Roseburia intestinalis; 3, A7 uncultured bacterium and 4, A10 Eubacterium ramulus. M-marker.  
Similarity analysis of DGGE profiles of bacterial community associated with different substrate samples from rumen of different goat. (a) goat C after 10 min, 30 min, 1, 6, 12 and 24 h of incubation; (b) goat A, B and C after 30 min and 12 h of incubation. L – ryegrass leaf, S – ryegrass stem, R – rice straw. Figures 1 through 6 indicate different incubation time: 1, 10 min; 2, 30 min; 3, 1 h; 4, 6 h; 5, 12 h; and 6, 24 h. For example, S1 means DGGE profiles of bacterial community associated with ryegrass stem after 10 min incubation; CL5 means DGGE profiles of bacterial community associated with ryegrass leaf after 12 h incubation of goat C.  
DGGE profiles of rumen content bacterial and rice strawassociated bacterial community of goat C after 1, 6, 12 and 24 h of feeding. The corresponding clones of bands indicated by solid arrow and their closest sequence relatives from the GenBank are: 1, A5 uncultured rumen bacterium; 2, A6 Roseburia intestinalis; 3, A7 uncultured bacterium and 4, A10 Eubacterium ramulus.  
Article
In the rumen, plant particles are colonised and degraded by the rumen micro-organisms. Although numerous important findings about fibre-associated bacterial community were obtained using traditional or molecular techniques, little information is available on the dynamics of bacteria associated with feed particles during incubation in the rumen. In the present study, ryegrass leaf, ryegrass stem and rice straw, representing different carbohydrate compositions, were used as substrates and placed in the rumen of goats by using nylon bags, and PCR/DGGE (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis) with subsequent sequence analysis were used to monitor the dynamics of and identify bacteria associated with the substrates during 24 h of incubation. DGGE results showed that substrate samples collected from 10 min to 6 h had similar DGGE patterns, with up to 24 predominant bands to each sample, including 14 common bands to all samples, suggesting a rapid and stable colonisation by a highly diverse bacterial community. Substrate samples collected at 12 and 24 h showed similar DGGE patterns but had great difference in DGGE patterns from those collected at 10 min to 6 h, suggesting an apparent shift in bacterial community. Sequence analysis indicated that most substrate-associated bacteria were closely related to fibrolytic bacteria. In conclusion, a highly diverse and similar rumen bacterial community could immediately colonise to different substrates and remained stable during the initial 6 h of incubation, but experienced a marked change after 12 h of incubation. Italian ryegrass leaf, Italian ryegrass stem and rice straw were colonised with a similar bacterial community.
 
Quantitative real-time PCR analysis of total methanogens (mean 6 SD) in samples from different rumen fractions of four cattle 
Comparison of the three libraries with clone percentage and nearest known species 
The novel methanogen-like sequence in the three libraries Compared with the nearest relative 
Article
Three methanogen 16S rRNA gene clone libraries were constructed from liquid (LM), solid (SM) and epithelium (EM) fractions taken from the rumen of Jinnan cattle in China. After the amplification by PCR using methanogen-specific primers Met86F and Met1340R, equal quantities of PCR products from the same fractions from each of the four cattle were mixed together and used to construct the three libraries. Sequence analysis showed that the 268 LM clones were divided into 35 phylotypes with 18 sequences of phylotypes affiliated with the genus Methanobrevibacter (84.3% of clones). The 135 SM clones were divided into 19 phylotypes with 11 phylotypes affiliated with the genus Methanobrevibacter (77.8%). The 267 EM clones were divided into 33 phylotypes with 15 phylotypes affiliated with the genus Methanobrevibacter (77.2%). Clones closely related to Methanomicrobium mobile and Methanobrevibacter wolinii were only found in the LM library, and those to Methanobrevibacter ruminantium and Methanobrevibacter gottschalkii only in the SM library. LM library comprised 12.4% unidentified euryarchaeal clones, SM library 23.7% and EM library 25.5%, respectively. Five phylotypes (accession number: EF055528 and EF055531-EF055534) did not belong to the Euryarchaeota sequences we had known. One possible new genus (represented by phylotype E17, accession number EF055528) belonging to Methanobacteriaceae was identified from EM library. Quantitative real-time PCR for the first time revealed that epithelium fraction had significantly higher density of methanogens, with methanogenic mcrA gene copies (9.95 log 10 (copies per gram of wet weight)) than solid (9.26, P < 0.01) and the liquid (8.44, P < 0.001). The three clone libraries also appeared different in Shannon index (EM library 2.12, LM library 2.05 and SM library 1.73). Our results showed that there were apparent differences in the methanogenic diversity and abundance in the three different fractions within the rumen of Jinnan cattle, with Methanobrevibacter species predominant in all the three libraries and with epithelium fraction having more unknown species and higher density of methanogens.
 
Differences in BWs (g) along the study, measured before the injections 
concentrations of E 2 , FSH, Ca, P, daily food conceptions/bird, daily egg production/bird, egg weight and eggshell strength in control and test groups 
Article
The aim of this study was to measure the effect of estradiol-17β (E2) injection on follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) secretion and egg-laying performance of Japanese quail. Female Japanese quail were housed in cages and fed ad libitum. After a 7-day adaptation period, the birds were randomly assigned to three groups, that is, one control group and two test groups. The birds were weighed, before every injection. The control group was subcutaneously injected with 0.2 ml sesame oil-ethanol mixture, whereas test groups were injected, twice in a week, with 0.2 ml sesame oil-ethanol mixture containing 0.1 or 0.2 mg E2 along the study. One day after the first injection, egg number, egg weight, eggshell strength and food conception were daily recorded. On the last day of the experiment, the birds were injected and 3 h later seven birds from each group were randomly selected for bleeding. Blood samples (2 ml/bird) were collected from the jugular vein for the measurements of serum concentrations of E2, FSH, calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P). E2 injection did not cause any significant changes in serum FSH concentrations, daily egg laid/bird, food conception/bird, serum concentrations of the Ca and the P. Egg weight was significantly increased in the 0.1 mg E2-injected group as compared with the control and 0.2 mg E2-injected groups. Eggshell strength in the 0.2 mg E2-injected group was significantly high as compared with the control, whereas the difference between the 0.1 mg E2- and 0.2 mg E2-injected groups was not statistically important. These results show that serum FSH concentration was not increased even when slightly suppressed by subcutaneous injection of 0.1 or 0.2 mg E2. Different doses of E2 have different functions. The increase in BWs in the 0.1 mg E2-injected group was a result of the dose effect, which probably increased growth hormone secretion from the pituitary or IGF-1 synthesis from the liver or both. The dose, 0.2 mg E2, was ineffective in increasing the BW, but it significantly increased eggshell strength probably via the increase in Ca and P utilizations.
 
Article
This trial was conducted to study the effect of livestock production system (freedom extensive system (FES) v. semi extensive system (SES)) and amount of finishing feed (1.5 v. 3.0 kg of commercial feed) in SES on carcass characteristics, meat quality and nutritional value of meat foal slaughtered at 18 months of age. For this study, a total of 49 foals (21 from FES and 28 from SES) were used. The obtained results showed that SES had a positive influence on carcass characteristic because these foals showed the best values for live weight, carcass weight, dressing percentage, perimeter of leg (PL) and carcass compactness index. On the other hand, finishing feeding also had a significant (P<0.05) effect on PL and lean thickness, as the highest values were obtained in foals finished with 3 kg of commercial fodder. The physico-chemical properties were significantly affected by the livestock production system with the exception of ashes content (P>0.05). Foals finished in SES increased in 408% the intramuscular fat content (0.23 v. 1.17%, for foals reared in FES and SES, respectively). On the other hand, L*-value and a*-value were significantly (P<0.01) affected by livestock production system, as foals from the FES group had a more intense redder color (higher CIE a*-value) and higher lightness (higher CIE L*-value) compared with those from the SES group. Finally, meat nutritional value was significantly affected by livestock production system, as foals from an extensive production system on wood pasture could be considered as healthier in relation to their fatty acid profiles (low n-6/n-3 ratio and high hypocholesterolemic/hypercholesterolemic ratio) as a result of the beneficial grass intake on meat fatty acid profile.
 
Article
Heritability estimates and genetic correlations were obtained for body weight and scrotal circumference, adjusted, respectively, to 12 (BW12 and SC12) and 18 (BW18 and SC18) months of age, for 10 742 male Nellore cattle. The adjustments to SC12 and SC18 were made using a nonlinear logistic function, while BW12 and BW18 were obtained by linear adjustment. The contemporary groups (CGs) were defined from animals born on the same farm, in the same year and birth season. The mean heritability estimates obtained using the restricted maximum likelihood method in bi-trait analysis were 0.25, 0.25, 0.29 and 0.42 for BW12, BW18, SC12 and SC18, respectively. The genetic correlations were 0.30 ± 0.11, 0.21 ± 0.13, 0.21 ± 0.11, -0.08 ± 0.15, 0.16 ± 0.12 and 0.89 ± 0.04 between the traits BW12 and BW18; BW12 and SC12; BW12 and SC18; BW18 and SC12; BW18 and SC18; and SC12 and SC18. The heritability for SC18 was considerably greater than for SC12, suggesting that this should be included as a selection criterion. The genetic correlation between BW18 and SC12 was close to zero, indicating that these traits did not influence each other. The contrary occurred between SC12 and SC18, indicating that selection using one of these could alter the other. Because of the mean magnitudes of heritabilities in the various measurements of weight and scrotal perimeter, it is suggested that the practice of individual selection for these traits is possible.
 
Composition of the basal total mixed ration 
Effect of graded levels of vitamin E on FA profiles (% of total FAs) in subcutaneous fat of steers fed a barley-based diet Vitamin E level (IU DL-a-tocopheryl acetate/animal per day) P-value 
Article
The current study was conducted to determine the effect of different α-tocopherol (vitamin E) inclusion levels on trans(t)-18:1 and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) profiles in subcutaneous and intramuscular fat of steers fed a barley-based diet. Fifty-six feedlot steers were offered a barley-based finisher diet (73% steam rolled barley, 22% barley silage and 5% supplement as-fed basis) with four levels of supplementary dl-α-tocopheryl acetate (340, 690, 1040 or 1740 IU/steer per day) for 120 days. Adding vitamin E to the diet had little effect on the overall fatty acid composition of intramuscular fat. The proportion of individual and total t,t- and cis(c),t-CLA, n-3 fatty acids, total polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), mono-unsaturated fatty acids and saturated fatty acids to PUFA ratio in subcutaneous fat were not influenced (P > 0.05) by dietary vitamin E supplementation. Increasing levels of vitamin E led to linear reductions in t6-/t7-/t8-18:1 and t10-18:1 (P < 0.05), and linear increase in t11-/t10-18:1 ratio (P < 0.05) in subcutaneous fat. The content of 20:3n-6 and total n-6 in subcutaneous fat decreased (P < 0.05) linearly with increasing amounts of vitamin E. The subcutaneous fat n-6:n-3 ratio showed a quadratic (P < 0.05) response to vitamin E. In conclusion, although vitamin E supplementation has some potential to reduce t10-18:1 formation and increase t11-/t10-18:1 ratio in subcutaneous fat of cattle fed barley-based diets, the changes in the present study were limited and may not have been sufficient to impact on human health.
 
Summary of number and percentage of replacement dairy heifers that failed to reach first calving 
Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for heifer-level variables included in final model associated with perinatal mortality 
Article
The incidence of mortality and culling in Holstein-Friesian heifers from birth through first calving was determined on 19 dairy farms selected from across southern England. The outcome of 1097 calvings was determined. Size (BW, heart girth, crown-rump length and height at withers) and insulin-like growth factor-I concentration of live heifer calves were measured at a mean age of 26 ± 0.7 days (n = 506). Associations between the heifer-level variables and mortality were determined using clustered binary logistic regression. Perinatal mortality (stillbirths and mortality within the first 24 h of birth) of male and female calves was 7.9%. This figure was significantly higher in cases where calving assistance was required (19.1% v. 5.6%, P < 0.001) and in twin births (18.5% v. 7.0%, P < 0.05), and was lower in pluriparous v. primiparous dams (5.6% v. 12.1%, P < 0.01). On average, 6.8% of heifers died or were culled between 1 day and 6 months of age. Low BW at 1 month was associated with reduced subsequent survival up to 6 months. Between 6 months and first calving, a further 7.7% of heifers either died (42%) or were culled (58%); accidents and infectious disease accounted for the majority of calf deaths between 6 and 15 months, whereas infertility (16/450 animals served, 3.5%) was the main reason for culling following the start of the first breeding period. In total, 11 heifers (2.2%) were culled as freemartins; eight at birth and three around service. Overall, 14.5% of liveborn potential replacement heifers died or were culled before first calving.
 
Effect of time of birth (first, second or third part of farrowing) on piglet's probability of stillbirth in two populations produced by use of frozen semen collected on boars born in 1977 or 1998 (G77 and G98 piglets).  
Criteria for piglet birth difficulties and risk of hypoxia
Number of records according to dam parity and genetic group
(R) of deviance (D) for probability of piglet stillbirth due to the addition of several potentially explanatory factors either globally or for two populations produced by use of frozen semen collected on boars born in 1977 or 1998 (G77 and G98)
Article
The objective of the study was to estimate genetic trends from 1977 to 1998 in the French Large White (LW) breed for stillbirth and associated traits measured at farrowing using frozen semen. Two groups of pigs (G77 and G98) were obtained by inseminating LW sows with semen from LW boars born either in 1977 or in 1998. A second generation was produced by inter se mating in each group. Farrowing was thoroughly supervised through both direct observations and video recording all long farrowing on a total of 137 first- and second-parity litters produced by sows from this second generation (68 G77 and 69 G98 litters, respectively). Measurements included birth time, weight and birth characteristics (including orientation, presence of cyanosis or oedema, membrane obstruction, umbilical cord length/content) of each piglet, as well as sow traits (weight and backfat thickness, farrowing duration, litter size and within-litter variation of weights at birth). The data were analysed using linear or generalised linear mixed models, according to the definition of the trait (continuous or binary data). The importance of several effects to piglet probability of stillbirth was then quantified by computing the reduction of variance associated with the addition of each effect in the model. Litter size did not significantly differ in first parity, but was higher in G98 second-parity sows: the differences for global (including pre partum dead piglets) and total numbers of piglets born per litter were +2.3 ± 1.1 and +1.3 ± 0.6, respectively. G98 sows also had a higher number of stillbirths in both parities (+0.7 ± 0.3 stillborn per litter). Piglets from G98 litters were heavier at birth (+130 ± 40 g for birth weight adjusted for litter size), without any increase in within-litter heterogeneity of birth weight. No significant difference was detected between G77 and G88 groups for farrowing length and the distribution of time interval between piglet births. G98 stillborn piglets had longer and more often empty umbilical cords at birth. G98 piglets born alive also had more often umbilical nodes than G77 piglets. These characteristics were considered as indicators of increased farrowing difficulties and risk of hypoxia at birth in G98 pigs. Time of birth of each piglet, sow fatness at farrowing and time of first placenta expulsion were the main factors of variation of the piglet's probability of stillbirth.
 
Fixed between subjects effects considered in the models of analysis for each trait 
Least-squares means and estimated genetic trends (DG) for endocrine, carcass composition and meat quality traits of G77 and G98 pigs (Large White breed) 
Scatter plot and regression line between estimated carcass lean content (ECLC) and concentration of cortisol in urine (ng/mg creatinine, ln scale) in the Large White (LW) breed. 
Article
An experimental design aiming at analysing the consequences of genetic selection from 1977 to 1998-2000 on the evolution of stress-responsive systems in the French Large White (LW) and Landrace (LR) pig populations was conducted by INRA and IFIP-Institut du Porc. Large White sows were inseminated with semen from LW boars born in 1977 (frozen semen) or in 1998 and their second-generation offspring were station-tested. Landrace sows were inseminated with semen from LR boars born in 1977 (frozen semen) or in 1999 to 2000, and their progeny was station-tested. Urinary concentration of stress hormones (cortisol and catecholamines) and traits related to carcass composition (estimated carcass lean content (ECLC) and global adiposity) and meat quality (pH 24 h) were measured. For the two populations, selection carried out since 1977 led to an increase in ECLC and a decrease in carcass adiposity. Between 1977 and 1998 to 2000, urinary concentrations of stress hormones were unchanged in the LR breed, but were decreased in the LW breed. Moreover, for the animals generated from LW boars born in 1977 and in 1998, urinary cortisol levels were negatively correlated with ECLC. Therefore, in the LW breed, selection carried out for higher ECLC resulted in a decrease in cortisol production, as well as a reduction of catecholamine production that may be responsible for the lower ultimate pH of meat. Therefore, selection carried out for increased carcass lean content led, in this breed, to large modifications in the functioning of the stress-responsive systems, thereby influencing a large range of physiological regulations and technical properties such as carcass composition and meat pH, which remained however in the normal range for acceptable meat quality.
 
Least-squares means (LSM), estimated genetic trend (DG) -for body composition at birth of G77 and G98 piglets 
Least-squares means (LSM) and estimated genetic trends (DG) -for the composition of longissimus dorsi muscle of G77 and G98 piglets 
Least-squares means (LSM) and estimated genetic trends (DG) -for liver weight and liver and muscle glycogen content of G77 and G98 piglets 
Least-squares means (LSM) and estimated genetic trends (DG) -for blood plasma parameters of G77 and G98 piglets 
Article
Genetic trends for body composition and blood plasma parameters of newborn piglets were estimated through the comparison of two groups of pigs (G77 and G98, respectively) produced by inseminating Large White (LW) sows with semen from LW boars born either in 1977 or in 1998. Random samples of 18 G77 and 19 G98 newborn piglets were used for whole carcass and tissue sampling. Plasma concentrations of glucose, albumin and IGF-1 were determined on 75 G77 and 90 G98 piglets from 18 litters. The G98 piglets had less carcass dry matter, protein and energy (P < 0.01) than their G77 counterparts. When expressed in g/kg birth weight, livers were lighter (P < 0.001) and contained less glycogen (P < 0.01) in G98 piglets, with no difference in the activity of the hepatic glucose-6-phosphatase between G98 and G77 piglets. Concentrations of protein, DNA, RNA in longissimus dorsi muscle were unaffected by selection. Plasma concentrations of glucose (P < 0.05) and IGF-1 (P < 0.01) were lower in G98 than in G77 piglets. On the whole, the results suggest that the improvement in lean growth rate and in sow prolificacy from 1977 to 1998 has resulted in a lower maturity of piglets at birth.
 
Article
The development of analytical methods to verify the production system of meat products requires the identification of biomarkers that can trace the product's origin, and secondly the factors that govern the deposition of these markers in animal tissue need to be defined. In this study, 2,3-octanedione, skatole and terpenes were selected as biomarkers, and their deposition was investigated in bull calves reared under three different strategies. All of the animals were reared indoors until approximately 150 days of age. They were suckled twice a day by their mothers, and both calves and cows had free access to cocksfoot hay. Then the first two groups of animals were kept indoors, suckled by their mothers twice a day and received either cocksfoot hay (HL) or freshly cut-green herbage (GL) and a limited quantity of concentrate. The third group of calves (PH) was kept on pasture with their mothers and offered concentrate ad libitum. The pasture supporting the PH animals was highly diversified, containing several terpene-rich plant species, whereas the herbage for the GL animals contained no species known to be aromatic. Perirenal and subcutaneous adipose tissues were analysed for volatile compounds. The perirenal fat was found to be more responsive to the treatment and a more reliable substrate than the subcutaneous adipose tissue. Higher levels of 2,3-octanedione (P < 0.05) were found in PH and GL than in HL fat (6.56, 6.51 and 5.77 area arbitrary units, respectively, in perirenal fat), confirming the ability of this molecule to trace green herbage feeding. Skatole was detected in the perirenal and subcutaneous fat of all the animals. Animals receiving high concentrate level (PH group) presented lower (P < 0.05) skatole values (5.83 area arbitrary units in perirenal fat) than animals receiving low concentrate level (HL and GL groups, 6.23 and 6.71 area arbitrary units, respectively, in perirenal fat). Terpenoids, and especially sesquiterpenes, were found at higher levels and diversities in the PH than in the GL and HL animals. Two monoterpenoids allowed group discrimination considering perirenal or subcutaneous fat without distinction, whereas 11 and 5 sesquiterpenoids from perirenal and subcutaneous fat, respectively, allowed it.
 
Article
The aim of this study was to investigate protein requirements for the maintenance and growth of blue-breasted quail (Excalfactoria chinensis) from 7 to 21 days of age. A total of 180 quails, 7 days old, were randomly assigned to 36 cages and for 2 weeks were fed diets with a metabolisable energy concentration of 12.13 MJ/kg and a dietary CP concentration of 125, 150, 175, 200, 225 or 250 g/kg. The average BW per cage and the feed intake per cage were recorded daily. The results showed that quails fed 125 g/kg CP could not maintain their BW and had negative feed efficiency. There were linear and quadratic relationships between CP level and response criteria, including BW, weight gain, feed intake, feed efficiency, final body nitrogen mass and body nitrogen accretion (P<0.05). The dietary CP requirements, as calculated using a one-slope quadratic broken-line model, were 211 and 202 g/kg according to weight gain and feed efficiency, respectively. The regression equations, on the basis of metabolic BW, of daily weight gain on daily protein intake according to the model were Y=0.137-2.128(0.113-X) if X<0.113 and Y=0.137 if X>or=0.113 (R2=0.96, P<0.001), which meant that the protein requirement for maintenance was 0.049 times the metabolic BW and that to gain 1 g weight quails needed to ingest an extra 0.47 g protein after the maintenance requirement was satisfied. The regression equations, on the basis of metabolic BW, of daily body nitrogen accretion on daily protein intake according to the model were Y=5.667-76.700(0.119-X) if X<0.119 and Y=5.667 if X>or=0.119 (R2=0.95, P<0.001), which meant that quails had to receive an amount of protein equal to their metabolic BW multiplied by 0.045 to satisfy the requirement for maintenance and then ingest an extra 13 g protein to accrete 1 g body nitrogen. In conclusion, growth or protein accretion rates should be regulated according to dietary CP for specific experimental purposes via apportioning protein requirements for maintenance v. growth.
 
Ingredients and chemical composition of the diet 
Article
The effect of different weaning ages, that is, 21 (G21), 28 (G28) or 35 (G35) days, on growth and certain parameters of the digestive tract was examined in rabbits to assess the risk of early weaning attributable to the less-developed digestive system. On days 35 and 42, G35 rabbits had 10% to 14% and 10% higher BW, respectively (P < 0.05), than those weaned at days 21 and 28. In the 4th week of life, early weaned animals had 75% higher feed intake than G28 and G35 rabbits (P < 0.05). The relative weight of the liver increased by 62% between 21 and 28 days of age, and thereafter it decreased by 76% between 35 and 42 days of age (P < 0.05), with G21 rabbits having 29% higher weight compared with G35 animals on day 35 (P < 0.05). The relative weight of the whole gastrointestinal (GI) tract increased by 49% and 22% after weaning in G21 and G28 rabbits, respectively (P < 0.05). On day 28, the relative weight of the GI tract was 19% higher in G21 than in G28 rabbits, whereas on day 35 G21 and G28 animals had a 12% heavier GI tract compared with G35 rabbits (P < 0.05). Age influenced the ratio of stomach, small intestine and caecum within the GI tract; however, no effect of different weaning age was demonstrated. The pH value of the stomach and caecum decreased from 5.7 to 1.6 and from 7.1 to 6.3, respectively, whereas that of the small intestine increased from 6.8 to 8.4 (P < 0.05); the differences between groups were not statistically significant. Strictly anaerobic culturable bacteria were present in the caecum in high amounts (108), already at 14 days of age; no significant difference attributable to weaning age was demonstrable. The concentration of total volatile fatty acids (tVFA) was higher in G21 than in G28 and G35 throughout the experimental period (P < 0.05). The proportion of acetic and butyric acid within tVFA increased, whereas that of propionic acid decreased, resulting in a C3 : C4 ratio decreasing with age. Early weaning (G21) resulted in higher butyric acid and lower propionic acid proportions on day 28 (P < 0.05). No interaction between age and treatment was found, except in relative weight of the GI tract and caecal content. In conclusion, early weaning did not cause considerable changes in the digestive physiological parameters measured, but it resulted in 10% lower growth in rabbits.
 
Simplified flow diagram of the interactions within integrated agriculture–aquaculture systems.
Schematic representation of conventional and organic rabbit production systems. Major (solid lines) and more marginal (dashed lines) contributions to agroecological principles (AEP) in the organic system (G = gestation; L = lactation).
Article
Agroecology and industrial ecology can be viewed as complementary means for reducing the environmental footprint of animal farming systems: agroecology mainly by stimulating natural processes to reduce inputs, and industrial ecology by closing system loops, thereby reducing demand for raw materials, lowering pollution and saving on waste treatment. Surprisingly, animal farming systems have so far been ignored in most agroecological thinking. On the basis of a study by Altieri, who identified the key ecological processes to be optimized, we propose five principles for the design of sustainable animal production systems: (i) adopting management practices aiming to improve animal health, (ii) decreasing the inputs needed for production, (iii) decreasing pollution by optimizing the metabolic functioning of farming systems, (iv) enhancing diversity within animal production systems to strengthen their resilience and (v) preserving biological diversity in agroecosystems by adapting management practices. We then discuss how these different principles combine to generate environmental, social and economic performance in six animal production systems (ruminants, pigs, rabbits and aquaculture) covering a long gradient of intensification. The two principles concerning economy of inputs and reduction of pollution emerged in nearly all the case studies, a finding that can be explained by the economic and regulatory constraints affecting animal production. Integrated management of animal health was seldom mobilized, as alternatives to chemical drugs have only recently been investigated, and the results are not yet transferable to farming practices. A number of ecological functions and ecosystem services (recycling of nutrients, forage yield, pollination, resistance to weed invasion, etc.) are closely linked to biodiversity, and their persistence depends largely on maintaining biological diversity in agroecosystems. We conclude that the development of such ecology-based alternatives for animal production implies changes in the positions adopted by technicians and extension services, researchers and policymakers. Animal production systems should not only be considered holistically, but also in the diversity of their local and regional conditions. The ability of farmers to make their own decisions on the basis of the close monitoring of system performance is most important to ensure system sustainability.
 
The cell cycle regulator expressed higher in adipose in both human and mouse 
Article
Increase of fat cells (FCs) in adipose tissue is attributed to proliferation of preadipocytes or immature adipocytes in the early stage, as well as adipogenic differentiation in the later stage of adipose development. Although both events are involved in the FC increase, they are contrary to each other, because the former requires cell cycle activity, whereas the latter requires cell cycle withdrawal. Therefore, appropriate regulation of cell cycle inhibition is critical to adipogenesis. In order to explore the important cell cycle inhibitors and study their expression in adipogenesis, we adopted a strategy combining the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database available on the NCBI website and the results of quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) data in porcine adipose tissue. Three cell cycle inhibitors - cyclin G2 (CCNG2), cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2C (CDKN2C) and peripheral myelin protein (PMP22) - were selected for study because they are relatively highly expressed in adipose tissue compared with muscle, heart, lung, liver and kidney in humans and mice based on two GEO DataSets (GDS596 and GDS3142). In the latter analysis, they were found to be more highly expressed in differentiating/ed preadipocytes than in undifferentiated preadipocytes in human and mice as shown respectively by GDS2366 and GDS2743. In addition, GDS2659 also suggested increasing expression of the three cell cycle inhibitors during differentiation of 3T3-L1 cells. Further study with qPCR in Landrace pigs did not confirm the high expression of these genes in adipose tissue compared with other tissues in market-age pigs, but confirmed higher expression of these genes in FCs than in the stromal vascular fraction, as well as increasing expression of these genes during in vitro adipogenic differentiation and in vivo development of adipose tissue. Moreover, the relatively high expression of CCNG2 in adipose tissue of market-age pigs and increasing expression during development of adipose tissue was also confirmed at the protein level by western blot analysis. Based on the analysis of the GEO DataSets and results of qPCR and Western blotting we conclude that all three cell cycle inhibitors may inhibit adipocyte proliferation, but promote adipocyte differentiation and hold a differentiated state by inducing and maintaining cell cycle inhibition. Therefore, their expression in adipose tissue is positively correlated with age and mature FC number. By regulating the expression of these genes, we may be able to control FC number, and, thus, reduce excessive fat tissue in animals and humans.
 
Primary antibody validation: Hsp70-1A (B 5 blank; MW 5 molecular weight, Hsp70-1A theoretical molecular weight 5 70.22 kDa). 
Potential tenderness markers identified by previous works
Effect of A and M type on potential protein biomarkers of tenderness
Summary of the A-and M-type effects detected or not for the 24 proteins
Article
Some proteins have been revealed as biomarkers for beef tenderness by previous studies. These markers could be used in immunological tests to predict beef tenderness, in living animals as well as in carcasses. It is well known that rearing practices modify the amounts of mRNA and proteins. Therefore, the reliability of protein tests could be affected by livestock and biological effects such as production systems, breed, muscle and animal type. This study analysed the effects of animal and muscle type on 24 proteins. The animals studied were 67 young bulls and 44 steers of the Charolais breed, and muscles were Longissimus thoracis and Semitendinosus. Protein amounts were determined by Dot blot, an immunological technique. Results showed that expressions of 20 proteins were influenced by animal and/or muscle type. These results could lead to modifications and adaptations of prediction tests according to rearing practice, bovine breed and beef cut.
 
Article
This experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of offering ewes two different feeding levels, during mid and late pregnancy, on ewe and lamb behaviour 12 to 24 h after birth. Romney ewes, bearing twin (n = 80) or triplet foetuses (n = 56), were allocated to a pasture sward height of 2 or 4 cm between 70 and 107 days of pregnancy. In late pregnancy (day 107 to 147), half of the ewes were reallocated the alternate sward height, which produced four treatments: 2-2, 2-4, 4-2 and 4-4. Ewes were weighed on days 65, 92, 107 and 130 of pregnancy and lamb live weights were recorded 12 to 24 h after birth. Twelve to 24 h after birth the maternal behaviour score (MBS) of the ewes were determined, whilst their lambs were tagged. After the lambs were released, the behaviour of each ewe and her lambs was observed for 5 min. Ewe treatment and litter size had no effect on ewe MBS. However, as MBS increased (ewes stayed closer to lambs during tagging), ewes bleated less in a high-pitch and were quicker to make contact with their lamb. During the observation period, ewes in the 4-4 treatment had a greater percentage of their bleats in a low pitch (P < 0.05) than ewes in the 2-2 and 4-2 treatment (61.3% v. 41.3% and 38.8% low bleats, respectively) and more lambs born to 4-4 ewes (95%) bleated than lambs born to 2-2 ewes (84%; P < 0.05). However, lambs born to ewes in the 2-2 treatment bleated earlier than lambs in all other treatments (P < 0.05). Lambs born to 4-4 ewes were less likely (P < 0.05) to move towards their dam in order to make contact than lambs born to 2-2 or 4-2 ewes (3.1% v. 16.9% and 16.7%, respectively). These findings suggest that under the conditions of the present study, ewe nutrition had little effect on maternal behaviour. However, lambs born to ewes offered 2 cm pasture sward heights during mid and/or late pregnancy (2-2, 2-4 and 4-2 treatments) displayed behaviour that demonstrated greater 'need' whereas lambs born to ewes offered 4 cm during mid and late pregnancy sought less attention from their dam.
 
Dry matter (DM) content and chemical composition (g/kg DM) and energy content (MJ/kg DM) of the meadow hays 
Dry matter (DM) content and chemical composition (g/kg DM) and energy content (MJ/kg DM) of the cereal grains 
Concentration (%) in acid-insoluble ash measured according to the 2N and 4N data methods 
Article
The digestibility of horse feeds and rations can be determined using different techniques such as calculations based on the chemical composition, in vivo or in vitro methods. The marker methods overcome difficulties like discomfort for the animals and longer experimental times encountered using the ingesta/egesta method. In field conditions, a natural indigestible marker like acid-insoluble ash (AIA), with no changes in the normal ration, could be a very useful tool for digestibility trials. A group of six standardbred horses was used in a set of seven apparent digestibility trials. The diets were based on a first-cut meadow hay added to three different cereals (barley for trials 1 and 2; oats for trials 3 and 5 and corn for trials 6 and 7), the hay : concentrate ratio being 60 : 40 or 70 : 30 on a dry matter basis. Feedstuffs and faeces were analysed to determine the AIA content, using 2N HCl or 4N HCl technique. No differences about AIA concentration were found between the two methods for means and accuracy in each diet. Digestion coefficients for each diet did not differ with AIA method, even if in some trials interfering factors consistently lowered the overall values. Consequently, the AIA 2N HCl can be considered the easier and cheaper method to state apparent digestibility in field conditions, and a good tool for digestibility trials in horses fed hay-based diets.
 
Lactation curve for milk yield of first parity Holstein Friesian (HF), second parity HF and Jersey (Jer) cows with test-day yield after 300 days of lactation. 
Genetic, permanent environmental and phenotypic correlation between lactation in the first 5 months and that after 300 days (extended lactations) for milk and protein yield in first parity Holstein Friesian cows 
Article
Test-day milk yield and somatic cell count data over extended lactation (lactation to 540–600 days) were analysed considering part lactations as different traits and fitting random regression (RR) models. Data on Australian Jersey and Holstein Friesian (HF) were used to demonstrate the shape of the lactation curve and data on HF were used for genetic study. Test-day data from about 100 000 cows that calved between 1998 and 2005 were used for this study. In all analyses, a sire model was used. When part lactations were considered as different traits, protein yield early in the lactation (e.g. first 2 months) had a genetic correlation of about 0.8 with protein yield produced after 300 days of lactation. Genetic correlations between lactation stages that are adjacent to each other were high (0.9 or more) within parity. Across parities, genetic correlations were high for both protein and milk yield if they are within the same stage of lactation. Phenotypic correlations were lower than genetic correlations. Heritability of milk-yield traits estimated from the RR model varied from 0.15 at the beginning of the lactation to as high as 0.37 by the 4th month of lactation. All genetic correlations between different days in milk were positive, with the highest correlations between adjacent days in milk and decreasing correlations with increasing time-span. The pattern of genetic correlations between milk yield in the second 300 days (301 to 600 days of lactation) do not markedly differ from the pattern in the first 300 days of lactation. The lowest estimated genetic correlation was 0.15 between milk yield on days 45 and 525 of lactation. The result from this study shows thatprogeny of bulls with high estimated breeding values for yield traits and those that produce at a relatively high level in the first few months are the most likely candidates for use in herds favouring extended lactations.
 
Performance data from birth to weaning (35 days) and relative weight of body components at weaning of Iberian piglets using con- ventional (CS) or intermittent suckling (IS) a 
matter, protein, fat, energy and mineral content in the whole-body and body components of the Iberian piglets using conventional (CS) or intermittent suckling (IS), weaned at 35 days of age a 
Article
Piglet body composition at weaning could be a determinant for pig's viability and may be influenced by factors such as the nutritional management followed during suckling. An experiment was conducted to study whether intermittent suckling (IS) affects body composition at weaning and nutrient and energy retention during a 34-day lactation period in Iberian piglets. Litters were subjected to conventional suckling (CS) or IS (n=10 litters of six piglets per treatment) in two trials. All piglets had ad libitum access to creep feed from day 15 onwards. In IS, piglets were progressively separated from the sow for 6, 8 and 10 h daily during the last week of lactation, whereas in CS piglets had continuous access to their dams. Creep feed intake in litters and BW development of individual piglets were measured throughout the 34-day lactation. Within each litter, both at birth and at weaning (day 35), one piglet was used to assess nutrient retention and body composition by the comparative slaughter approach. During days 29 to 35 of the experiment, daily creep feed intake was greater in IS piglets (IS 124, CS 67 g/piglet, P=0.040), and average daily gain differed significantly between groups (IS 190, CS 150 g/day, P=0.010). BW at weaning was higher in the IS than in the CS piglets (IS 8.19, CS 7.48 kg, P=0.011). Empty-body fat and energy content at weaning were higher in the IS compared with CS litters, as well as fat content in the carcass (P=0.04). The IS treatment did not affect empty-body protein deposition, but significantly increased daily retention of fat, energy, ash and calcium, compared with CS litters (P<0.05). Thus, IS in Iberian piglets seems to enhance feed intake, growth rate and retention of some body components, which may contribute to a higher body fat content at weaning and facilitate the weaning process.
 
Plasma concentrations of insulin in ewes supplemented with 0.7 M sodium acetate or 0.4 M sodium propionate relative to feeding at 0 min. *Difference between treatment groups at a given time point (P , 0.05). 
Enzymatic activity of cytochrome P450 2C and cytochrome P450 3A in liver biopsies taken 1 h after feeding in ewes supplemented with sodium acetate or sodium propionate. Enzymatic activities are scaled to cytochrome P450 reductase (housekeeping enzyme). *Difference between treatments (P < 0.05). 
Mean progesterone concentrations from acetate-supplemented ewes, which depicts two half-lives. The open circles represent total tissue uptake of progesterone (equilibration phase). The closed circles were used in determining the fractional rate constants of progesterone clearance for each individual ewe. 
Fractional rate constants of progesterone clearance (k, ng/ml per min) in ewes supplemented with sodium acetate or sodium propionate. First-order exponential decay curves (P t 5 P 0 e 2kt ) were fit to each ewe in order to determine k. 
Article
Progesterone is essential for maintaining pregnancy, and several authors have suggested that low peripheral concentrations of progesterone may be responsible for high rates of embryonic loss. The primary organ involved in the catabolism of progesterone is the liver, and cytochrome P450 2C and 3A sub-families account for a large proportion of this catabolism. Elucidating a mechanism to decrease progesterone catabolism, thereby increasing embryonic and uterine exposure to progesterone, seems a logical approach to ameliorate high rates of embryonic loss. The objectives of the current experiment were to determine the pattern of insulin secretion after supplementing feed with either sodium acetate or sodium propionate and to determine any association between the differential patterns of insulin secretion with the hepatic activity of cytochrome P450 2C and 3A and progesterone clearance. Sixteen ovariectomized ewes were fed 3 kg/day for 10 days of a diet consisting of 50% corn silage, 38% triticale haylage, 12% soybean meal and 600 ml of 3.5 M sodium acetate (energy control; n = 8) or 2.0 M sodium propionate (gluconeogenic substrate; n = 8). Equal portions of the ration (1 kg as-fed basis along with 200 ml of 3.5 M sodium acetate or 2.0 M sodium propionate) were offered three times daily at 0600, 1400 and 2200 h. Concentrations of insulin in plasma were determined immediately before feeding and at 15, 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, 240 and 300 min after feeding. Progesterone clearance from peripheral circulation (ng/ml per min) was measured by giving a 5 mg injection of progesterone into the left jugular vein and collecting blood via the right jugular vein at 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 15, 20 and 30 min afterwards. Liver biopsies were taken 1 h after feeding to determine cytochrome P450 2C and 3A activities. Insulin concentrations in ewes supplemented with sodium propionate were elevated at 15, 30 and 60 min after feeding compared to the sodium acetate group. Cytochrome P450 2C and 3A activities were decreased 1 h after feeding in the sodium propionate-treated ewes relative to sodium acetate. Insulin appears to down-regulate cytochrome P450 activity, which could be used to decrease the catabolism of progesterone during early gestation, thereby increasing peripheral concentrations of progesterone and, consequently, embryonic exposure to progesterone.
 
Article
Recently, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research appointed an expert committee to review the issue of pain in food-producing farm animals. To minimise pain, the authors developed a '3S' approach accounting for 'Suppress, Substitute and Soothe' by analogy with the '3Rs' approach of 'Reduction, Refinement and Replacement' applied in the context of animal experimentation. Thus, when addressing the matter of pain, the following steps and solutions could be assessed, in the light of their feasibility (technical constraints, logistics and regulations), acceptability (societal and financial aspects) and availability. The first solution is to suppress any source of pain that brings no obvious advantage to the animals or the producers, as well as sources of pain for which potential benefits are largely exceeded by the negative effects. For instance, tail docking of cattle has recently been eliminated. Genetic selection on the basis of resistance criteria (as e.g. for lameness in cattle and poultry) or reduction of undesirable traits (e.g. boar taint in pigs) may also reduce painful conditions or procedures. The second solution is to substitute a technique causing pain by another less-painful method. For example, if dehorning cattle is unavoidable, it is preferable to perform it at a very young age, cauterising the horn bud. Animal management and constraint systems should be designed to reduce the risk for injury and bruising. Lastly, in situations where pain is known to be present, because of animal management procedures such as dehorning or castration, or because of pathology, for example lameness, systemic or local pharmacological treatments should be used to soothe pain. These treatments should take into account the duration of pain, which, in the case of some management procedures or diseases, may persist for longer periods. The administration of pain medication may require the intervention of veterinarians, but exemptions exist where breeders are allowed to use local anaesthesia (e.g. castration and dehorning in Switzerland). Extension of such exemptions, national or European legislation on pain management, or the introduction of animal welfare codes by retailers into their meat products may help further developments. In addition, veterinarians and farmers should be given the necessary tools and information to take into account animal pain in their management decisions.
 
3T3-L1 cells were cultured in 0.3 mmol/l oleic or linoleic acid, with or without 200 nmol/l insulin, for up to 8 days. Control cells were cultured in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium 1 10% foetal bovine serum. For each treatment, cells were cultured in duplicate and 10 fields per culture were enumerated. Data show cell number per field (s.e.) for each treatment group cultured for (a) 4 days and (b) 8 days. There was a significant fatty acid (FA) effect on day 4 (a, b, c, P , 0.05) and a FA 3 insulin interaction on day 8 (P , 0.05). Also on day 4, there was a significant effect of the presence or absence of insulin (m, n and r, s, each P , 0.05). 
3T3-L1 cells were cultured, either in control medium (Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium (DMEM) 1 10% foetal calf serum) or in DMEM plus bovine serum albumin adsorbed fatty acids (0.3 mmol/l) as follows: either, linoleic acid, linoleic acid plus 200 nmol/l insulin, oleic acid or oleic acid plus 200 nmol/l insulin, and fixed and stained with oil-red O, after either 4 or 8 days. 
3T3-L1 cells were cultured in 0.3 mmol/l oleic or linoleic acid, with or without 200 nmol/l insulin, for up to 8 days. Control cells were cultured in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium (DMEM) 1 10% foetal bovine serum. For each treatment, cells were cultured in duplicate and 10 fields per culture were enumerated. Data are the percentage of cells showing lipid accumulation for each treatment group. (a) Day 4, the percentage of cells showing lipid accumulation was greater in fatty acid (FA)-treated cultures compared with control cells grown in DMEM plus serum (P , 0.001). Main effects of FA and insulin: the percentage of cells showing lipid, when cultured in FA in the absence of insulin, was lower compared with those cultured in FA in the presence of insulin (P , 0.01), and when cultured in linoleic acid was lower compared with those cultured in oleic acid (P , 0.01). Bars with different superscripts differ, oleic v. linoleic acid (insulin effect not denoted). (b) Day 8, the percentage of cells showing lipid accumulation was greater in FA-treated cultures compared with control cells grown in DMEM plus serum (P , 0.001). There was a FA 3 insulin interaction: lipid accumulation was greatest (P , 0.05) for cultures containing oleic acid plus insulin. Cultures containing oleic acid alone showed greater (P , 0.05) lipid accumulation compared with cultures containing linoleic acid with or without insulin. 
3T3-L1 cells were cultured in 0.3 mmol/l oleic or linoleic acid, with or without 200 nmol/l insulin, for up to 8 days. Control cells were cultured in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium110% foetal bovine serum. For each treatment, cells were cultured in duplicate and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-g) protein was quantified (triplicate assays per culture) in Western blots of cell lysates using scanning laser excitation fluorescence (Odyssey, LI-COR). Data are expressed as pixels per mm 2 (s.e.), from 20 mg protein per lane. (a) Day 4, overall treatment effect, PPAR-g was increased v. control, (P , 0.001). There was no insulin or fatty acid (FA) effect. (b) Day 8, overall treatment effect, PPAR-g was increased v. control (P , 0.001). Each FA showed a similar pattern in which the presence of insulin tended to increase PPAR-g (P 5 0.1). 
3T3-L1 cells were cultured in 0.3 mmol/l oleic or linoleic acid, with or without 200 nmol/l insulin, for up to 8 days. Control cells were cultured in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium110% foetal bovine serum. For each treatment, cells were cultured in duplicate and GLUT-4 protein was quantified (triplicate assays per culture) in Western blots of cell lysates using scanning laser excitation fluorescence (Odyssey, LI-COR). Data are expressed as pixels per mm 2 (s.e.) from 20 mg protein per lane. (a) Day 4, overall treatment effect, GLUT-4 was increased v. control, (P , 0.001). There was no insulin effect. Protein expression of GLUT-4 was higher in cells cultured in linoleic acid compared with oleic acidcontaining media (P , 0.05). (b) Day 8, data were similar to day 4, for the overall treatment effect, GLUT-4 was increased v. control (P , 0.001). There was no insulin effect, and cells cultured in linoleic acid tended to show higher GLUT-4 expression than those cultured in oleic acidcontaining media (P 5 0.1). 
Article
The insulin-independent and combined effects of fatty acids (FA; linoleic and oleic acids) and insulin in modulating lipid accumulation and adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells was investigated using a novel protocol avoiding the effects of a complex hormone 'induction' mixture. 3T3-L1 cells were cultured in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium (DMEM) plus serum (control) or in DMEM plus either 0.3 mmol/l linoleic or oleic acids with 0.3 mmol/l FA-free bovine serum albumin in the presence or absence of insulin. Cells were cultured for 4 to 8 days and cell number, lipid accumulation, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-γ) and glucose transporter 4 (GLUT-4) protein expression were determined. Cell number appeared to be decreased in comparison with control cultures. In both oleic acid and linoleic acid-treated cells, notably in the absence (and presence) of insulin, oil-red O stain-positive cells showed abundant lipid. The percentage of cells showing lipid accumulation was greater in FA-treated cultures compared with control cells grown in DMEM plus serum (P < 0.001). Treatment with both linoleic and oleic acid-containing media evoked higher levels of PPAR-γ than observed in control cultures (P < 0.05). GLUT-4 protein also increased in response to treatment with both linoleic and oleic acid-containing media (P < 0.001). Lipid accumulation in 3T3-L1 cells occurs in response to either oleic or linoleic acids independently of the presence of insulin. Both PPAR-γ and GLUT-4 protein expression were stimulated. Both proteins are considered markers of adipogenesis, and these observations suggest that these cells had entered the physiological state broadly accepted as differentiated. Furthermore, 3T3-L1 cells can be induced to accumulate lipid in a serum-free medium supplemented with FA, without the use of induction protocols using complex hormone mixtures. We have demonstrated a novel model for the study of lipid accumulation that will improve the understanding of adipogenesis in adipocyte lineage cells.
 
Relationship between carcass weight and skatole level in subcutaneous adipose tissue of entire male pigs. Each point represents an average of duplicate measurements for an individual pig. The duplicates varied by less than 10%. 
Article
Boar taint is a major meat-quality defect in pigs and is due to excessive accumulation of skatole and androstenone in adipose tissue. The present work investigated the relationship between carcass weight, levels of skatole and androstenone in adipose tissue, and expression of the hepatic androstenone-metabolising enzyme 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD), in 22 entire male and 22 entire female crossbred pigs (Large White (40%) × Landrace (40%) × Duroc (20%)). Animals of each gender were divided into two subgroups (11 pigs in each subgroup): (i) conventional weight (carcass weight 59 to 77 kg) and (ii) heavy weight (carcass weight 84 to 95 kg). No relationship between carcass weight and adipose tissue skatole level was found for entire male pigs (r2 = 0.013, P > 0.05). There was a significant negative relationship between carcass weight and expression of the hepatic 3β-HSD protein (r2 = 0.502, P < 0.001) and a significant negative relationship between 3β-HSD protein expression and androstenone level in adipose tissue (r2 = 0.24, P < 0.05) in entire males. No relationship was found between carcass weight and 3β-HSD protein expression in female pigs (r2 = 0.001, P > 0.05). 3β-HSD expression was 59% higher in conventional-weight male pigs when compared with heavy-weight animals (P < 0.05) and 36% higher in heavy-weight females when compared with heavy-weight males (P < 0.05). It is concluded that an increase in slaughter weight of entire commercial crossbred Large White pigs is accompanied by inhibition of expression of the hepatic 3β-HSD protein, which might result in a reduced rate of hepatic androstenone clearance with its subsequent accumulation in adipose tissue. It is suggested that regulation of pig hepatic 3β-HSD expression is under the control of sex hormones.
 
Ammonia concentration and emission from 37 to 42 days for the control and alum-treated litters 
Evolution of dry matter content (DM), pH and electrical conductivity (EC) for the control and alum-treated litters. 
Article
New alternatives are necessary if the environmental impact linked to intensive poultry production is to be reduced, and different litter handling methods should be explored. Among these, acidifying amendments added to poultry litters has been suggested as a management practice to help reduce the potential environmental effect involved in multiple flock cycles. There have been several studies on the use of aluminum sulfate (alum) and its benefits, but almost no data are available under farm conditions in Europe. An experiment with Ross 308 broilers from 1 to 42 days of age was conducted to evaluate the effect of alum on litter composition, the solubility of some mineral elements and NH3 emission during a single flock-rearing period in commercial houses located in southeast Spain. Broilers were placed on clean wood shavings in four commercial houses, containing 20 000 broilers each. Before filling, alum was applied at a rate of 0.25 kg/m2 to the wood shavings of two poultry houses, whereas the remaining two were used as control. Litter from each poultry house was sampled every 3 to 5 days. Ammonia emissions from the poultry houses were monitored from 37 to 42 days of age. In comparison with the control group, alum treatment significantly reduced the pH level of the litter (P < 0.001) with an average difference of 1.32 ± 0.24 units. Alum-treated litter showed, on average, a higher electrical conductivity than the control litter (5.52 v. 3.63 dS/m). The dry matter (DM) and total N and P contents did not show differences between the treatments (P > 0.05). Regarding the NH4 +-N content, alum-treated litter showed a higher value than the untreated litter, with an average difference of 0.16 ± 0.07% (on a DM basis). On average, alum-treated litter had lower water-soluble P, Zn and Cu contents than the untreated litter. Alum noticeably reduced the in-house ammonia concentration (P < 0.001), with an average of 4.8 ppm at 42 days of age (62.9% lower than the control), and ammonia emissions from 37 to 42 days of age were significantly reduced by the alum treatment (P < 0.001), representing a reduction of 73.3%. The lower pH values might have reduced ammonia volatilization from the litter, with a corresponding positive effect on the building environment and poultry health. For these reasons, litter amendment with alum could be recommended as a way of reducing the pollution potential of European broiler facilities during a single flock cycle.
 
The effect of transportation on heat shock protein 70 density of kidney (top) and liver (bottom) tissues. (a) to (c) Means with no common letters differ (P , 0.05). LD 5 transport floor space of 0.40 m 2 /animal; HD 5 transport floor space of 0.20 m 2 /animal.  
Article
The influence of two different stocking densities (0.20 m2/animal and 0.40 m2/animal) in transit under the hot, humid tropical conditions on heat shock protein (hsp) 70 induction was investigated in 60 Boer does. The animals were road transported for 3 h and the control group was kept under normal conditions in the farm. Irrespective of stocking density, transportation significantly increased hsp 70 densities (P < 0.05) in the kidneys. The hsp 70 response in the kidneys was more profound compared with those of heart tissues. Higher stocking density was more stressful to the goats based on hsp 70 expression. These results suggest that, irrespective of stocking density, transportation under hot, humid tropical conditions evoked hsp 70 reactions.
 
Article
The objective of this work was to investigate the expression of heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) by Western blot (WB) in swine liver. Subsequently, the study aimed to apply this method to two experimental groups of heavy pigs raised in different confinement systems: intensive/indoor (Group A) and extensive/outdoor (Group B). Thirty-six crossbred commercial heavy pigs were divided as follows: Group A (eight castrated males and eight females) was equally distributed into two single-sex indoor pens (1.02 m2/pig); Group B (11 castrated males and nine females) was kept in one single (partially grassy and partially wooded) open area of about 6000 m2. Group A was slaughtered at 41 weeks of age (170 ± 9 kg) and Group B at 48 weeks of age (172 ± 13 kg). At the abattoir the livers of all the animals were collected and analyzed by WB assay in order to quantify the levels of HSP70. Moreover, a further liver sample was taken from the same animals in order to investigate the cellular localization of HSP70 by immunohistochemistry (IHC). The interaction between sex and group resulted statistically significant (P = 0.001). When stratified by sex, Group A showed significantly higher HSP70 values compared with Group B for both male and female subjects (P < 0.001). Stratifying by group, males showed significantly higher HSP70 values than females in Group A (P < 0.001), whereas no statistical differences were observed between sexes for Group B (P = 0.653). The IHC results evidenced cytoplasmic immunoreactivity in a granular pattern in both groups. The different expression pattern observed by WB could prove to be a useful tool in the assessment of pig health and welfare.
 
Ingredient composition of the experimental diets (g/kg fresh matter) Wheat variety in the experimental diet w 
Least squares means for the effects of wheat variety and gender on growth performance Wheat variety in the experimental diet z Gender 
Article
The objective of this study was to compare growth performance and carcass and meat quality characteristics of growing-finishing pigs fed diets containing Roundup Ready wheat (MON 71800), compared with the non-transgenic genetically similar parental control wheat (MON 71900), and four commercial varieties of non-transgenic wheat (HANK, Westbred 926, Express and Zeke). The study was carried out as a split-plot design with a 2 × 6 factorial arrangement of treatments (two genders and six wheat varieties). A three-phase dietary program was used; all diets were formulated with a fixed level of wheat inclusion (70%, 80% and 85% for the Grower, Finisher I and Finisher II phases, respectively). A total of 240 commercial hybrid pigs (equal numbers of barrows and gilts) were grown from 29.5 ± 0.29 to 114.5 ± 2.23 kg live weight in single-gender pens (barrows or gilts) of five pigs (eight pens per dietary treatment) with ad libitum access to feed and water throughout the study. At the end of each dietary phase and of the test period, ultrasound measurements were taken at the 10th rib. Animals from the transgenic (MON 71800) and non-transgenic (MON 71900) treatments were harvested at the end of the study and carcass and meat quality measurements were taken. Pigs fed the six wheat varieties had similar (P > 0.05) feed intake, live weight gain, gain : feed ratio and ultrasound measures of backfat thickness and longissimus muscle area. There was a wheat variety × gender interaction (P < 0.05) for longissimus fat content. Gilts fed the transgenic wheat had higher (P < 0.05) longissimus fat content than those fed the non-transgenic control wheat; however, for barrows there was no effect (P > 0.05) of wheat variety on longissimus fat content. However, there was no effect (P > 0.05) of wheat variety on other longissimus muscle quality or composition measures. Gilts had lower (P < 0.01) feed intake, growth rate and backfat thickness, and similar gain : feed ratio (P > 0.05) compared to barrows. This study, with growing-finishing swine, suggests that the Roundup Ready wheat (MON 71800) resulted in equivalent animal performance to conventional wheat.
 
(a) Schematic representation of the genomic structure of the porcine APOA5 gene. Translated regions are given in black. (b) Exon/ 
Primer sets designed for porcine APOA5 gene
Tissue expression distribution of porcine APOA5 gene. M, DL2000 
Genomic and haplotype analysis in the porcine APOA5 gene. Pairwise linkage disquilibrium relationship for 12 mutations is noted based on r 2 measurements. 
Article
As a newly described member of the apolipoprotein gene family, apolipoprotein A5 (APOA5) has been suggested to play a key role in the triglyceride metabolism in both human and mice. The aim of this study was to identify the porcine (Sus scrofa) APOA5 gene, determine its mRNA and its mutations that are associated with lipid accumulation. The porcine APOA5 cDNA was amplified by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction using the information of the mouse or other mammals. It had been determined that the open reading frame of the porcine APOA5 gene consists of 1092 bp, which encodes a predicted protein composed of 363 amino acids with a similarity to bovine (80.43%) and to human (78.47%). The expression analysis indicated that the porcine APOA5 gene was expressed in hypophysis, fat and liver. Twelve single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), including 4 SNPs in the 5' end, 1 SNP in second intron, 1 SNP in third exon and 6 SNPs in the 3' end, were identified in the porcine APOA5 gene and genotyped on the Jinhua × Pietrain F2 reference population, it had revealed that the SNP of C1834T was significantly associated with average backfat thickness and leaf fat weight (P < 0.01 and P < 0.05, respectively). In conclusion, this study has got basic information of the porcine APOA5 gene and provides evidence that the APOA5 gene could be a potential candidate gene for fat deposition.
 
Ingredients and chemical composition of the basal diet 
Concentrations of amino acids determined in the experi- mental diets L-Arginine (%) 
Article
This study investigated the effects of different levels of dietary L-arginine (L-Arg) supplementation on the abdominal fat pad, circulating lipids, hepatic fatty acid synthase (FAS) gene expression, gene expression related to fatty acid β-oxidation, and the performance of broiler chickens. We tested whether the dietary L-Arg levels affected the expression of genes related to lipid metabolism in order to reduce body fat deposition. A total of 192 broiler chickens (Cobb 500) aged 21 days with an average BW of 920 ± 15 g were randomly assigned to four groups (six broilers per replicate and eight replicates per treatment). The control group was fed a basal diet, whereas the treatment groups were fed basal diets supplemented with 0.25%, 0.50%, or 1.00% L-Arg for 3 weeks. The average daily feed intake, average daily gain and feed : gain ratio were not affected by the dietary L-Arg levels. However, chickens supplemented with L-Arg had lower abdominal fat content, plasma triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC) concentrations, hepatic FAS mRNA expression and increased heart carnitine palmitoyl transferase1 (CPT1) and 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (3HADH) mRNA expression. These findings suggest that the addition of 0.25% L-Arg may reduce the plasma TC concentration by decreasing hepatic 3-hydroxyl-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase mRNA expression. This may lower the plasma TG and abdominal fat content by suppressing hepatic FAS mRNA expression and enhancing CPT1 and 3HADH (genes related to fatty acid β-oxidation) mRNA expression in the hearts of broiler chickens.
 
Article
Divergent selection of chickens for low or high abdominal fat (AF) but similar BW at 63 days of age was undertaken in 1977. The selection programme was conducted over seven successive generations. The difference between lines was then maintained constant at about twice the AF in the fat line as in the lean line. The aims of the first studies on these divergent chicken lines were to describe the growth, body composition and reproductive performance in young and adult birds. The lines were then used to improve the understanding of the relationship between fatness and energy and protein metabolism in the liver, muscle and adipose tissues, as well as the regulation of such metabolism at hormonal, gene and hypothalamic levels. The effects on muscle energy metabolism in relation to meat quality parameters were also described. This paper reviews the main results obtained with these lines.
 
Article
The pacific white shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei, is a popular species in aquaculture. Abdominal muscle accounts for 90% of shrimp flesh. Its growth and related genes, particularly the regulatory genes, is not well known. A cDNA library of shrimp juvenile abdominal muscle was established by PCR-based SMART™ cDNA technology. Library size was 5.0 × 106 pfu (plaque-forming unit) independent clones per microgram of starting RNA with the percentage of recombinant clones >95%. Sequence analysis of 311 randomly picked positive clones revealed 197 expressed sequence tags with average insert size of 745 nucleotides, 56% (110 of 197) clones having 5'-end sequence and 44% (87 of 197) clones having 3'-end sequence. Queries of the sequences by Blast identified 37 unknown sequences, and 160 unique clones, including 67 sequences of 100% identity matches, 28 high homologies (80% to 90% sequence match, >100 bits hit score in Blastn), 65 medium homologies (>100 bits hit score in Blastp) to the known EST sequences in the database. Among the high identity-matched ESTs, 12S ribosomal RNA, actin 1, actin 2, arginine kinase and beta-actin were the most abundant transcripts with 5 to 20 times of hit. Primary hit sequences originate from shrimp, insects, lobsters, crabs and crayfish. The EST sequences were categorized as muscle structural proteins (25%), rRNA and protein synthesis (25%), followed by mitochondrial functions (22%), exoskeleton (14%), enzymes (6%) and RNA splicing (2%), suggesting abundant and diverse transcripts present in the shrimp abdominal muscle cDNA library.
 
Plots of statistical F-values indicating significant QTL for adipocyte size and number on SSC7 (a) and SSC1 (b). Markers and distance in cM are given on the x-axis, and F-ratios are indicated on the left y-axis. The marker information content along each chromosome is also shown in this figure. Thresholds for the suggestive, 5% and 1% genome-wide significant levels are indicated by dashed, solid and double solid horizontal lines, respectively. 
Descriptive statistics of the traits measured in the F 2 population of the White Duroc 3 Erhualian intercross
Article
Adipocyte size and number are correlated with fat deposition, which is of major concern to human health and pork producers. To identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for adipocyte size and number in pigs, a total of 341 F2 animals at 240 days in a White Duroc × Erhualian cross were measured for the area, perimeters, volume and number of adipocyte in abdominal fat. A genome scan was performed on these animals and their parents and grandparents with 183 microsatellite markers spanning the pig genome. Five chromosomal regions showed effects on the traits measured, predominantly on adipocyte size, on pig chromosome (SSC) 1, 4, 7 and 9. Neither of these QTL has been reported before this study. The QTL for adipocyte size detected in this study perfectly correspond to the previously reported QTL for fatness traits on SSC1, 4 and 7. The most significant association was evidenced at 58 cM on SSC7. At the locus, the favorable allele decreasing adipocyte size was unusually originated from the obese Erhualian breed. Only a suggestive QTL was detected for adipocyte number on SSC9. The results shed new lights on the understanding of the genetic basis of fatness traits in pigs.
 
Descriptive statistics of the data set (a) Number of observations by effect in the model 
Posterior distributions of the genetic correlations between calving success at second and third (rg23), second and fourth (rg24) and third and fourth (rg34) calving opportunities. 
distribution means, standard deviation (s.d.) and quantiles for sire and herd variances of liability to calving success at the second, third and fourth calving opportunities (CS2, CS3 and CS4) 
Article
Data from 2032 Uruguayan Aberdeen Angus cows under extensive management and recording practices were analysed with Bayesian threshold-liability sire models, to assess genetic variability in calving success (CS), defined as a different binary trait for each of the second (CS2), third (CS3) and fourth (CS4) calving opportunities. Sire (herd) variances ranged from 0.08 to 0.11 (0.10 to 0.20) and heritability from 0.27 to 0.35, with large credibility intervals. Correlations between herd effects on CS at different calving opportunities were positive. Genetic correlation between CS2 and CS4 was positive (0.68), whereas those involving adjacent calving opportunities (CS2-CS3 and CS3-CS4) were negative, at -0.39 and -0.54, respectively. The residual correlation CS2-CS3 was negative (-0.32). The extent of uncertainty associated with the posterior estimates of the parameters was further evaluated through simulation, assuming different true values (-0.4, -0.2, +0.2 and +0.4) for the genetic correlations and changes in the degree of belief parameters of the inverse Wishart priors for the sire covariance matrix. Although inferences were not sharp enough, CS appears to be moderately heritable. The quality of data recording should be improved, in order to effect genetic improvement in female fertility.
 
Prediction of fatty acid profile and intramuscular fat content in Aberdeen 1 Angus crossbred beef samples using NIR spectra (n a = 84) 2 
Article
The objective of this study was to examine the online use of near infrared reflectance (NIR) spectroscopy to estimate the concentration of individual and groups of fatty acids (FA) as well as intramuscular fat (IMF) in crossbred Aberdeen Angus (AA×) and Limousin (LIM×) cattle. This was achieved by direct application of a fibre-optic probe to the muscle immediately after exposing the meat surface in the abattoir at 48 h post mortem. Samples of M. longissimus thoracis from 88 AA× and 106 LIM× were scanned over the NIR spectral range from 350 to 1800 nm and samples of the M. longissimus lumborum were analysed for IMF content and FA composition. Statistically significant differences (P < 0.001) were observed in most FA between the two breeds studied, with FA concentration being higher in AA× meat mainly. NIR calibrations, tested by cross-validation, showed moderate to high predictability in LIM× meat samples for C16:0, C16:1, C18:0, trans11 C18:1, C18:1, C18:2 n-6, C20:1, cis9, trans11 C18:2, SFA (saturated FA), MUFA (monounsaturated FA), PUFA (polyunsaturated FA) and IMF content with R(2) (SE(CV), mg/100 g muscle) of 0.69 (146), 0.69 (28), 0.71 (62), 0.70 (8.1), 0.76 (192), 0.65 (13), 0.71 (0.9), 0.71 (2.9), 0.68 (235), 0.75 (240), 0.64 (17) and 0.75 (477), respectively. FA such as C14:0, C18:3 n-3, C20:4 n-6, C20:5 n-3, C22:6 n-3, n-6 and n-3 were more difficult to predict by NIR in these LIM× samples (R(2) = 0.12 to 0.62; SECV = 0.5 to 26 mg/100 g muscle). In contrast, NIR showed low predictability for FA in AA× beef samples. In particular for LIM×, the correlations of NIR measurements and several FA in the range from 0.81 to 0.87 indicated that the NIR spectroscopy is a useful online technique for the early, fast and relatively inexpensive estimation of FA composition in the abattoir.
 
Article
One of the consequences of intense genetic selection for growth of poultry is the recent appearance of abnormalities in chicken breast muscles, such as white striping (characterised by superficial white striations) and wooden breast (characterised by pale and bulged areas with substantial hardness). The aim of this study was to evaluate the quality traits of chicken fillets affected by white striping and wooden breast abnormalities. In two replications, 192 fillets were divided into the following four classes: normal (n=48; absence of any visual defects), white striping (n=48, presence of white striations), wooden breast (n=48; diffusely presence of hardened areas) and white striping/wooden breast (n=48; fillets affected by both abnormalities). Morphology, raw meat texture and technological properties were assessed in both unprocessed (pH, colour, drip loss, cooking loss and cooked meat shear force) and marinated meat (marinade uptake, purge loss, cooking loss and cooked meat shear force). Fillets affected by white striping, wooden breast or both abnormalities exhibited higher breast weights compared with normal fillets (305.5, 298.7, 318.3 and 244.7 g, respectively; P
 
Top-cited authors
Diego P Morgavi
  • French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE)
Cécile Martin
  • French National Institute for Agricultural Research
Nicola Lacetera
  • Tuscia University
Alessandro Nardone
  • Tuscia University
Umberto Bernabucci
  • Tuscia University