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Feed efficiency and the liver proteome of fattening lambs are modified by feed restriction during the suckling period

  • A. Santos (a1), C. Valdés (a1), F. J. Giráldez (a1), S. López (a1), J. France (a2), J. Frutos (a1), M. Fernández (a1) and S. Andrés (a1)...


The present study was designed to describe the effects of early feed restriction of Merino lambs on feed efficiency during the fattening period by examining ruminal microbiota and fermentation parameters, gastrointestinal morphology, digestibility or liver proteome. In total, 24 male Merino lambs were randomly assigned to two experimental treatments (n=12 per treatment). Lambs of the first group (ad libitum (ADL)) were kept permanently with the dams, whereas the other 12 lambs (restricted (RES)) were milk restricted. When lambs reached a live BW (LBW) of 15 kg, all the animals were offered the same complete pelleted diet (35 g dry matter/kg LBW per day) until slaughter at a LBW of 27 kg. The RES lambs showed poorer feed efficiency during the fattening period when compared with the ADL group (feed to gain ratio, 3.69 v. 3.05, P<0.001). No differences were observed in ruminal microbiota, fermentation parameters or apparent digestibility. However, the proportion of the small intestine and the length of ileal villi were reduced in the RES lambs. In total, 26 spots/proteins were identified in the liver proteomic profile, with significant differences (P<0.05) between experimental treatments, suggesting a higher catabolism of proteins and a reduction in β-oxidation of fatty acids in RES lambs when compared with the ADL animals. In conclusion, early feed restriction of Merino lambs during the suckling period promotes long-term effects on the small intestine and the proteomic profile of the liver, which may influence the metabolic use of nutrients, thus negatively affecting feed efficiency during the fattening phase.


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Feed efficiency and the liver proteome of fattening lambs are modified by feed restriction during the suckling period

  • A. Santos (a1), C. Valdés (a1), F. J. Giráldez (a1), S. López (a1), J. France (a2), J. Frutos (a1), M. Fernández (a1) and S. Andrés (a1)...


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