Agriculture and Food Systems - Research Publications

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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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    Effects of L-citrulline supplementation on heat stress physiology, lactation performance and subsequent reproductive performance of sows in summer
    Liu, F ; de Ruyter, EM ; Athorn, RZ ; Brewster, CJ ; Henman, DJ ; Morrison, RS ; Smits, RJ ; Cottrell, JJ ; Dunshea, FR (WILEY, 2019-01-01)
    Lactating sows are susceptible to heat stress (HS). Part of the thermoregulatory response to HS is to increase peripheral blood flow, which is mediated in part by the vasodilator, nitric oxide (NO). Therefore, the aim of this experiment was to determine the effect of supplementation of L-citrulline, a NO precursor, on symptoms of HS, lactation performance and subsequent reproductive performance of sows in summer. A total of 221 summer farrowing mixed parity sows were fed either a control diet or supplemented with 1% L-citrulline upon entry to the farrowing house (6 ± 1.8 days for mean ± standard deviation [SD] before farrowing) until weaning (26 ± 1.5 days). The average daily minimum and maximum temperature in the farrowing house was 21.0 ± 1.88 and 29.2 ± 3.82°C (mean ± SD). Rectal temperature, respiration rate, and plasma and urinary nitrite and nitrate (NOx) of sows were measured on the 19th day post-farrowing. Supplemental L-citrulline in the diet did not affect the number of piglets born alive, feed intake of sows, body weight or backfat thickness of sows at weaning, or litter weight gain. L-citrulline tended to reduce piglet pre-weaning mortality rate from 18.6% to 15.6% (p = 0.058). L-citrulline reduced the respiration rate of sows compared to the control diet at 17:00 hr (Time × Diet, p < 0.001); however, rectal temperature was not affected. L-citrulline tended to increase urinary NOx concentrations (127 vs. 224 µM, p = 0.057) but not plasma NOx concentrations. L-citrulline did not affect farrowing rate or number of piglets born alive in the subsequent parity. In conclusion, L-citrulline supplementation reduced respiration rate of lactating sows and reduced piglet pre-weaning mortality rate in summer. Whether the effects were due to a NO-dependent mechanism requires further validation.
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    Effect of feeding slowly fermentable grains on productive variables and amelioration of heat stress in lactating dairy cows in a sub-tropical summer
    Gonzalez-Rivas, PA ; Sullivan, M ; Cottrell, JJ ; Leury, BJ ; Gaughan, JB ; Dunshea, FR (SPRINGER, 2018-12-01)
    Feeding low-fiber and high-energy diets to dairy cows is one approach to ameliorate heat stress (HS) by reducing heat increment (HI) during digestion. However, rapidly and slowly fermentable cereal grains differ in their HI. The aim of this experiment was to quantify if feeding slowly fermentable grains ameliorated the physiological responses to HS and improved milk production (MP) in dairy cows. Holstein-Friesian lactating dairy cows were housed in shaded pens and were fed either a total mixed ration (TMR) plus wheat (TMRW), a TMR plus wheat treated with 2% of a commercial starch-binding agent (TMRB), or a TMR plus corn (TMRC) (n = 8 cows per diet) during summer in Queensland, Australia. Respiration rate (RR) and panting score (PS) were measured four times a day; rumen temperature (RuT) was recorded every 20 min, and rectal temperature (RT) and milk samples were obtained every 4 days. Cows fed slowly fermentable grains had higher milk production (MP) than cows fed TMRW, and cows fed TMRC had lower RT than those fed TMRW and TMRB (P < 0.001). Rumen temperature was positively correlated with temperature-humidity index and negatively correlated with MP (P < 0.05). In summary, feeding TMRC ameliorated HS as indicated by lower RT and improved MP in dairy cows. Milk production was improved with starch-binding agents; however, this was not associated with efficient thermoregulatory responses. Furthermore, determination of RuT enabled the prediction of changes in physiological variables and productive responses due to HS in lactating dairy cows.
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    Supplementation of selenium, vitamin E, chromium and betaine above recommended levels improves lactating performance of sows over summer
    Liu, F ; Cottrell, JJ ; Collins, CL ; Henman, DJ ; O'Halloran, KSB ; Dunshea, FR (SPRINGER, 2017-10-01)
    Heat stress (HS) exacerbates the body weight loss of lactating sows and reduces litter weight gain. Selenium (Se), vitamin E (VE), chromium (Cr) and betaine have been shown to ameliorate symptoms of HS, and yeast nucleotides and mannan oligosaccharides have been reported to improve lactational performance and immune response in pigs. Therefore, a combination of these nutrients may improve lactational performance of sows in summer. The effects of two nutritionally enhanced diets on lactational performance of sows in summer were investigated in two experiments. In experiment 1, we compared the effects of a nutritionally fortified diet (0.4 ppm Se, 95 IU/kg VE, 0.4 ppm Cr and 0.2% betaine; named as SVCB diet) with the NRC 2012 standard diet (0.15 ppm Se, 44 IU/kg VE) on lactational performance of sows in summer. Results showed that the SVCB diet reduced body weight loss (P = 0.039) and tended to reduce backfat loss (P = 0.075) of sows without affecting feed intake, while litter weight gain was not influenced. In experiment 2, we further enhanced the nutrients in the SVCB diet (0.8 ppm Se, 1% yeast nucleotides, and 0.1% mannan oligosaccharides; named as SNM diet). Results showed that the SNM diet did not improve feed intake of sows, farrowing performance, or litter weight gain compared with the SVCB diet, but increased body weight loss of the third parity sows (P = 0.037). Overall, a combined supplementation of Se, VE, Cr, and betaine above the NRC recommended levels can reduce mobilisation of body reserve of lactating sows in summer.
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    Genes of the RNASE5 pathway contain SNP associated with milk production traits in dairy cattle
    Raven, L-A ; Cocks, BG ; Pryce, JE ; Cottrell, JJ ; Hayes, BJ (BMC, 2013-07-16)
    BACKGROUND: Identification of the processes and mutations responsible for the large genetic variation in milk production among dairy cattle has proved challenging. One approach is to identify a biological process potentially involved in milk production and to determine the genetic influence of all the genes included in the process or pathway. Angiogenin encoded by angiogenin, ribonuclease, RNase A family 5 (RNASE5) is relatively abundant in milk, and has been shown to regulate protein synthesis and act as a growth factor in epithelial cells in vitro. However, little is known about the role of angiogenin in the mammary gland or if the polymorphisms present in the bovine RNASE5 gene are associated with lactation and milk production traits in dairy cattle. Given the high economic value of increased protein in milk, we have tested the hypothesis that RNASE5 or genes in the RNASE5 pathway are associated with milk production traits. First, we constructed a "RNASE5 pathway" based on upstream and downstream interacting genes reported in the literature. We then tested SNP in close proximity to the genes of this pathway for association with milk production traits in a large dairy cattle dataset. RESULTS: The constructed RNASE5 pathway consisted of 11 genes. Association analysis between SNP in 1 Mb regions surrounding these genes and milk production traits revealed that more SNP than expected by chance were associated with milk protein percent (P < 0.05 significance). There was no significant association with other traits such as milk fat content or fertility. CONCLUSIONS: These results support a role for the RNASE5 pathway in milk production, specifically milk protein percent, and indicate that polymorphisms in or near these genes explain a proportion of the variation for this trait. This method provides a novel way of understanding the underlying biology of lactation with implications for milk production and can be applied to any pathway or gene set to test whether they are responsible for the variation of complex traits.
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    Effects of chromium supplementation on physiology, feed intake, and insulin related metabolism in growing pigs subjected to heat stress
    Liu, F ; Cottrell, JJ ; Wijesiriwardana, U ; Kelly, FW ; Chauhan, SS ; Pustovit, RV ; Gonzales-Rivas, PA ; DiGiacomo, K ; Leury, BJ ; Celi, P ; Dunshea, FR (OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, 2017-02-01)
    Improving insulin sensitivity may reduce impacts of heat stress (HS) in pigs by facilitating heat dissipation. Chromium (Cr) has been reported to improve insulin sensitivity in pigs. Therefore, the aim of this experiment was to investigate whether Cr supplementation can mitigate HS in growing pigs. Thirty-six gilts were randomly assigned to 2 diets containing 0 (control) or 400 ppb Cr. After 14 d the supplemented pigs were allocated to either 8 d thermoneutral (20°C constant; TN) or cyclic HS (35°C, 0900 h to 1700 h) conditions and continued their respective diet (n = 9 per group). Growth performance was recorded during the 14-d supplementation period. The physiological responses to HS were monitored by measuring respiration rate, rectal temperature, blood gas chemistry, and feed intake during thermal exposure. Kinetics of plasma glucose, insulin and NEFA were studied by intravenous glucose tolerance test (IVGTT) on d 8 of thermal treatment. Results showed Cr alleviated the HS-increased rectal temperature (P < 0.05) and respiration rate (P < 0.01) at 1300 h and 1600 h during thermal exposure. However, Cr did not mitigate the reduction in average daily feed intake which was reduced by 35% during HS or the HS-induced respiratory alkalosis. Chromium tended to increase average daily gain (0.86 vs. 0.95 kg, P = 0.070) during the 14-d supplementation under TN conditions before thermal exposure, which might be associated with the potential of Cr in improving overall insulin sensitivity, as evidenced by a reduced insulin resistance index calculated by Homeostatic Model Assessment (HOMA-IR; 0.65 vs. 0.51, P = 0.013) and a tendency of reduced fasting plasma insulin concentration (1.97 vs. 1.67 μU/mL, P = 0.094). Heat stress decreased the acute insulin releasing rate (P = 0.012) and consequently slowed glucose clearance rate (P = 0.035) during IVGTT. Besides, HS enlarged the values of area under the curve of NEFA during IVGTT (P < 0.01), indicating a reduced lipid mobilization. In conclusion, HS reduced insulin response to IVGTT. Chromium supplementation exhibited a potential in improving insulin sensitivity and mitigating HS symptoms in growing pigs.
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    Betaine improves milk yield in grazing dairy cows supplemented with concentrates in summer
    Dunshea, FR ; Oluboyede, K ; DIGIACOMO, K ; Leury, BJ ; Cottrell, JJ (MDPI AG, 2019-02-13)
    Betaine is an organic osmolyte sourced from sugar beet that accumulates in plant cells undergoing osmotic stress. Since the accumulation of betaine lowers the energy requirements of animals and, therefore, metabolic heat production, the aim of this experiment was to investigate if betaine supplementation improved milk yield in grazing dairy cows in summer. One hundred and eighteen Friesian X Holstein cows were paired on days in milk and, within each pair, randomly allocated to a containing treatment of either 0 or 2 g/kg natural betaine in their concentrate ration for approximately 3 weeks during February/March 2015 (summer in Australia). The mean maximum February temperature was 30 °C. Cows were allocated approximately 14 kg dry matter pasture and 7.5 kg of concentrate pellets (fed in the milking shed) per cow per day and were milked through an automatic milking system three times per day. Betaine supplementation increased average daily milk yield by over 6% (22.0 vs. 23.4 kg/day, p < 0.001) with the response increasing as the study progressed as indicated by the interaction (p < 0.001) between betaine and day. Milk fat % (p = 0.87), milk protein % (p = 0.90), and milk somatic cell count (p = 0.81) were unchanged by dietary betaine. However, betaine supplementation increased milk protein yield (677 vs. 719 g/day, p < 0.001) and fat yield (874 vs. 922 g/day, p < 0.001) with responses again being more pronounced as the study progressed. In conclusion, dietary betaine supplementation increased milk and component yield during summer in grazing dairy cows.