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Dairy cows can have different degrees of hypocalcaemia around calving. Lowering dietary Ca availability before calving can prevent it. Rice bran, treated for lower rumen degradability of phytic acid can reduce dietary availability of Ca. During 3 periods of 3 weeks, 113 multiparous cows calved in a single close-up group, which was fed first a control diet, then 140 g/kg DM of rumen-protected rice bran, and at last the control diet again. Cows joined the group 3 weeks before expected calving date and left it at calving. Blood samples were taken weekly before parturition and 0, 6 and 12 h after calving, as well as 3 and 28 d in lactation. Serum was analysed for Ca, Mg, and P. Rice bran introduction produced a transient serum Ca decrease. Rice bran feeding reduced serum P and its withdrawal reduced serum Mg. Serum Ca at calving, nadir of serum Ca and serum Ca the first 3 d after calving was higher in cows calving during rice bran feeding. Serum P decreased less and recovered faster after calving when cows had been fed rice bran. Rumen-protected rice bran reduced dietary availability of Ca and induced adaptation of Ca metabolism resulting in improved Ca and P homoeostasis at calving.
Most dairy cows exhibit different degrees of hypocalcaemia around calving because the gestational Ca requirements shift to the disproportionately high Ca requirements of lactation. Ca homeostasis is a robust system that effectively adapts to changes in Ca demand or supply. However, these adaptations often are not rapid enough to avoid hypocalcaemia. A delay in the reconfiguration of intestinal Ca absorption and bone resorption is probably the underlying cause of this transient hypocalcaemia. Several dietary factors that affect different aspects of Ca metabolism are known to reduce the incidence of milk fever. The present review describes the interactions between nutrition and Ca homeostasis using observations from cattle and extrapolations from other species and aims to quantitatively model the effects of the nutritional approaches that are used to induce dry cows into an early adaptation of Ca metabolism. The present model suggests that reducing dietary cation–anion difference (DCAD) increases Ca clearance from the blood by dietary induction of systemic acidosis, which results in hypercalciuria due to the loss of function of the renal Ca transient receptor potential vanilloid channel TRPV5. Alternatively, reducing the gastrointestinal availability of Ca by reducing dietary Ca or its nutritional availability will also induce the activation of Ca metabolism to compensate for basal blood Ca clearance. Our model of gastrointestinal Ca availability as well as blood Ca clearance in the transition dairy cow allowed us to conclude that the most common dietary strategies for milk fever prevention may have analogous modes of action that are based on the principle of metabolic adaptation before calving.
N, N-dimethylglycine (DMG) is a tertiary amino acid that naturally occurs as an intermediate metabolite in choline-to-glycine metabolism. The objective of the present trial was to evaluate tolerance, safety and bioaccumulation of dietary DMG in broilers when supplemented at 1 g and 10 g Na-DMG/kg. A feeding trial was conducted using 480 1-d-old broiler chicks that were randomly allocated to twenty-four pens and fed one of three test diets added with 0, 1 or 10 g Na-DMG/kg during a 39 d growth period. Production performance was recorded to assess tolerance and efficacy of the supplement. At the end of the trial, toxicity was evaluated by means of haematology, plasma biochemistry and histopathology of liver, kidney and heart (n 12), whereas bioaccumulation was assessed on breast meat, liver, blood, kidney and adipose tissue (n 8). Carcass traits were similar between the control and 1 g Na-DMG/kg feed groups (P>0·05), but the feed:gain ratio was significantly improved at 1 g Na-DMG/kg feed compared with the control or the 10-fold dose (P = 0·008). Histological examinations showed no pathological effects and results of haematology and plasma biochemistry revealed similar values between the test groups (P>0·05). Bioaccumulation occurred at the 10-fold dose, but the resulting DMG content in breast meat was comparable with, for instance, wheat bran and much lower than uncooked spinach. In conclusion, DMG at 1 g Na-DMG/kg improved the feed:gain ratio in broilers without DMG being accumulated in consumer parts. Furthermore, dietary supplementation with DMG up to 10 g Na-DMG/kg did not induce toxicity or impaired performance in broilers.
The weaning transition is characterised by morphological, histological and microbial changes, often leading to weaning-associated disorders. These intestinal changes can partly be ascribed to the lack of luminal nutrition arising from the reduced feed intake common in pigs after weaning. It is increasingly becoming clear that changes in the supply with enteral nutrients may have major impacts on intestinal gene expression. Furthermore, the major dietary constituents, i.e. carbohydrates, fatty acids and amino acids, participate in the regulation of intestinal gene expression. However, nutrients may also escape digestion by mammalian enzymes in the upper gastrointestinal tract. These nutrients can be used by the microflora, resulting in the production of bacterial metabolites, for example, SCFA, which may affect intestinal gene expression indirectly. The present review provides an insight on possible effects of reduced feed intake on intestinal gene expression, as it may occur post-weaning. Detailed knowledge on effects of reduced feed intake on intestinal gene expression may help to understand weaning-associated intestinal dysfunctions and diseases. Examples are given of intestinal genes which may be altered in their expression due to supply with specific nutrients. In that way, gene expression could be modulated by dietary means, thereby acting as a potential therapeutic tool. This could be achieved, for example, by influencing genes coding for digestive or absorptive proteins, thus optimising digestive function and metabolism, but also with regard to immune response, or by influencing proliferative processes, thereby enhancing mucosal repair. This would be of special interest when designing a diet to overcome weaning-associated problems.
Under commercial conditions, weaning of piglets is associated with social, environmental and dietary stress. Consequently, small-intestinal barrier and absorptive functions deteriorate within a short time after weaning. Most studies that have assessed small-intestinal permeability in pigs after weaning used either Ussing chambers or orally administered marker probes. Paracellular barrier function and active absorption decrease when pigs are weaned at 3 weeks of age or earlier. However, when weaned at 4 weeks of age or later, the barrier function is less affected, and active absorption is not affected or is increased. Weaning stress is a critical factor in relation to the compromised paracellular barrier function after weaning. Adequate feed intake levels after weaning prevent the loss of the intestinal barrier function. Transcellular transport of macromolecules and passive transcellular absorption decrease after weaning. This may reflect a natural intestinal maturation process that is enhanced by the weaning process and prevents the pig from an antigen overload. It seems that passive and active absorption after weaning adapt accurately to the new environment when pigs are weaned after 3 weeks of age. However, when weaned at 3 weeks of age or earlier, the decrease in active absorption indicates that pigs are unable to sufficiently adapt to the new environment. To improve weaning strategies, future studies should distinguish whether the effect of feed intake on barrier function can be directed to a lack of a specific nutrient, i.e. energy or protein.
African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) were fed four isonitrogenous diets (34 % crude protein), each containing one of two lipid (100 or 180 g/kg) and two l-carnitine (15 or 1000 mg/kg) levels. After 81 d of feeding, thirty-two fish (body weight 32 g) from each dietary group were randomly selected, sixteen fish were induced to a 3-h swim (speed of 1·5 body length (BL)/s), while the other sixteen fish were kept under resting condition. Fish fed 1000 mg l-carnitine accumulated 3·5 and 5 times more l-carnitine in plasma and muscle, respectively, than fish fed the 15 mg l-carnitine. Muscle l-carnitine content was significantly lower in exercised fish than in rested fish. High dietary lipid level (fish oil) led to an increase in muscle n-3 PUFA content and a decrease in SFA and MUFA content. In liver, the increase in dietary lipid level resulted in an increased levels of both n-6 and n-3 PUFA. l-carnitine supplementation significantly decreased n-3 PUFA content. Exercise decreased n-3 PUFA in both muscle and liver. Plasma lactate and lactate dehydrogenase, normally associated with increased glycolytic processes, were positively correlated with exercise and inversely correlated with dietary l-carnitine level. l-carnitine supplementation reduced significantly the RQ from 0·72 to 0·63, and an interaction between dietary l-carnitine and lipid was observed (P < 0·03). Our results indicate that an increase in fatty acids (FA) intake may promote FA oxidation, and both carnitine and exercise might influence the regulation of FA oxidation selectivity.
The aim was to evaluate under protein-limiting conditions the effect of different supplemental energy sources: fermentable NSP (fNSP), digestible starch (dStarch) and digestible unsaturated fat (dUFA), on marginal efficiency of fat deposition and distribution. A further aim was to determine whether the extra fat deposition from different energy sources, and its distribution in the body, depends on feeding level. A total of fifty-eight individually housed pigs (48 (sd 4) kg) were used in a 3 × 2 factorial design study, with three energy sources (0·2 MJ digestible energy (DE)/kg0·75 per d of fNSP, dStarch and dUFA added to a control diet) at two feeding levels. Ten pigs were slaughtered at 48 (sd 4) kg body weight and treatment pigs at 106 (sd 3) kg body weight. Bodies were dissected and the chemical composition of each body fraction was determined. The effect of energy sources on fat and protein deposition was expressed relative to the control treatments within both energy intake levels based on a total of thirty-two observations in six treatments, and these marginal differences were subsequently treated as dependent variables. Results showed that preferential deposition of the supplemental energy intake in various fat depots did not depend on the energy source, and the extra fat deposition was similar at each feeding level. The marginal energetic transformation (energy retention; ER) of fNSP, dStarch and dUFA for fat retention (ERfat:DE) was 44, 52 and 49 % (P>0·05), respectively. Feeding level affected fat distribution, but source of energy did not change the relative partitioning of fat deposition. The present results do not support values of energetic efficiencies currently used in net energy-based systems.
After birth, development of a normal microbial community occurs gradually, and is affected by factors such as the composition of the maternal gut microbiota, the environment, and the host genome. Diet also has a direct influence, both on composition and activity of this community. This influence begins with the milk, when specific components exert their growth-promoting effect on a beneficial microbiota, thereby suppressing potential pathogens. For example, breast-fed infants compared with formula-fed babies usually have a microbial community dominated by bifidobacteria. When solid food is introduced (weaning), dramatic changes in microbial composition occur, so pathogens can gain access to the disturbed gastrointestinal (GI) ecosystem. However, use of specific dietary components can alter the composition and activity of the microbiota positively. Of all dietary components, fermentable carbohydrates seem to be most promising in terms of promoting proliferation of beneficial bacterial species. Carbohydrate fermentation results in the production of SCFA which are known for their trophic and health-promoting effects. Fermentation of proteins, on the other hand, is often associated with growth of potential pathogens, and results in production of detrimental substances including NH3 and amines. In terms of the GI microbiota, lipids are often associated with the antimicrobial activity of medium-chain fatty acids and their derivatives. The present review aims to provide deeper insights into the composition and development of the neonatal GI microbiota, how this microbiota can be influenced by certain dietary components, and how this might ultimately lead to improvements in host health.
The phasing out of antibiotic compounds as growth promoters from the animal industry means that alternative practices will need to be investigated and the promising ones implemented in the very near future. Fermentation in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is being recognized as having important implications for health of the gut and thus of the host animal. Fermentation in single-stomached animals occurs to the largest extent in the large intestine, mainly because of the longer transit time there. The present review examines the micro-ecology of the GIT, with most emphasis on the large intestine as the most important site of fermentative activity, and an attempt is made to clarify the importance of the microfloral activity (i.e. fermentation) in relation to the health of the host. The differences between carbohydrate and protein fermentation are described, particularly in relation to their endproducts. The roles of volatile fatty acids (VFA) and NH3 in terms of their relationship to gut health are then examined. The large intestine has an important function in relation to the development of diarrhoea, particularly in terms of VFA production by fermentation and its role in water absorption. Suggestions are made as to feeds and additives (particularly those which are carbohydrate-based) which could be, or are, added to diets and which could steer the natural microbial population of the GIT. Various methods are described which are used to investigate changes in microbial populations and reasons are given for the importance of measuring the kinetics of fermentation activity as an indicator of microbial activity.
Though bad odour has always been associated with animal production, it did not attract much research attention until in many countries the odour production and emission from intensified animal production caused serious nuisance and was implicated in the health problems of individuals living near animal farms. Odour from pig production facilities is generated by the microbial conversion of feed in the large intestine of pigs and by the microbial conversion of pig excreta under anaerobic conditions and in manure stores. Assuming that primary odour-causing compounds arise from an excess of degradable protein and a lack of specific fermentable carbohydrates during microbial fermentation, the main dietary components that can be altered to reduce odour are protein and fermentable carbohydrates. In the present paper we aim to give an up-to-date review of studies on the relationship between diet composition and odour production, with the emphasis on protein and fermentable carbohydrates. We hypothesise how odour might be changed and/or reduced by altering the diet of pigs. Research so far has mainly focused on the single effects of different levels of crude protein and fermentable carbohydrates on odour production. However, also important for odour formation are the sources of protein and fermentable carbohydrates. In addition, it is not only the amount and source of these compounds that is important, but also the balance between them. On the basis of our review of the literature, we hypothesise that odour nuisance from pig production facilities might be reduced significantly if there is an optimum balance between protein and fermentable carbohydrates in the diet of pigs.
A [13CO2] breath test was applied as a non-invasive method to study the catabolism of ingested amino acids shortly after a meal. This test requires the ingestion of a [1-13C]-labelled amino acid and the analysis of expired air for [13C] enrichment and CO2. The recovery of label as [13CO2] reflects the catabolism of the [1-13C]-labelled substrate. Such a non-steady state approach provides information that is complementary to the information obtained by steady-state methods using a primed continuous infusion of tracer amino acids during the fed state. In a model study with twenty adult male rats, two groups of animals were fed twice a day with one of two semi-synthetic iso-energetic diets. One diet contained egg white protein (EW) as the sole amino acid source. The second diet contained a mixture of free amino acids with a pattern similar to that of the EW diet. On day 5 of the dietary treatment, l-[1-13C]leucine, either bound in EW protein or in free form, was ingested as part of the morning meal. The expired air was sampled at 30 min intervals for 5 h. The rate of recovery ranged from 0 % to 6 % of the dose/h. Up to 120 min after the onset of the meal, the recovery values for the free amino acid diet were higher than those for the EW diet. Differences in recovery reflect differences in postprandial utilisation. The differences in label recovery were mainly determined by the [13C] enrichment of the expired air. As a consequence, CO2 measurements are not mandatory when CO2 production is comparable.
The effects of asynchronous availability of amino acids and glucose on muscle composition and enzyme activities in skeletal muscle were studied in preruminant calves. It was hypothesized that decreased oxidative enzyme activities in muscle would explain a decreased whole body heat production with decreasing nutrient synchrony. Preruminant calves were assigned to one of six degrees of nutrient synchrony, step-wise separating the intake of protein and lactose over the two daily meals. Calves at the most synchronous treatment received two identical meals daily. At the most asynchronous treatment, 85 % of the daily protein and 20 % of the daily lactose supply were fed in one meal and the remainder in the other meal. Daily intakes of all dietary ingredients were identical for all treatments. Oxidative enzyme activities and fat content increased with decreasing nutrient synchrony in M. Rectus Abdominis (RA), but not in M. Semitendinosus. Cytochrome-c-oxidase activity was positively correlated with fat content in RA (r 0·49; P < 0·01). Oxidative enzyme activities in both muscles were not correlated with average daily heat production, but citrate synthase activity in RA was positively correlated (P < 0·01) with the circadian amplitude (r 0·53) and maximum (r 0·61) of heat production associated with physical activity. In conclusion, this study indicates that muscle energy stores are regulated by nutrient synchrony. The lack of correlation between muscle oxidative enzyme activities and average daily heat production was in contrast with findings in human subjects. Therefore, oxidative enzyme activity in muscle should not be used as an indicator for whole body heat production in growing calves.
Seventy piglets with no access to creep feed were weaned at 28 d of age and fed on one of four diets based on either skimmed-milk powder (SMP), soya-bean-protein concentrate (SPC), soya-bean meal (SBM) or fish meal (FM). At 0, 3, 6 and 10 d after weaning, piglets were killed and the pancreas and digesta from stomach and small intestine were collected, freeze-dried and analysed for dry matter (DM), N, and trypsin (EC126.96.36.199) and chymotrypsin (EC188.8.131.52) activities. Small-intestinal tissue samples were taken to examine gut wall morphology. Results indicated that dietary protein source affected post-weaning feed intake, pancreatic weight, gastric pH and gastric protein breakdown, and pancreatic and jejunal trypsin and chymotrypsin activities. Post-weaning feed intake appeared to be an important factor in digestive development of newly-weaned piglets.
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