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Dietary supplementation of essential oils in dairy cows: evidence for stimulatory effects on nutrient absorption

  • H.-S. Braun (a1), K. T. Schrapers (a1), K. Mahlkow-Nerge (a2), F. Stumpff (a1) and J. Rosendahl (a1)...

Abstract

Results of recent in vitro experiments suggest that essential oils (EO) may not only influence ruminal fermentation but also modulate the absorption of cations like Na+, Ca2+ and NH4+ across ruminal epithelia of cattle and sheep through direct interaction with epithelial transport proteins, such as those of the transient receptor potential family. The aim of the current study was to examine this hypothesis by testing the effect of a blend of essential oils (BEO) on cation status and feed efficiency in lactating dairy cows. In the experiment, 72 dairy cows in mid-to-end lactation were divided into two groups of 36 animals each and fed the same mixed ration with or without addition of BEO in a 2×2 cross-over design. Feed intake, milk yield and composition, plasma and urine samples were monitored. Feeding BEO elevated milk yield, milk fat and protein yield as well as feed efficiency, whereas urea levels in plasma and milk decreased. In addition, plasma calcium levels increased significantly upon BEO supplementation, supporting the hypothesis that enhanced cation absorption might contribute to the beneficial effects of these EO.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Footnotes

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Present address: PerformaNat GmbH, Hohentwielsteig 6, 14163 Berlin, Germany. E-mail: Katharina.schrapers@fu-berlin.de

a

Authors contributed equally.

Footnotes

References

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