Recently, the interest in industrial by-products produced at the local level in Mediterranean areas, resulting from fruit and vegetable processes, has increased because of their considerable amounts of bioactive compounds, including polyphenols. In this review, we analyze the most recent scientific results concerning the use of agro-industrial by-products, naturally rich in polyphenols (BPRP), in the diets of small dairy ruminants. Effects on milk production, milk and rumen liquor fatty acid profile, metabolic parameters, and methane production are reviewed. The feed intake and digestibility coefficients were generally depressed by BPRP, even though they were not always reflected in the milk yield. The main observed positive effects of BPRP were on quality of the milk’s FA profile, antioxidant activity in milk and blood, a reduction of rumen ammonia, and, consequently, a reduction of milk and blood urea. The expected beneficial effects of dietary polyphenols in small ruminants were not always observed because of their complex and variable matrices. However, owing to the large quantities of these products available at low prices, the use of BPRB in small ruminant nutrition offers a convenient solution to the valorization of residues arising from agricultural activities, reducing feed costs for farmers and conferring added value to dairy products at the local level, in a sustainable way.
This study evaluated the effect of dietary inclusion of grape seed and linseed, alone or in combination, on sheep milk fatty acids (FA) profile using 24 Sarda dairy ewes allocated to 4 isoproductive groups. Groups were randomly assigned to 4 dietary treatments consisting of a control diet (CON), a diet including 300 g/d per animal of grape seed (GS), a diet including 220 g/d per animal of extruded linseed (LIN), and a diet including a mix of 300 g/d per animal of grape seed and 220 g/d per animal of extruded linseed (MIX). The study lasted 10 wk, with a 2-wk adaptation period and an 8-wk experimental period. Milk FA composition was analyzed in milk samples collected in the last 4 wk of the trial. The milk concentration of saturated fatty acids (SFA) decreased and that of unsaturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids (UFA, MUFA, and PUFA, respectively) increased in GS, LIN, and MIX groups compared with CON. The MIX group showed the lowest values of SFA and the highest of UFA, MUFA, and PUFA. Milk from ewes fed linseed (LIN and MIX) showed an enrichment of vaccenic acid (VA), oleic acid (OA), α-linolenic acid (LNA), and cis-9,trans-11 conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) compared with milk from the CON group. The GS group showed a greater content of milk oleic acid (OA) and linoleic acid (LA) and tended to show a greater content of VA and cis-9,trans-11 CLA than the CON group. The inclusion of grape seed and linseed, alone and in combination, decreased the milk concentration of de novo synthesized FA C10:0, C12:0, and C14:0, with the MIX group showing the lowest values. In conclusion, grape seed and linseed could be useful to increase the concentration of FA with potential health benefits, especially when these ingredients are included in combination in the diet.
This study aimed to evaluate the effects of the dietary inclusion of grape seed, alone or in combination with linseed, on milk production traits, immune response, and liver and kidney metabolic activity of lactating ewes. Twenty-four Sarda dairy ewes were randomly assigned to 4 dietary treatments consisting of a control diet (CON), a diet containing 300 g/d per head of grape seed (GS), a diet containing 220 g/d per head of extruded linseed (LIN), and a diet containing a mix of 300 g/d per head of grape seed and 220 g/d per head of extruded linseed (MIX). The study lasted 10 wk, with 2 wk of adaptation period and 8 wk of experimental period. Milk yield was measured and samples were collected weekly and analyzed for fat, protein, casein, lactose, pH, milk urea nitrogen, and somatic cell count. Blood samples were collected every 2 wk by jugular vein puncture and analyzed for hematological parameters, for albumin, alkaline phosphatase, bilirubin, creatinine, gamma glutamyltransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, protein, blood urea nitrogen, and for anti-albumin IgG, IL-6, and lymphocyte T-helper (CD4(+)) and lymphocyte T-cytotoxic (CD8(+)) cells. On d 0, 45, and 60 of the trial, lymphocyte response to phytohemagglutinin was determined in vivo on each animal by measuring skin-fold thickness (SFT) at the site of phytohemagglutinin injection. Humoral response to chicken egg albumin was stimulated by a subcutaneous injection with albumin. Dietary treatments did not affect milk yield and composition. Milk urea nitrogen and lactose were affected by diet × period. Diets did not influence hematological, kidney, and liver parameters, except for blood urea nitrogen, which decreased in LIN and increased in MIX compared with CON and GS. Dietary treatments did not alter CD4(+), CD8(+), and CD4(+)-to-CD8(+) ratio. The SFT was reduced in GS and MIX and increased in LIN compared with CON. The IgG and IL-6 were affected by diet × period. The reduction in IgG on d 60 and SFT in ewes fed GS suggests an immunomodulatory effect of this residue. The limited variation in milk and hematological and metabolic parameters suggests that GS and LIN can be included, alone or in combination, in the diet of dairy ewes without adverse effects on milk production and health status.
This bibliographic review presents and discusses the nutritional strategies able to increase the concentration of beneficial fatty acids (FA) in sheep and goat milk, and dairy products, with a particular focus on the polyunsaturated FA (PUFA), and highlights differences between the two species. In fact, by adopting appropriate feeding strategies, it is possible to markedly vary the concentration of fat in milk and improve its FA composition. These strategies are based mostly on the utilization of herbage rich in PUFA, or on the inclusion of vegetable, marine, or essential oils in the diet of lactating animals. Sheep respond more effectively than goats to the utilization of fresh herbage and to nutritional approaches that improve the milk concentration of c9,t11-conjugated linoleic acid (c9,t11-CLA) and α-linolenic acid. Dietary polyphenols can influence milk FA profile, reducing or inhibiting the activity and growth of some strains of rumen microbes involved in the biohydrogenation of PUFA. Although the effectiveness of plant secondary compounds in improving milk FA composition is still controversial, an overall positive effect has been observed on the concentration of PUFA and RA, without marked differences between sheep and goats. On the other hand, the positive effect of dietary polyphenols on the oxidative stability of milk fat appears to be more consistent.
The present work aimed to investigate the milk oxidative stability when the sheep diet includes a source of polyphenols (grape seed, (GS)) and a source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (linseed, (LIN)), alone or in combination (MIX) compared to a control group (CON). For this purpose light-induced oxidation in milk was studied. After 24 h of light exposure the lipid hydroperoxides increased in milk in the LIN and MIX groups. The calculated ratio between the level of lipid hydroperoxides and unsaturated fatty acids (UFAs) in milk was lower in the GS and MIX than in the LIN group. At the same time the level of the ratio between hexanal/linoleic acid in milk was lower in the GS and MIX than in the CON group. Although the dietary inclusion of grape seed did not reduce the level of lipid oxidation products in sheep milk, it effectively reduced the extent of oxidation of UFA.
Fatty acid (FA) composition is one of the most important aspects of milk nutritional quality. However, the inclusion of this trait as a breeding goal for dairy species is hampered by the logistics and high costs of phenotype recording. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) is a valid and cheap alternative to laboratory gas chromatography (GC) for predicting milk FA composition. Moreover, as for other novel phenotypes, the efficiency of selection for these traits can be enhanced by using genomic data. The objective of this research was to compare traditional versus genomic selection approaches for estimating genetic parameters and breeding values of milk fatty acid composition in dairy sheep using either GC-measured or FTIR-predicted FA as phenotypes. Milk FA profiles were available for a total of 923 Sarda breed ewes. The youngest 100 had their own phenotype masked to mimic selection candidates. Pedigree relationship information and genotypes were available for 923 and 769 ewes, respectively. Three statistical approaches were used: the classical-pedigree-based BLUP, the genomic BLUP that considers the genomic relationship matrix G, and the single-step genomic BLUP (ssGBLUP) where pedigree and genomic relationship matrices are blended into a single H matrix. Heritability estimates using pedigree were lower than ssGBLUP, and very similar between GC and FTIR regarding the statistical approach used. For some FA, mostly associated with animal diet (i.e., C18: 2n -6, C18: 3n -3), random effect of combination of flock and test date explained a relevant quota of total variance, reducing the heritability estimates accordingly. Genomic approaches (genomic BLUP and ssGBLUP) outperformed the traditional pedigree method both for GC and FTIR FA. Prediction accuracies in the older cohort were larger than the young cohort. Genomic prediction accuracies (obtained using either G or H relationship matrix) in the young cohort of animals, where their own phenotypes were masked, were similar for GC and FTIR. Multiple-trait analysis slightly affected genomic breeding value accuracies. These results suggest that FTIR-predicted milk FA composition could represent a valid option for inclusion in breeding programs.of Georgia, Athens) for her useful suggestions on implementing genomic models.
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