Science database

As a science-driven company, we regularly publish peer-reviewed papers to validate the research we conduct. 

Most recent publications
Across species
Antimicrobial resistance is a global and increasing threat. Stewardship campaigns have been established, and policies implemented, to safeguard the appropriate use of antimicrobials in humans, animals, and plants. Restrictions on their use in animal production are on the agenda worldwide. Producers are investing in measures, involving biosecurity, genetics, health care, farm management, animal welfare, and nutrition, to prevent diseases and minimize the use of antimicrobials. Functional animal nutrition to promote animal health is one of the tools available to decrease the need for antimicrobials in animal production. Nutrition affects the critical functions required for host defence and disease resistance. Animal nutrition strategies should therefore aim to support these host defence systems and reduce the risk of the presence in feed and water of potentially harmful substances, such as mycotoxins, anti-nutritional factors and pathogenic bacteria and other microbes. General dietary measures to promote gastrointestinal tract health include the selective use of a combination of feed additives and feed ingredients to stabilize the intestinal microbiota and support mucosal barrier function. This knowledge, used to establish best practices in animal nutrition, could allow the adoption of strategies to reduce the need for antimicrobials and contain antimicrobial resistance.
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Mixed organic acid alternative to antibiotics improves serum biochemical parameters and intestinal health of weaned piglets

Swine
The primary aim of this experiment was to critically explore the relationship between the different levels of mixed organic acids (MOA) and growth performance, serum antioxidant status and intestinal health of weaned piglets, as well as to investigate the potential possibility of MOA alternative to antibiotics growth promoters (AGP). A total of 180 healthy piglets (Duroc × [Landrace × Yorkshire]; weighing 7.81 ± 1.51 kg each, weaned at d 28) were randomly divided into 5 treatments: 1) basal diet (CON); 2) CON + chlorinomycin (75 mg/kg) + virginiamycin (15 mg/kg) + guitaromycin (50 mg/kg) (AGP); 3) CON + MOA (3,000 mg/kg) (OA1); 4) CON + MOA (5,000 mg/kg) (OA2); 5) CON + MOA (7,000 mg/kg) (OA3). This study design included 6 replicates per treatment with 6 piglets per pen (barrow:gilt = 1:1) and the experiment was separated into phase 1 (d 1 to 14) and phase 2 (d 15 to 28). In phases 1, 2 and overall, compared with the CON, the feed conversion ratio (FCR) was reduced (P < 0.01) and the average daily gain (ADG) was increased (P < 0.05) in piglets supplemented with AGP, OA1 and OA2. The concentration of serum immunoglobulins G (IgG) was improved (P < 0.05) in piglets supplemented with OA2 in phase 2. In the jejunum and ileum, the villus height:crypt depth ratio was significantly increased (P < 0.01) in piglets fed AGP and OA1. The mRNA expression level of claudin-1 and zonula occludens-1 (ZO-1) (P < 0.01) was up-regulated in piglets supplemented with OA1 and OA2. The piglets fed AGP, OA1 and OA2 showed an increase (P < 0.05) in the content of acetate acid and total volatile fatty acids (TVFA) in the cecum, and butyric acid and TVFA in the colon compared with CON. Also, OA1 lowered (P < 0.05) the content of Lachnospiraceae in piglets. These results demonstrated that MOA at 3,000 or 5,000 mg/kg could be an alternative to antibiotics due to the positive effects on performance, immune parameters, and intestinal health of weaned piglets. However, from the results of the quadratic fitting curve, it is inferred that MOA at a dose of 4,000 mg/kg may produce a better effect.
by Jiayu Ma on 15.07.2021
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Dietary protein oscillation: Effects on feed intake, lactation performance, and milk nitrogen efficiency in lactating dairy cows

Ruminants
Limited research with growing ruminants indicates that oscillating (OS) dietary crude protein (CP) concentration may improve nitrogen use efficiency (NUE). Our aim was to determine if a total mixed ration (TMR) based on OS CP (48-h phases of 13.4% and 16.5% CP, respectively) would increase NUE of lactating dairy cows compared with a static CP TMR (ST; 14.9% CP). The experiment was a randomized complete block design with 50 cows [150 ± 61 (mean ± SD) d in milk]. Cows were blocked by parity, days in milk, and milk protein yield. On average, diets were equal in composition over the total experiment. Cows were milked twice daily, and 8 milk samples were collected in each 4-d period. Each 48 h of low-CP (LP) and high-CP (HP) TMR offered to OS cows corresponded to milk collected at milkings 1 to 4 and 5 to 8, respectively. Dry matter intake (mean = 25.5 kg/d for both treatment groups); yields of milk (mean = 31.5 kg/d for both treatment groups), protein, fat, lactose, and fat- and protein-corrected milk (mean = 33.6 kg/d for both treatment groups); and milk concentration of protein, fat, and lactose did not differ between treatments. However, milk urea concentration was higher for OS compared with ST (12.2 vs. 11.3 mg/dL). Body weight, body condition score, NUE, and feed efficiency were unaffected by OS. Apparent total-tract digestibility of dry matter (695 vs. 677 g/kg), organic matter (714 vs. 697 g/kg), CP (624 vs. 594 g/kg), neutral detergent fiber (530 vs. 499 g/kg), and starch (976 vs. 973 g/kg) were higher for OS than for ST cows. Cows in OS responded transiently, and regression analysis of differences within block over time revealed changes in yield of milk (−531 g/d), milk protein (−25.6 g/d), and milk lactose (−16.7 g/d) in LP. Opposite effects were observed for yield of milk (+612 g/d), milk protein (+28.8 g/d), and milk lactose (+28.0 g/d) during HP. Changes in concentrations of milk protein (−0.050%/d), lactose (+0.030%/d), and urea (−3.0 mg/dL per day) during LP, and in milk lactose (−0.024%/d) and urea (+4.3 mg/dL per day) during HP, were observed. Milk yield, lactose yield, and protein yield were lower for OS than ST cows at the last milking of LP and at the first milking of HP. Milk urea concentration did not show such a lag and was lower in the last 2 milkings of LP, and higher in the last 3 milkings of HP, in OS compared with ST cows. Overall, performance and NUE were unaffected by OS treatment, but apparent total-tract digestibility and milk urea concentration increased, and transient effects on milk yield and composition occurred in OS cows.
by R. Rauch on 08.07.2021
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Proteomic Analysis of Liver from Finishing Beef Cattle Supplemented with a Rumen-Protected B-Vitamin Blend and Hydroxy Trace Minerals

Ruminants
Vitamin B and trace minerals are crucial molecular signals involved in many biological pathways; however, their bioavailability is compromised in high-producing ruminant animals. So far, studies have mainly focused on the effects of these micronutrients on animal performance, but their use in a rumen-protected form and their impact on liver metabolism in finishing beef cattle is poorly known. We used a shotgun proteomic approach combined with biological network analyses to assess the effects of a rumen-protected B-vitamin blend, as well as those of hydroxy trace minerals, on the hepatic proteome. A total of 20 non-castrated Nellore males with 353 ± 43 kg of initial body weight were randomly assigned to one of the following treatments: CTRL—inorganic trace minerals without supplementation of a protected vitamin B blend, or SUP—supplementation of hydroxy trace minerals and a protected vitamin B blend. All animals were fed the same amount of the experimental diet for 106 days, and liver biopsies were performed at the end of the experimental period. Supplemented animals showed 37 up-regulated proteins (p < 0.10), and the enrichment analysis revealed that these proteins were involved in protein folding (p = 0.04), mitochondrial respiratory chain complex I (p = 0.01) and IV (p = 0.01), chaperonin-containing T-complex 2 (p = 0.01), glutathione metabolism (p < 0.01), and other aspects linked to oxidative-stress responses. These results indicate that rumen-protected vitamin B and hydroxy trace mineral supplementation during the finishing phase alters the abundance of proteins associated with the electron transport chain and other oxidation–reduction pathways, boosting the production of reactive oxygen species, which appear to modulate proteins linked to oxidative-damage responses to maintain cellular homeostasis.
28.06.2021
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Effect of L-glutamic acid N,N-diacetic acid on the availability of dietary zinc in broiler chickens

Poultry
Chelating agents can be used to improve the nutritional availability of trace minerals within the gastrointestinal tract. This study was conducted to determine the effect of a novel chelating agents, L-glutamic acid N,N-diacetic acid (GLDA), a biodegradable alternative to ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid on the nutritional bioavailability of zinc in broilers. Twelve dietary treatments were allocated to 96 pens in a randomized block design. Pens contained 10 Ross 308 male broilers in a factorial design with 6 incremental zinc levels (40, 45, 50, 60, 80, and 120 ppm of total Zn), with and without inclusion of GLDA (0 and 100 ppm) as respective factors. Experimental diets were supplied from day 7 to 21/22 and serum, liver and tibia Zn content were determined in 3 birds per pen. Growth performance and liver characteristics were not affected by dietary treatments, but both supplemental Zn and GLDA enhanced tibia and serum zinc concentration. The positive effect of GLDA was observed at all levels of the dietary Zn addition. The amount of zinc needed to reach 95% of the asymptotic Zn response was determined using nonlinear regression. When GLDA was included in the diet, based on tibia Zn, the same Zn status was achieved with a 19 ppm smaller Zn dose while based on serum Zn this was 27 ppm less Zn. Dietary GLDA reduces supplemental Zn needs to fulfill nutritional demands as defined by tibia Zn and serum Zn response. Considering the positive effect on the nutritional availability of Zn in broilers, GLDA presents an opportunity as biodegradable additive, to reduce Zn supplementation to livestock and thereby reducing Zn excretion into the environment, while fulfilling the nutrition Zn needs of farmed animals.
by G. M. Boerboom on 04.02.2021
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Efficacy of l-glutamic acid, N,N-diacetic acid to improve the dietary trace mineral bioavailability in broilers

Poultry
Trace minerals are commonly supplemented in the diets of farmed animals in levels exceeding biological requirements, resulting in extensive fecal excretion and environmental losses. Chelation of trace metal supplements with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) can mitigate the effects of dietary antagonists by preserving the solubility of trace minerals. Lack of EDTA biodegradability, however, is of environmental concern. l-Glutamic acid, N,N-diacetic acid (GLDA) is a readily biodegradable chelating agent that could be used as a suitable alternative to EDTA. The latter was tested in sequential dose–response experiments in broiler chickens. Study 1 compared the effect of EDTA and GLDA in broilers on supplemental zinc availability at three levels of added zinc (5, 10, and 20 ppm) fed alone or in combination with molar amounts of GLDA or EDTA equivalent to chelate the added zinc, including negative (no supplemental zinc) and positive (80 ppm added zinc) control treatments. Study 2 quantified the effect of GLDA on the availability of native trace mineral feed content in a basal diet containing no supplemental minerals and supplemented with three levels of GLDA (54, 108, and 216 ppm). In study 1, serum and tibia Zn clearly responded to the increasing doses of dietary zinc with a significant response to the presence of EDTA and GLDA (P < 0.05). These results are also indicative of the equivalent nutritional properties between GLDA and EDTA. In study 2, zinc levels in serum and tibia were also increased with the addition of GLDA to a basal diet lacking supplemental trace minerals, where serum zinc levels were 60% higher at the 216 ppm inclusion level. Similar to the reported effects of EDTA, these studies demonstrate that dietary GLDA may have enhanced zinc solubility in the gastrointestinal tract and subsequently enhanced availability for absorption, resulting in improved nutritional zinc status in zinc-deficient diets. As such, GLDA can be an effective nutritional tool to reduce supplemental zinc levels in broiler diets, thereby maintaining health and performance while reducing the environmental footprint of food-producing animals.
by G. M. Boerboom on 04.02.2021
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Effect of immunized egg proteins on the performance and neonatal diarrhoea incidence in newborn calves

Ruminants
The aim of this study was to assess the effects of feeding immunized egg proteins (IEP) on the health and performance of newborn dairy calves. Sixty‐four Holstein calves, both male and female, were divided over two treatments. Calves either received IEP or a placebo (PCB) in their colostrum and calf milk replacer (CMR) for the first 14 days of their life. Until day 49, CMR was offered at 15% of birth weight (BW), at 10% on days 49–57 and at 5% on days 57–63. In addition, calves received starter concentrate, chopped straw and water from 3 days old until 70 days old at the end of study. Individual CMR and concentrate intake were measured daily whilst BW was recorded weekly. Visual faecal scoring and health observations were conducted daily. Faecal samples were collected weekly up to 4 weeks and during the first 4 days of scouring to screen for presence of Cryptosporidium parvum, rotavirus, coronavirus, E. coli and Salmonella. Results indicated that feeding IEP increased BW (p < .05) at 42 and 56 days old, and BW also tended (p = .06) to be higher after weaning at 63–70 days old compared to the PCB group. When analysed using a repeated measures model, compared to feeding PCB, feeding IEP increased total concentrate consumption (p = .001) by 3.6kg/calf. Over the entire study, daily water intake was higher (p = .002) for the IEP group when compared with the PCB group. In the IEP group, 12 calves were scored as scouring whereas there were 14 calves in the PCB group. There were no significant differences between treatments in faecal pathogen load of neither healthy nor scouring calves. In conclusion, supplementing IEP during the first 14 days of calf life improved the performance of newborn calves. Further work is warranted to understand the mode of action of IEP in calves.
by S. J. A. van Kuijk on 18.01.2021
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Organic Acids as Alternatives for Antibiotic Growth Promoters Alter the Intestinal Structure and Microbiota and Improve the Growth Performance in Broilers

Poultry
The present study aimed to investigate the effects of organic acids (OA) as alternatives for antibiotic growth promoters (AGP) on growth performance, intestinal structure, as well as intestinal microbial composition and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) profiles in broilers. A total of 336 newly hatched male Arbor Acres broiler chicks were randomly allocated into 3 dietary treatments including the basal diet [negative control (NC)], the basal diet supplemented with 5 mg/kg flavomycin, and the basal diet supplemented with OA feed additives. Each treatment had eight replicates with 14 birds each. The results showed that AGP and OA promoted growth during day 22–42 compared with the NC group (P < 0.05). OA significantly increased the jejunal goblet cell density and ileal villus height on day 42 compared with the NC group (P < 0.05). Meanwhile, OA up-regulated the mRNA expression of jejunal barrier genes (Claudin-3 and ZO-1) relative to the NC group (P < 0.05). Significant changes of microbiota induced by the OA were also found on day 42 (P < 0.05). Several SCFAs-producing bacteria like Ruminococcaceae, Christensenellaceae, and Peptococcaceae affiliated to the order Clostridiales were identified as biomarkers of the OA group. Higher concentrations of SCFAs including formic acid and butyric acid were observed in the cecum of OA group (P < 0.05). Simultaneously, the abundance of family Ruminococcaceae showed highly positive correlations with the body weight and mRNA level of ZO-1 on day 42 (P < 0.05). However, AGP supplementation had the higher mRNA expression of Claudin-2, lower goblet cell density of jejunum, and decreased Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio, suggesting that AGP might have a negative impact on intestinal immune and microbiota homeostasis. In conclusion, the OA improved growth performance, intestinal morphology and barrier function in broilers, which might be attributed to the changes of intestinal microbiota, particularly the enrichment of SCFAs-producing bacteria, providing a more homeostatic and healthy intestinal microecology.
by Dai D. on 13.01.2021
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The role of lactose in weanling pig nutrition: a literature and meta-analysis review

Swine
Lactose plays a crucial role in the growth performance of pigs at weaning because it is a palatable and easily digestible energy source that eases the transition from milk to solid feed. However, the digestibility of lactose declines after weaning due to a reduction in endogenous lactase activity in piglets. As a result, some lactose may be fermented in the gastrointestinal tract of pigs. Fermentation of lactose by intestinal microbiota yields lactic acid and volatile fatty acids, which may positively regulate the intestinal environment and microbiome, resulting in improved gastrointestinal health of weanling pigs. We hypothesize that the prebiotic effect of lactose may play a larger role in weanling pig nutrition as the global feed industry strives to reduce antibiotic usage and pharmacological levels of zinc oxide and supra-nutritional levels of copper. Evidence presented in this review indicates that high dietary lactose improves growth performance of piglets, as well as the growth of beneficial bacteria, particularly Lactobacillus, with the positive effects being more pronounced in the first 2 weeks after weaning. However, the risk of post-weaning diarrhea may increase as pigs get older due to reduced lactase activity, high dietary lactose concentrations, and larger feed intakes, all of which may lead to excessive lactose fermentation in the intestine of the pig. Therefore, dietary lactose levels exert different effects on growth performance and gastrointestinal physiological functions in different feeding phases of weanling pigs. However, no formal recommendation of lactose for weanling pigs has been reported. A meta-analysis approach was used to determine that diets fed to swine should include 20%, 15%, and 0 lactose from d 0–7, d 7–14, and d 14–35 post-weaning, respectively. However, sustainable swine production demands that economics must also be taken into account as lactose and lactose containing ingredients are expensive. Therefore, alternatives to lactose, so called “lactose equivalents” have also been studied in an effort to decrease feed cost while maintaining piglet performance with lower dietary lactose inclusions. In summary, the present review investigated dose-response effects of dietary lactose supplementation to exert positive responses and begin to elucidate its mechanisms of action in post-weaning pig diets. The results may help to replace some or all lactose in the diet of weanling pigs, while improving production economics given the high cost of lactose and availability in some swine production markets.
by Zhao J. on 10.01.2021
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Fibre supplementation to pre-weaning piglet diets did not improve the resilience towards a post-weaning enterotoxigenic E. coli challenge

Swine
Dietary fibre (DF) is implicated in gastrointestinal health of weaned piglets, either through its physiochemical properties, through modulation of gut microbiota and (or) improved gut integrity. We aimed to study the effect of DF enriched supplemental diets fed to suckling piglets ('creep feed') on health and performance after weaning when challenged with an enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC). Seventy-two piglets originating from 28 litters had been fed four creep diets, that is a low-fibre control (CON); a diet containing 2% long-chain arabinoxylans from wheat (lc-AXOS) or 5% purified cellulose (CELL) or a diet containing the high fermentable and the low-fermentable fibre source (i.e. 2% lc-AXOS and 5% CELL). Upon weaning, piglets were individually housed and all fed the same diet. On days 7, 8 and 9, animals received an oral dose of ETEC (5 ml containing 107 to 108 CFU/ml). Besides growth performance, faecal and skin scores were recorded daily. Gut permeability was assessed by urinary excretion of Co-EDTA prior and post-ETEC challenge. Repeated measures in time were statistically evaluated with generalized linear mixed models. We used a binominal distribution for evaluating the faecal and skin scores. Feed intake and body weight gain did not differ between treatments (p > .05). Piglets on CELL decreased gain:feed ratio in week 2 + 3 week compared to CON (p = .035). Prior to ETEC challenge, gut permeability tended to increase for lc-AXOS (p = .092). Moreover, lc-AXOS as main effect increased intestinal permeability before ETEC challenge (p = .013), whereas the low-fermentable fibre lead to elevated intestinal permeability after ETEC challenge (p = .014). The incidence of diarrhoea was higher for lc-AXOS + CELL compared with lc-AXOS (p = .036), while skin condition was unaffected. In conclusion, neither the high fermentable nor the low-fermentable fibre source improved post-weaning growth or gastrointestinal health of the piglets.
by H. van Hees on 25.11.2020
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