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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.