Agriculture and Food Systems - Research Publications

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    Reducing the Fermentability of Wheat with a Starch Binding Agent Reduces Some of the Negative Effects of Heat Stress in Sheep
    Prathap, P ; Chauhan, SS ; Leury, BJ ; Cottrell, JJ ; Joy, A ; Zhang, M ; Dunshea, FR (MDPI, 2022-06-01)
    The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of reducing the fermentability of grains on thermoregulatory responses in heat stressed (HS) lambs. To achieve this, wheat grain treated with a commercial starch binding agent, Bioprotect, is compared to maize, which has already demonstrated effects in ameliorating heat stress-induced thermoregulation responses and untreated wheat grains. An initial in vitro experiment was conducted to examine cumulative gas production from the fermentation of wheat grain with different dosages of the commercial starch binding agent, Bioprotect. Based on the in vitro results, an in vivo lamb experiment was conducted using 24 Merino lambs (1 year old; 42.6 ± 3.6 kg BW). The lambs were offered one of three dietary treatments: a wheat-based diet (WD), a Bioprotect treated wheat-based diet (BD), and a maize-based diet (MD). Three successive 1-week experimental periods were conducted with lambs from all dietary groups (P1, P2, and P3). During P1, lambs were exposed to a TN environment and fed a 1.7× Maintenance feed intake (MF) level; in P2, lambs were kept in a HS environment and fed a 1.7× MF level; and in P3, animals were kept in a HS environment and fed a 2× MF level. The in vitro experiment revealed a reduction in cumulative gas production (p < 0.05) from the Bioprotect treated wheat compared to untreated wheat samples. In the in vivo component of the study, the replacement of wheat with maize or 2% Bioprotect-treated wheat reduced the respiration rate (p < 0.001) and heart rate (p ≤ 0.01) of lambs during HS. There was a reduction in the concentration of blood gas variables such as a base excess of blood (BE(b)) and extracellular fluid (BE(ecf)), bicarbonate (CHCO3-), the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (pCO2), the total concentration of carbon dioxide (ctCO2), and sodium (Na+) (p ≤ 0.001 for all) during the periods of HS compared to the thermoneutral conditions. Moreover, BD- and MD-fed lambs had a higher blood potassium concentration (K+) than the WD-fed lambs (p = 0.008). The results of the present study suggest that Bioprotect can be a viable feed treatment strategy for treating rapidly fermentable grains such as wheat to alleviate the effects of HS. Further, Bioprotect-treated wheat could be an option to replace maize in concentrate rations in jurisdictions where maize is cost-prohibitive or unavailable.
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    Review: What have we learned about the effects of heat stress on the pig industry?
    Liu, F ; Zhao, W ; Le, HH ; Cottrell, JJ ; Green, MP ; Leury, BJ ; Dunshea, FR ; Bell, AW (Elsevier BV, 2022-06)
    Pig production faces seasonal fluctuations. The low farrowing rate of sows mated in summer, increased carcass fatness of progeny born to the sows mated in summer, and slower growth rate of finisher pigs in summer are three economically important impacts identified in the pig industry. The purpose of this review is to examine advances over the past decade in understanding the mechanisms underlying the three impacts associated with summer conditions, particularly heat stress (HS), and to provide possible amelioration strategies. For impact 1, summer mating results in low farrowing rates mainly caused by the high frequency of early pregnancy disruptions. The contributions of semen DNA damage, poor oocyte quality, local progesterone concentrations, and suboptimal embryonic oestrogen secretion are discussed, as these all may contribute to HS-mediated effects around conception. Despite this, it is still unclear what the underlying mechanisms might be and thus, there is currently a lack of commercially viable solutions. For impact 2, there have been recent advances in the understanding of gestational HS on both the sow and foetus, with gestational HS implicated in decreased foetal muscle fibre number, a greater proportion of lighter piglets, and increased carcass fatness at slaughter. So far, no effective strategies have been developed to mitigate the impacts associated with gestational HS on foetuses. For impact 3, the slowed growth rate of pigs during summer is one reason for the reduced carcass weights in summer. Studies have shown that the reduction in growth rates may be due to more than reductions in feed intake alone, and the impaired intestinal barrier function and inflammatory response may also play a role. In addition, it is consistently reported that HS attenuates fat mobilisation which can potentially exacerbate carcass fatness when carcass weight is increased. Novel feed additives have exhibited the potential to reduce the impacts of HS on intestinal barrier function in grower pigs. Collectively, based on these three impacts, the economic loss associated with HS can be estimated. A review of these impacts is warranted to better align the future research directions with the needs of the pig industry. Ultimately, a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms and continuous investments in developing commercially viable strategies to combat HS will benefit the pig industry.
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    Digital technologies to assess yoghurt quality traits and consumers acceptability
    Gupta, MK ; Viejo, CG ; Fuentes, S ; Torrico, DD ; Saturno, PC ; Gras, SL ; Dunshea, FR ; Cottrell, JJ (WILEY, 2022-05-10)
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    Plant and Dairy-Based Yogurts: A Comparison of Consumer Sensory Acceptability Linked to Textural Analysis
    Gupta, MK ; Torrico, DD ; Ong, L ; Gras, SL ; Dunshea, FR ; Cottrell, JJ (MDPI, 2022-02-01)
    Yogurt, readily available in plant and dairy-based formulations, is widely consumed and linked with health benefits. This research is aimed to understand the sensory and textural spectrum of commercially available dairy and plant-based yogurts. In a preliminary study, qualitative focus group discussions (4 groups; n = 32) were used to determine perceptions of 28 dairy and plant-based yogurts, identifying positive consumer perceptions of plant-based yogurts. A smaller subset of five spoonable and one drinkable yogurts-(Reference, Soy, Coconut, Cookies, Berry, and Drinkable) was subsequently selected for rheological and structural measurements, showing wide variations in the microstructure and rheology of selected yogurt samples. A quantitative blind sensory tasting (n = 117) showed varying yogurt acceptability, with Berry being the least-liked and Cookies being the most-liked yogurt, in terms of overall liking. The multi-factor analysis confirmed that compositional and textural elements, including protein content, gel firmness, and consistency coefficient, displayed a positive relationship with overall liking. In contrast, fat, sugar, and calories were negatively correlated to the overall liking. This research showed that texture and other compositional factors are significant determinants of the consumer acceptability of yogurt products and are essential properties to consider in product development.
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    Effects of a Short-Term Supranutritional Selenium Supplementation on Redox Balance, Physiology and Insulin-Related Metabolism in Heat-Stressed Pigs
    Liu, F ; Celi, P ; Cottrell, JJ ; Chauhan, SS ; Leury, BJ ; Dunshea, FR (Wiley, 2018-02)
    Heat stress (HS) disrupts redox balance and insulin‐related metabolism. Supplementation with supranutritional amounts of selenium (Se) may enhance glutathione peroxidase (GPX) activity and reduce oxidative stress, but may trigger insulin resistance. Therefore, the aim of this experiment was to investigate the effects of a short‐term high Se supplementation on physiology, oxidative stress and insulin‐related metabolism in heat‐stressed pigs. Twenty‐four gilts were fed either a control (0.20 ppm Se) or a high Se (1.0 ppm Se yeast, HiSe) diet for 2 weeks. Pigs were then housed in thermoneutral (20°C) or HS (35°C) conditions for 8 days. Blood samples were collected to study blood Se and oxidative stress markers. An oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) was conducted on day 8 of thermal exposure. The HS conditions increased rectal temperature and respiration rate (both p < .001). The HiSe diet increased blood Se by 12% (p < .05) and ameliorated the increase in rectal temperature (p < .05). Heat stress increased oxidative stress as evidenced by a 48% increase in plasma advanced oxidized protein products (AOPPs; p < .05), which may be associated with the reductions in plasma biological antioxidant potential (BAP) and erythrocyte GPX activity (both p < .05). The HiSe diet did not alleviate the reduction in plasma BAP or increase in AOPPs observed during HS, although it tended to increase erythrocyte GPX activity by 13% (p = .068). Without affecting insulin, HS attenuated lipid mobilization, as evidenced by a lower fasting NEFA concentration (p < .05), which was not mitigated by the HiSe diet. The HiSe diet increased insulin AUC, suggesting it potentiated insulin resistance, although this only occurred under TN conditions (p = .066). In summary, HS induced oxidative stress and attenuated lipid mobilization in pigs. The short‐term supranutritional Se supplementation alleviated hyperthermia, but did not protect against oxidative stress in heat‐stressed pigs.
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    Selenium and vitamin E together improve intestinal epithelial barrier function and alleviate oxidative stress in heat-stressed pigs
    Liu, F ; Cottrell, JJ ; Furness, JB ; Rivera, LR ; Kelly, FW ; Wijesiriwardana, U ; Pustovit, RV ; Fothergill, LJ ; Bravo, DM ; Celi, P ; Leury, BJ ; Gabler, NK ; Dunshea, FR (WILEY, 2016-07-01)
    What is the central question of this study? Oxidative stress may play a role in compromising intestinal epithelial barrier integrity in pigs subjected to heat stress, but it is unknown whether an increase of dietary antioxidants (selenium and vitamin E) could alleviate gut leakiness in heat-stressed pigs. What is the main finding and its importance? Levels of dietary selenium (1.0 p.p.m.) and vitamin E (200 IU kg(-1) ) greater than those usually recommended for pigs reduced intestinal leakiness caused by heat stress. This finding suggests that oxidative stress plays a role in compromising intestinal epithelial barrier integrity in heat-stressed pigs and also provides a nutritional strategy for mitigating these effects. Heat stress compromises the intestinal epithelial barrier integrity of mammals through mechanisms that may include oxidative stress. Our objective was to test whether dietary supplementation with antioxidants, selenium (Se) and vitamin E (VE), protects intestinal epithelial barrier integrity in heat-stressed pigs. Female growing pigs (n = 48) were randomly assigned to four diets containing from 0.2 p.p.m. Se and 17 IU kg(-1) VE (control, National Research Council recommended) to 1.0 p.p.m. Se and 200 IU kg(-1) VE for 14 days. Six pigs from each dietary treatment were then exposed to either thermoneutral (20°C) or heat-stress conditions (35°C 09.00-17.00 h and 28°C overnight) for 2 days. Transepithelial electrical resistance and fluorescein isothiocyanate-dextran (4 kDa; FD4) permeability were measured in isolated jejunum and ileum using Ussing chambers. Rectal temperature, respiratory rate and intestinal HSP70 mRNA abundance increased (all P < 0.001), and respiratory alkalosis occurred, suggesting that pigs were heat stressed. Heat stress also increased FD4 permeability and decreased transepithelial electrical resistance (both P < 0.01). These changes were associated with changes indicative of oxidative stress, a decreased glutathione peroxidase (GPX) activity and an increased glutathione disulfide (GSSG)-to-glutathione (GSH) ratio (both P < 0.05). With increasing dosage of Se and VE, GPX-2 mRNA (P = 0.003) and GPX activity (P = 0.049) increased linearly, the GSSG:GSH ratio decreased linearly (P = 0.037), and the impacts of heat stress on intestinal barrier function were reduced (P < 0.05 for both transepithelial electrical resistance and FD4 permeability). In conclusion, in pigs an increase of dietary Se and VE mitigated the impacts of heat stress on intestinal barrier integrity, associated with a reduction in oxidative stress.
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    Filling the out of season gaps for lamb and hogget production: Diet and genetic influence on carcass yield, carcass composition and retail value of meat
    Ponnampalam, EN ; Kerr, MG ; Butler, KL ; Cottrell, JJ ; Dunshea, FR ; Jacobs, JL (Elsevier, 2019-02-01)
    This study investigated the use of camelina forage and meal supplementation to a finishing diet on carcass traits, composition and retail value of lamb and hoggets. The metabolisable energy and crude protein concentrations of all 3 diets were 10–11 MJ/kg DM and 14–15% CP. Thirty maternal Composite wether lambs (28–38 kg) and 30 Merino wether hoggets (37–43 kg) were used in a 3 × 2 factorial experiment. Animals were slaughtered after 10 weeks of feeding with carcasses classified as ‘Heavy lamb’ or ‘Heavy hogget’ (>22 kg carcass weight). Carcass traits, composition, meat mineral concentrations and retail colour were measured. Camelina diets increased liveweight (P < 0.02) and carcass weight (P < 0.002) for both sheep types. Carcass weight (P < 0.005) and dressing % (P < 0.01) were lower for Merino hoggets than Composite lambs. Mineral concentration and retail colour stability of fresh meat were unaffected by diet, with 72 h retail colour considered acceptable for consumers.
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    A comparison of the anatomical and gastrointestinal functional development between gilt and sow progeny around birth and weaning
    Craig, JR ; Dunshea, FR ; Cottrell, JJ ; Furness, JB ; Wijesiriwardana, UA ; Pluske, J (American Society of Animal Science, 2019-09-01)
    Gilt progeny (GP) often have restricted growth performance and health status in comparison to sow progeny (SP) from birth, with the underlying mechanisms responsible for this yet to be fully understood. The present study aimed to compare differences in growth and development between GP and SP in the first 24 h after birth and in the periweaning period. Two cohorts of pigs including 36 GP and 37 SP were euthanized at 1 of 4 time points: a birth cohort (at birth before suckling, 0 h; and 24 h after birth, 24 h; n = 33) and a weaning cohort (at approximately 29 d of age; “pre-weaning,” PrW; and 24 h after weaning; “post-weaning,” PoW; n = 40). Pigs were individually weighed at 0 h, 24 h, PrW, and PoW up until the point of euthanasia, at which time the weights of selected tissues and organs were recorded and analyzed relative to BW. The length of the small intestine (SI), femur, and body were also measured, and a serum sample was collected and analyzed for IgG concentration. Samples of jejunal and ileal mucosa were collected and analyzed for total protein and specific activity of lactase. Euthanized GP were lighter (P < 0.01) than SP at all time points. At all time points, the ratios of quadriceps weight to femur length, BW to body length, spleen to BW (all P < 0.05), and SI weight to length (P < 0.10) were lower in GP than in SP. There was no difference (P ≥ 0.05) in stomach or heart to BW ratios between GP and SP in either cohort. The brain to liver weight ratio was greater (P = 0.044) in GP than in SP in the birth cohort, and the brain to BW ratio was greater (P < 0.01) in GP in both the birth and weaning cohorts. The liver to BW ratio was similar (P = 0.35) at birth but greater (P = 0.014) in GP around weaning. Total mucosal protein content in the jejunum and ileum was lower (P = 0.007) in GP at 24 h compared with SP, and specific activity of lactase was greater (P = 0.022) in GP in the birth cohort, whereas there were no differences in the weaning cohort (P ≥ 0.10). Gilt progeny had lower (P < 0.001) serum IgG concentration compared with SP at 24 h, but there was no difference (P ≥ 0.10) in the weaning cohort. Collectively, these findings suggest that the early development of GP may be delayed compared with SP and that a number of the anatomical differences between GP and SP that exist after birth are also present at weaning.
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    Compensatory feeding during early gestation for sows with a high weight loss after a summer lactation increased piglet birth weight but reduced litter size
    Liu, F ; Braden, CJ ; Smits, RJ ; Craig, JR ; Henman, DJ ; Brewster, CJ ; Morrison, RS ; Athorn, RZ ; Leury, BJ ; Zhao, W ; Cottrell, JJ ; Dunshea, FR ; Bell, AW (OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, 2021-08-03)
    Sows mated in summer produce a greater proportion of born-light piglets (<1.1 kg) which contributes to increased carcass fatness in the progeny population. The reasons for the low birth weight of these piglets remain unclear, and there have been few successful mitigation strategies identified. We hypothesized that: 1) the low birth weight of progeny born to sows mated in summer may be associated with weight loss during the previous summer lactation; and 2) increasing early gestation feed allowance for the sows with high lactational weight loss in summer can help weight recovery and improve progeny birth weight. Sows were classified as having either low (av. 1%) or high (av. 7%) lactational weight loss in their summer lactation. All the sows with low lactational weight loss (LLStd) and half of the sows with high lactational weight loss received a standard gestation feeding regime (HLStd) (2.6 kg/d; day 0-30 gestation), whereas the rest of the sows with high lactational weight loss received a compensatory feed allowance (HLComp) (3.5 kg/d; day 0-30 gestation). A comparison of LLStd (n = 75) versus HLStd sows (n = 78) showed that this magnitude of weight loss over summer lactation did not affect the average piglet or litter birth weight, but such results may be influenced by the higher litter size (P = 0.030) observed in LLStd sows. A comparison of HLStd versus HLComp (n = 81) sows showed that the compensatory feeding increased (P = 0.021) weight gain of gestating sows by 6 kg, increased (P = 0.009) average piglet birth weight by 0.12 kg, tended to reduce (P = 0.054) the percentage of born-light piglets from 23.5% to 17.1% but reduced the litter size by 1.4 (P = 0.014). A subgroup of progeny stratified as born-light (0.8-1.1 kg) or -normal (1.3-1.7 kg) from each sow treatment were monitored for growth performance from weaning until 100 kg weight. The growth performance and carcass backfat of progeny were not affected by sow treatments. Born-light progeny had lower feed intake, lower growth rate, higher G:F, and higher carcass backfat than born-normal progeny (all P < 0.05). In summary, compensatory feeding from day 0 to 30 gestation in the sows with high weight loss during summer lactation reduced the percentage of born-light progeny at the cost of a lower litter size, which should improve growth rate and carcass leanness in the progeny population born to sows with high lactational weight loss.
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    LC-MS/MS-QTOF screening and identification of phenolic compounds from Australian grown herbs and their antioxidant potential
    Ali, A ; Bashmil, YM ; Cottrell, JJ ; Suleria, HAR ; Dunshea, FR (MDPI AG, 2021-11-01)
    Culinary spices and herbs have been used to impart a characteristic flavour and aroma in food due to their appealing fragrance. Recently, bioactive compounds from herbs, especially phenolics, have gained much attention due to their potential health outcomes. The aim of this study was to characterize and quantify the phenolic compounds from 10 widely used Australian-grown herbs (oregano, rosemary, bay, basil, sage, fenugreek, dill, parsley, mint and thyme). For this purpose, liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS) was used for the complete profiling of polyphenolic compounds and quantification of abundant phenolic compounds was completed with high-performance liquid chromatography—photodiode array detection (HPLC-PDA). Polyphenols from Australian-grown herbs were estimated through total phenolic content (TP), total flavonoids (TF) and total tannins (TT) along with their in-vitro antioxidant activities. Oregano and mint were estimated with the highest value of TP (140.59 ± 9.52 and 103.28 ± 8.08 mg GAE/g, milligram gallic acid equivalent/gram) while rosemary and mint had the highest TF (8.19 ± 0.74 and 7.05 ± 0.43 mg QE (quercetin equivalent)/g). In this study, eighty-four (84) phenolic compounds were screened and confirmed through LC-MS/MS by comparing their masses and fragmentation pattern with published libraries. The results of this study validate the use of these herbs as bioactives and their positive impact on human health.