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Animals, Volume 10, Issue 5 (May 2020) – 169 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The slaughter of farmed animals is an important topic of focus for welfare. Though most works look [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Histological Comparison of Testicular Needle Biopsy and En Bloc Samples in Abattoir Calves
Animals 2020, 10(5), 918; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050918 - 25 May 2020
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to test whether a single testicular needle biopsy could provide histological results comparable to en bloc resection histology and whether one biopsy was sufficient to reflect the histology of an entire pair of testicles. Two methods of [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to test whether a single testicular needle biopsy could provide histological results comparable to en bloc resection histology and whether one biopsy was sufficient to reflect the histology of an entire pair of testicles. Two methods of sample collection were tested on 32 bull calves aged five to eight months to compare histological parameters of needle biopsy with those of en bloc resection samples. One testicular needle biopsy of the right and three en bloc samples of both testicles were collected and compared for the number of tubular cross sections, tubules with elongated spermatids (ES), outer/inner diameter of tubules, thickness of tubular wall, and number of Sertoli cells (SC). Additionally, animal data were considered. No significant differences were found between the left and right testis or among the individual locations of en bloc samples. However, histologically significant differences (Bonferroni-adjusted significance level: p < 0.05/6 = 0.0083) were found between the needle biopsy and en bloc resection regarding the tubular cross sections per visual field (p < 0.05), the outer (p = 0.01) and inner diameter and the thickness of the tubular wall (both p < 0.01). In the SOX9 immunohistochemical staining, no significant differences (p > 0.05) could be observed for SC numbers between needle biopsy and en bloc samples. In conclusion, results of testicular needle biopsy do not have the same validity as the en bloc resection histology. Furthermore, one biopsy is insufficient to reflect the histology of the entire testicular pair. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Physiology)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Aloe arborescens Whole Plant Homogenate on Lipid Metabolism, Inflammatory Conditions and Liver Function of Dairy Cows during the Transition Period
Animals 2020, 10(5), 917; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050917 - 25 May 2020
Viewed by 603
Abstract
The anti-hyperlipidemic and anti-inflammatory effects exerted by Aloe on monogastric mammals suggest it as a potential strategy to address the tremendous metabolic alterations that affect dairy cows during their transition to calving. A group of 20 multiparous Italian Holstein dairy cows were housed [...] Read more.
The anti-hyperlipidemic and anti-inflammatory effects exerted by Aloe on monogastric mammals suggest it as a potential strategy to address the tremendous metabolic alterations that affect dairy cows during their transition to calving. A group of 20 multiparous Italian Holstein dairy cows were housed in freestalls and allocated into two homogeneous groups to receive either 200 g/d of water (CTR) or 200 g/day of Aloe arborescens Mill. whole plant homogenate through a rumen tube (AAM) between −14 and 14 days from calving (DFC). From −14 to 35 DFC, the BCS, and milk yield were measured, and blood samples were collected to assess the hematochemical profile. Data underwent ANOVA testing using a mixed model for repeated measurements, including the treatment and time and their interactions as fixed effects. Compared to CTR cows, AAM cows had a less pronounced BCS loss in early lactation (p < 0.01), indicating less mobilization of body reserves. Compared to CTR cows, AAM cows had a lower plasma concentration of nonesterified fatty acids and beta hydroxybutyrate (p < 0.01 and = 0.01 respectively) that, paired with the lower butterfat content and fat/protein ratio in their milk (p = 0.03 and < 0.01 respectively), indicates that Aloe reduced the mobilization of body fats. AAM cows had a reduced concentration of myeloperoxidase in plasma and a lower SCC in milk compared to CTR cows (p = 0.02 for both), indicating an anti-inflammatory effect of Aloe. Furthermore, AAM cows had a lower plasma concentration of ceruloplasmin (p < 0.05) and higher plasma concentration of cholesterol, retinol, and paraoxonase compared to CTR cows (p < 0.01, < 0.01 and < 0.05 respectively), indicating Aloe was effective in mitigating the acute phase response in early lactation. Finally, AAM cows had lower plasma creatinine concentrations around calving (p < 0.05), a lower concentration of plasma bilirubin, and a higher concentration of plasma tocopherol compared to CTR cows (p = 0.01 for both). These data suggest Aloe has anti-hyperlipidemic and anti-inflammatory effects on transition dairy cows that could have ameliorated liver and kidney function disruption and increased the availability of body antioxidants in early lactation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Zookeepers’ Perception of Zoo Canid Welfare and its Effect on Job Satisfaction, Worldwide
Animals 2020, 10(5), 916; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050916 - 25 May 2020
Viewed by 605
Abstract
Recently, zookeepers’ role in monitoring and assessing zoo animal welfare is gaining importance. One hundred-sixteen zoo canid keepers responded to an online questionnaire aimed at assessing, on a 1 to 5 scoring scale, their perception of the importance and fulfilment of the Brambell’s [...] Read more.
Recently, zookeepers’ role in monitoring and assessing zoo animal welfare is gaining importance. One hundred-sixteen zoo canid keepers responded to an online questionnaire aimed at assessing, on a 1 to 5 scoring scale, their perception of the importance and fulfilment of the Brambell’s Freedoms for zoo canids, the bond with canids under their care, and their level of job satisfaction. Results showed that zookeepers perceive the Brambell’s Freedoms as highly important (median = 5, min–max = 3–5), but not equally guaranteed (median = 3, min–max = 1–5, p < 0.01). Although there was no difference in their perception of the importance of each freedom, those related to psychological issues (median = 3, min–max = 1–5) were perceived as significantly less guaranteed than those addressing physical needs (median = 4.5, min–max = 1–5, Mann–Whitney U test, p < 0.01). Female zookeepers tended to perceive all freedoms as more important (Ordinal Logistic Regression model, p = 0.009), as well as more guaranteed (Ordinal Logistic Regression model, p = 0.007), than male zookeepers. Regardless of gender, a more positive perception of the Brambell’s Freedoms for zoo canids was associated with higher job satisfaction (Mann–Whitney U test, p < 0.01, ρ = 0.241). The latter was also positively correlated with zookeepers’ perception of the strength of the bond with the canids under their care (Spearman Rho’s correlation, p = 0.01, ρ = 0.230). Our results highlight the need for zoos to focus on guaranteeing psychological welfare of their canids. Enhancing animal welfare may increase zookeepers’ job satisfaction. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Expression of Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) and Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) Receptors and the Effect of IGF-1 and EGF on Androgen and Estrogen Release in the Myometrium of Pigs—In Vitro Study
Animals 2020, 10(5), 915; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050915 - 25 May 2020
Viewed by 277
Abstract
Porcine myometrium possesses steroidogenic activity but its regulation is not well understood. It was hypothesized that the regulators of myometrial steroidogenesis are insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and epidermal growth factor (EGF), which were found to modulate the steroidogenic activity of the endometrium [...] Read more.
Porcine myometrium possesses steroidogenic activity but its regulation is not well understood. It was hypothesized that the regulators of myometrial steroidogenesis are insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and epidermal growth factor (EGF), which were found to modulate the steroidogenic activity of the endometrium and embryos. Myometrial slices were collected from gravid and nongravid pigs on days 10 or 11, 12 or 13 and 15 or 16 and studied for: (1) the relative abundance of IGF-1R and EGFR mRNA transcripts and proteins, to determine myometrial readiness to response growth factors treatment and (2) the effect of IGF-1 or EGF on the myometrial release of androstenedione (A4), testosterone (T), estrone (E1) and estradiol-17β (E2). The results showed that the relative expression and abundance of IGF-1R and EGFR in the myometrium were altered regarding the female reproductive status. During the estrous cycle, EGF increased myometrial release of A4 on days 12–13 and E2 on days 15–16. In gravid pigs (days 15–16), IGF-1 and EGF increased the E1 release. In conclusion: (1) porcine myometrium possesses the potential to respond to IGF-1 and EGF treatment, (2) EGF significantly increases myometrial A4 and E2 release in cyclic pigs, while IGF-1 and EGF increase the E1 release in gravid pigs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Reproduction)
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of Proteolytic Activity of Artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) Flower Extracts on Bovine Casein to Obtain Bioactive Peptides
Animals 2020, 10(5), 914; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050914 - 25 May 2020
Viewed by 280
Abstract
The aim of this work is to establish the most suitable proteolysis conditions to obtain bovine casein hydrolysates containing peptides with antioxidant and antihypertensive capacity. To this end, the proteolytic activity of Cynara scolymus L. flower extracts was characterized on whole bovine casein, [...] Read more.
The aim of this work is to establish the most suitable proteolysis conditions to obtain bovine casein hydrolysates containing peptides with antioxidant and antihypertensive capacity. To this end, the proteolytic activity of Cynara scolymus L. flower extracts was characterized on whole bovine casein, evaluating the effect of several factors (pH, temperature, substrate concentration, enzyme concentration, and hydrolysis time). The optimal conditions to carry out the hydrolysis with the C. scolymus L. extract were as follows: pH 6.2, 50 °C, and 0.023 mg·mL−1 of extract-protein concentration. A Michaelis constant (Km) value of 5.66 mg·mL−1 and a maximum rate of reaction (Vmax) of 8.47 mUAbs∙min−1 were observed. The optimal hydrolysis time was 17 h. The casein hydrolysates obtained with these conditions contained peptides with antioxidant activity (1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging capacity: 30.89%; Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) against 2,2’-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) free radical (ABTS●+): 4.43 mM Trolox equivalent·mg−1 peptide) and antihypertensive activity, showing 55.05% angiotensin-converting enzyme-I inhibition in vitro. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bovine and Non-bovine Milk Quality)
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Open AccessReview
Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis: Identification of Factors Influencing Milking Frequency of Cows in Automatic Milking Systems Combined with Grazing
Animals 2020, 10(5), 913; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050913 - 25 May 2020
Viewed by 345
Abstract
More dairy farms (up to more than one in four in some countries) are equipped with automatic milking systems (AMS) worldwide. Because of the positive impacts of grazing, e.g., on animal welfare or on production costs, numerous researchers have published papers on the [...] Read more.
More dairy farms (up to more than one in four in some countries) are equipped with automatic milking systems (AMS) worldwide. Because of the positive impacts of grazing, e.g., on animal welfare or on production costs, numerous researchers have published papers on the combination of AMS with grazing. However, pasture-based AMS usually causes a reduction in milking frequency (MF) compared to indoors systems. The objectives of this meta-analysis were to review publications on the impacts of pasture-based AMS on MF and mitigation strategies. First, data from 43 selected studies were gathered in a dataset including 14 parameters, and on which a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was performed, leading to the description of four clusters summarizing different management practices. Multiple pairwise comparisons were performed to determine the relationship between the highlighted parameters of MF on milk yield (MY). From these different analyses, the relationship between MF and MY was confirmed, the systems, i.e., Clusters 1 and 2, that experienced the lowest MF also demonstrated the lowest MY/cow per day. In these clusters, grazed grass was an essential component of the cow’s diet and low feeding costs compensated MY reduction. The management options described in Clusters 3 and 4 allowed maintenance of MF and MY by complementing the cows’ diets with concentrates or partial mixed ration supplied at the AMS feeding bin or provided at barn. The chosen management options were closely linked to the geographical origin of the papers indicating that other factors (e.g., climatic conditions or available grasslands) could be decisional key points for AMS management strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Animal Production 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of CLA-Rich Isomerized Poppy Seed Oil on the Fat Level and Fatty Acid Profile of Cow and Sheep Milk
Animals 2020, 10(5), 912; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050912 - 25 May 2020
Viewed by 319
Abstract
The aim of the study was to examine the effect of dietary supplementation of isomerized poppy seed oil (IPO) enriched with conjugated dienes of linoleic acid (CLA) on cow and sheep milk parameters (fat content, fatty acid profile, Δ9-desaturase index, and [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to examine the effect of dietary supplementation of isomerized poppy seed oil (IPO) enriched with conjugated dienes of linoleic acid (CLA) on cow and sheep milk parameters (fat content, fatty acid profile, Δ9-desaturase index, and atherogenic index). The process of poppy seed oil alkaline isomerization caused the formation of CLA isomers with cis-9,trans-11, trans-10,cis-12, and cis-11,trans-13 configurations in the amounts of 31.2%, 27.6%, and 4.1% of total fatty acids (FAs), respectively. Animal experiments were conducted on 16 Polish Holstein Friesian cows (control (CTRL) and experimental (EXP), n = 8/group) and 20 East Friesian Sheep (CTRL and EXP, n = 10/group). For four weeks, animals from EXP groups received the addition of IPO in the amount of 1% of dry matter. Milk was collected three times: on days 7, 14, and 30. Diet supplementation with IPO decrease milk fat content (p < 0.01). Milk fat from EXP groups had higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, including FAs with beneficial biological properties, that is, CLA and TVA (p < 0.01), and lower levels of saturated fatty acids, particularly short- (p < 0.01) and medium-chain FAs (p < 0.05). The addition of IPO led to a decrease in the atherogenic index. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Digestive Potential of Soybean Agro-Industry Byproducts
Animals 2020, 10(5), 911; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050911 - 25 May 2020
Viewed by 343
Abstract
This study aimed to determine the protein and carbohydrate fractions as well as the in situ rumen degradability of Brachiaria decumbens silage (BDS) supplemented with soybean hulls. Five soybean hull inclusion levels were used: 0, 10, 20, 30, and 40% of the fresh [...] Read more.
This study aimed to determine the protein and carbohydrate fractions as well as the in situ rumen degradability of Brachiaria decumbens silage (BDS) supplemented with soybean hulls. Five soybean hull inclusion levels were used: 0, 10, 20, 30, and 40% of the fresh matter of B. decumbens grass, distributed into a completely randomized design with five replications. The inclusion of soybean hulls caused a linear decrease (p < 0.001) in carbohydrate fractions A + B1 and a linear increase (p < 0.001) in carbohydrate fraction C. The percentage of non-protein nitrogen fraction increased linearly (p < 0.001), but the nitrogen fractions B1 + B2 and B3 presented a negative quadratic effect (p < 0.01) with soybean hull level and fraction C presented a linear decrease (p < 0.001). The dry matter (DM) degradability of soluble fraction (A) and the undigestible DM decreased linearly (p < 0.01) with the soybean hull level. The potentially degradable water-insoluble portion (DM fraction B) and degradability rate (c) of the DM fraction B increased linearly (p < 0.001) with soybean hull level. The crude protein (CP) fraction A presented a linear increase (p < 0.001) with soybean hull inclusion; however, soybean hull levels caused a linear decrease (p < 0.001) in the CP level of fraction B. The degradable insoluble fraction of NDF (D) of the silage increased linearly (p < 0.001) and the indigestible NDF fraction of the silage was linearly decreased with the soybean hull level (p < 0.001). The inclusion of intermediate levels (20–30%) of soybean hulls provided better protein and carbohydrate fractions and better quality of BDS. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Influence of Different Feed Physical Forms on Mandibular Gland in Growing Pigs
Animals 2020, 10(5), 910; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050910 - 24 May 2020
Viewed by 387
Abstract
A study was performed on the mandibular gland obtained from growing pigs enrolled in a wide research project aiming to test the effects of different feed physical forms on animal health, production and welfare. We used 48 pigs fed for four weeks with [...] Read more.
A study was performed on the mandibular gland obtained from growing pigs enrolled in a wide research project aiming to test the effects of different feed physical forms on animal health, production and welfare. We used 48 pigs fed for four weeks with different dietary treatments based on different grinding intensities and compactions of the same diet, namely coarsely ground meal (CM), finely ground pelleted (FP) and coarsely ground pelleted (CP) diets. Samples were analyzed by conventional histochemistry to identify the glycohistochemical profile and by immunohistochemistry to localize aquaporin 5, apelin and apelin receptor. Statistical elaborations were performed using the Stats R-package, version 3.5.3. Pig mandibular gland adenomere increased both the quantity and acidity of produced glycoconjugates from CM to FP and CP diets. This probably calls forth higher watery saliva, thus promoting a better feed softening facilitating the amalgamation of the bolus. Mandibular gland increased aquaporin 5 positivity in the CP diet, supporting the hypothesis of an augmented demand for water. Based on apelin/receptor localization, it was hypothesized that in pig mandibular gland the apelinergic system likely performs an endocrine control on the demilunes activity and a paracrine control on ducts, facilitating the production of a more fluid saliva. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunohistochemical and Physiological Research on Farm Animals)
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Open AccessArticle
Vaccination Is a Suitable Tool in the Control of Aujeszky’s Disease Outbreaks in Pigs Using a Population Dynamics P Systems Model
Animals 2020, 10(5), 909; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050909 - 24 May 2020
Viewed by 461
Abstract
Aujeszky’s disease is one of the main pig viral diseases and results in considerable economic losses in the pork production industry. The disease can be controlled using preventive measures such as improved stock management and vaccination throughout the pig-rearing period. We developed a [...] Read more.
Aujeszky’s disease is one of the main pig viral diseases and results in considerable economic losses in the pork production industry. The disease can be controlled using preventive measures such as improved stock management and vaccination throughout the pig-rearing period. We developed a stochastic model based on Population Dynamics P systems (PDP) models for a standard pig production system to differentiate between the effects of pig farm management regimes and vaccination strategies on the control of Aujeszky’s disease under several different epidemiological scenarios. Our results suggest that after confirming the diagnosis, early vaccination of most of the population (>75%) is critical to decrease the spread of the virus and minimize its impact on pig productivity. The direct economic cost of an outbreak of Aujeszky’s disease can be extremely high on a previously uninfected farm (from 352–792 Euros/sow/year) and highlights the positive benefits of investing in vaccination measures to control infections. We demonstrate the usefulness of computational models as tools in the evaluation of preventive medicine programs aimed at limiting the impact of disease on animal production. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Pregnancy and Fetal Development: Cephalic Presentation and Other Descriptive Ultrasonographic Findings from Clinically Healthy Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) under Human Care
Animals 2020, 10(5), 908; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050908 - 24 May 2020
Viewed by 449
Abstract
Ultrasonography is widely used in veterinary medicine for the diagnosis of pregnancy, and can also be used to monitor abnormal pregnancies, embryonic resorption, or fetal abortion. Ultrasonography plays an important role in modern-day cetacean preventative medicine because it is a non-invasive technique, it [...] Read more.
Ultrasonography is widely used in veterinary medicine for the diagnosis of pregnancy, and can also be used to monitor abnormal pregnancies, embryonic resorption, or fetal abortion. Ultrasonography plays an important role in modern-day cetacean preventative medicine because it is a non-invasive technique, it is safe for both patient and operator, and it can be performed routinely using trained responses that enable medical procedures. Reproductive success is an important aspect of dolphin population health, as it is an indicator of the future trajectory of the population. The aim of this study is to provide additional relevant data on feto-maternal ultrasonographic monitoring in bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) species, for both the clinicians and for in situ population studies. From 2009 to 2019, serial ultrasonographic exams of 11 healthy bottlenose dolphin females kept under human care were evaluated over the course of 16 pregnancies. A total of 192 ultrasound exams were included in the study. For the first time, the sonographic findings of the bottlenose dolphin organogenesis and their correlation with the stage of pregnancy are described. Furthermore, this is the first report that forecasts the cephalic presentation of the calf at birth, according to its position within the uterus. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Nutrient Content of Different Wheat and Maize Varieties and Their Impact on Metabolizable Energy Content and Nitrogen Utilization by Broilers
Animals 2020, 10(5), 907; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050907 - 23 May 2020
Viewed by 366
Abstract
The study aimed to determine the effect of nutrients of wheat (nine cultivars) and maize (nine cultivars) grain on nitrogen balance and apparent metabolizable energy (AMEN) content for broiler chickens. In vivo digestibility and balance trials were carried out with 90 [...] Read more.
The study aimed to determine the effect of nutrients of wheat (nine cultivars) and maize (nine cultivars) grain on nitrogen balance and apparent metabolizable energy (AMEN) content for broiler chickens. In vivo digestibility and balance trials were carried out with 90 Ross 308 chickens (2 × 9 groups with 5 birds per group) aged from 42 to 49 days, separately for each cultivar. Considerable variation within each cereal species in fiber and non-fiber carbohydrate fractions and nutrient digestibility of grain were demonstrated. Additionally, regression equations were proposed which allow the estimation of AMEN content of wheat and maize grain varieties based on simple analytical procedures, including cell wall components, starch, and sugars. For practical purposes, these equations seem to be the best solution while reducing time, labor, and cost of analytical procedures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
Open AccessArticle
Dominant Yeast Community in Raw Sheep’s Milk and Potential Transfers of Yeast Species in Relation to Farming Practices
Animals 2020, 10(5), 906; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050906 - 22 May 2020
Viewed by 359
Abstract
Yeasts are always present in any type of cheese, as well as in the factories where it is produced. However, the role of the yeast community in the cheese making process, as well as the routes of contamination used by yeast species to [...] Read more.
Yeasts are always present in any type of cheese, as well as in the factories where it is produced. However, the role of the yeast community in the cheese making process, as well as the routes of contamination used by yeast species to contaminate milk from the dairy farm environment, are not well known. The objectives of this study were to broaden the knowledge of the dominant yeast community in Manchega sheep’s milk and to assess the contamination routes of the yeast species depending on the farm practices. Milk, teat surface (collected from ten ewes per farm), feed, and air (collected in milking parlours and livestock housing) samples were collected from 12 typical farms in Castilla-La Mancha, Spain with differences in farming practices, and the yeast species were identified using DNA sequencing methods. To evaluate whether certain farming practices have an effect on the distribution of species of yeast in the milk samples, a mixed model was used. The results showed that most of the dominant yeast species (mainly belonging to the genus Candida) found in milk were also found in the other samples, indicating a microbial transfer from the farm environment to the milk. Furthermore, the statistical model showed that factors influencing yeast counts in milk were the presence of yeasts in the milking parlour, the use of silage, and the frequency of acid treatment for cleaning the milking machines. In conclusion, milk contamination from the yeast species present in the dairy farm environment is related to certain farming practices such as the use of silage and the daily use of acid in the cleaning of the milking machines, which favours the presence of desirable microbiota in milk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into the Milk)
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Open AccessArticle
Portuguese Local Pig Breeds: Genotype Effects on Meat and Fat Quality Traits
Animals 2020, 10(5), 905; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050905 - 22 May 2020
Viewed by 354
Abstract
This work investigated the contribution of cross-breeding between two local Portuguese pig breeds to the conservation of animal biodiversity and income of local pig producers. Quality traits of semimembranosus (SM), gluteus medius (GM) and dorsal subcutaneous fat (DSF) were studied in Alentejano (AL), [...] Read more.
This work investigated the contribution of cross-breeding between two local Portuguese pig breeds to the conservation of animal biodiversity and income of local pig producers. Quality traits of semimembranosus (SM), gluteus medius (GM) and dorsal subcutaneous fat (DSF) were studied in Alentejano (AL), Bísaro (BI), AL × BI, and BI × AL (Ribatejano—RI) castrated male pigs. Pigs were reared outdoors, fed ad libitum, and slaughtered at ~65 (trial 1) and 150 kg BW (trial 2). In trial 1, AL pigs showed higher SM intramuscular fat, lower total collagen, and higher soluble collagen than BI pigs, while AL × BI and BI × AL pigs showed intermediate (NS) values. AL, AL × BI, and BI × AL pigs showed higher SM myoglobin content, and AL a more intense red colour than BI pigs. Finally, AL, AL × BI, and BI × AL showed higher total lipids in DSF than BI pigs. In trial 2, SM and DSF results were similar to those obtained in trial 1. In GM, AL and BI × AL showed higher intramuscular fat than BI and AL × BI pigs, while AL, AL × BI and BI × AL showed lower total collagen content than BI pigs. In conclusion, these results suggest that RI crosses are a productive alternative, with overall muscle and DSF traits statistically not different between AL × BI and BI × AL, and similar to those observed in AL pigs. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Maximising Lucerne (Medicago sativa) Pasture Intake of Dairy Cows: 2—The Effect of Post-Grazing Pasture Height and Mixed Ration Level
Animals 2020, 10(5), 904; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050904 - 22 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 354
Abstract
The effects of lucerne (Medicago sativa) post-grazing residual pasture height on pasture utilisation (vertical and horizontal), pasture intake and animal production were investigated in a sub-tropical partial mixed ration dairy system. The study took place at the Gatton Research Dairy, Southeast [...] Read more.
The effects of lucerne (Medicago sativa) post-grazing residual pasture height on pasture utilisation (vertical and horizontal), pasture intake and animal production were investigated in a sub-tropical partial mixed ration dairy system. The study took place at the Gatton Research Dairy, Southeast Queensland (−27.552, 152.333), with a 26-day adaptation period followed by two 8-day measurement periods during August and September 2018. A quantity of 30 multiparous Holstein-Friesian dairy cows were offered two levels of mixed ration, 7 and 14 kg dry matter (DM)/cow/day for low and high levels respectively, and five levels of pasture allocation, to achieve decreasing residual pasture heights. Pasture allocations measured from 5 cm above ground level for the low mixed ration groups averaged 12.7, 15.9, 19.8, 35.3 and 49.2 kg DM/cow/day, and for the high mixed ration groups averaged 5.0, 8.3, 10.3, 18.6, and 25.2 kg DM/cow/day, respectively. As pasture allocation decreased, cows were forced to graze further down into the pasture sward, and therefore residual pasture height declined. Total intake (kg DM/cow/day) declined as residual pasture height (expressed as % of the initial height) declined, irrespective of mixed ration level, decreasing by 0.5 kg DM/cow/day for every 10% decrease in residual pasture height. Low total intakes were associated with high non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) levels in plasma, indicating mobilisation of fat tissue to maintain milk production. In the high allocation treatments, an area of pasture remained ungrazed and cows were only grazing the top leafy stratum where pasture intake rate and intake were highest. Therefore, to maximise intake in sub-tropical partial mixed ration (PMR) systems, lucerne pasture should be allocated so that cows are always grazing the top leafy stratum. This can be achieved by ensuring the pasture around faecal patches remains ungrazed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Stressed by Maternity: Changes of Cortisol Level in Lactating Domestic Cats
Animals 2020, 10(5), 903; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050903 - 22 May 2020
Viewed by 358
Abstract
Lactation is the most energetically expensive component of maternal care in mammals. Increased reproductive investment can lead to physiological stress for the mothers, based on the exhaustion of energy resources and increase in glucocorticoids level. This study aimed to estimate the changes in [...] Read more.
Lactation is the most energetically expensive component of maternal care in mammals. Increased reproductive investment can lead to physiological stress for the mothers, based on the exhaustion of energy resources and increase in glucocorticoids level. This study aimed to estimate the changes in cortisol concentrations during lactation in domestic cats and compared the differences among litter sizes. Eleven females gave birth to 27 litters, which were divided in two groups—small (1–3 kittens) and large (4–7 kittens) litters. Blood samples were collected from each female before mating, after parturition, at 4 and 8 weeks of lactation. We showed that the cortisol level in females changed significantly during lactation—the highest concentrations were observed at the peak of lactation at 4 weeks. Cortisol levels varied significantly among females but did not depend on their maternal experience. We also revealed that there were no differences in cortisol levels between females with small and large litters, but at 4 weeks of lactation, the hormone concentrations were higher in females with small litters. It is likely that these females initially invested less in reproduction, giving birth to fewer offspring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Reproduction)
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Open AccessArticle
Resilience Effects of SGK1 and TAP1 DNA Markers during PRRSV Outbreaks in Reproductive Sows
Animals 2020, 10(5), 902; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050902 - 22 May 2020
Viewed by 408
Abstract
The porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is a major infectious stressor that causes serious health problems and productivity drops. Based on previous genome-wide analyses, we selected SGK1 and TAP1 as candidate genes for resilience, and genotyped three mutations, including a 3′UTR [...] Read more.
The porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is a major infectious stressor that causes serious health problems and productivity drops. Based on previous genome-wide analyses, we selected SGK1 and TAP1 as candidate genes for resilience, and genotyped three mutations, including a 3′UTR variant SGK1_rs338508371 and two synonymous variants TAP1_rs1109026889 and TAP1_rs80928141 in 305 Landrace × Large White sows. All polymorphisms affected the reproductive performance in the outbreak, but not during the endemic phase, thereby indicating a potential use of these markers for resilience. Moreover, some genotypes were associated with a stable performance across PRRSV phases. Thus, in the outbreak, the SGK1_rs338508371 AA sows had less piglets born alive (p < 0.0001) and more stillborns (p < 0.05) while other sows were able to keep their productivity. During the outbreak, TAP1_rs80928141 GG sows had less piglets born alive (p < 0.05) and both TAP1 polymorphisms influenced the number of mummies in an additive manner (p < 0.05). Remarkably, TAP1_rs80928141 AA sows had around one mummy more than GG sows (p < 0.01). Resilience to PRRSV could be improved by including the SGK1 and TAP1 markers in crossbreeding and/or selection schemes, as they contribute to maintaining a stable number of piglets born alive and lost, particularly mummies, despite the outbreak. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Genetics and Genomics)
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Open AccessCommentary
The Matter of Non-Avian Reptile Sentience, and Why It “Matters” to Them: A Conceptual, Ethical and Scientific Review
Animals 2020, 10(5), 901; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050901 - 22 May 2020
Viewed by 1039
Abstract
The concept of sentience, how it is characterised and which non-human animals possess it have long been of contention in academic and intellectual debates. Many have argued that there is no way to empirically know that animals have conscious experiences. Yet others argue [...] Read more.
The concept of sentience, how it is characterised and which non-human animals possess it have long been of contention in academic and intellectual debates. Many have argued that there is no way to empirically know that animals have conscious experiences. Yet others argue that consciousness, awareness and sentience in non-human animals can be quite obvious, and can indeed be measured empirically. Most modern declarations of animal sentience from official organisations and governments now include all vertebrate animals as sentient beings, including reptiles and fish. Some declarations also include some invertebrate species. This conceptual, ethical and scientific review first focuses on conceptual components and definitions of consciousness, awareness and sentience. It then specifically discusses how cognitive, neurobiological, ethological and comparative psychological research in non-avian reptiles over the last century has evidenced many capacities that historically were denied to this class of animals. Non-avian reptiles do indeed possess all of the necessary capacities to be declared as sentient beings, at least in the small proportion of reptile species that have actually been empirically investigated so far. It is suggested that much innovative future research will continue to uncover evidence of capabilities linked to sentience within a wide range of species, including non-avian reptiles, fish and invertebrates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Ethics)
Open AccessCommentary
The Implications of EU Regulation 2016/429 on Neglected Diseases of Small Ruminants including Contagious Agalactia with Particular Reference to Italy
Animals 2020, 10(5), 900; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050900 - 22 May 2020
Viewed by 649
Abstract
After almost 40 years, the 27 member states (MS) of the European Union (EU) will comply with the European Law 429/2016 in 2021 by completing a process of unification and harmonization of all regulations related to animal health between MS. These new provisions [...] Read more.
After almost 40 years, the 27 member states (MS) of the European Union (EU) will comply with the European Law 429/2016 in 2021 by completing a process of unification and harmonization of all regulations related to animal health between MS. These new provisions are based on modern scientific principles on animal health, on long-term epidemiological data, and, above all, on the most current risk assessment and analysis. The paper describes all changes and updates, which will impact the Italian current National regulation. A total of 58 animal diseases have been included in the Annex II (“Listing”) and Annex IV (“Categorization”) of the new Delegated Act (DA 2018/1629). Five diseases comprising the great viral epizooties were automatically included on the list because of their primary importance. These diseases include foot and mouth disease (FMD), African swine fever (ASF), classical swine fever (CSF), highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), and African horse sickness (AHS). Another 53 diseases have been identified by the ad hoc assessment on listing and categorization of animal diseases developed by the European Food Safety Association. Seventeen communicable diseases of the Order Artiodactlya (sheep, goats, deer, etc.) have been listed including foot and mouth disease, sheep and goat pox, and pestes de petits ruminants. In addition, other endemic diseases affecting more than one species include blue tongue, tuberculosis, brucellosis, and anthrax. There are five categories (A-E) based on the degree of action to be undertaken throughout the EU for each disease. These vary from complete eradication for diseases not normally found in the EU like FMD (category A) for establishing surveillance for diseases like West Nile that present high risk but lack control tools (category E). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Public Policy, Politics and Law)
Open AccessArticle
Effects of Feeding and Maturation System on Qualitative Characteristics of Buffalo Meat (Bubalus bubalis)
Animals 2020, 10(5), 899; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050899 - 21 May 2020
Viewed by 722
Abstract
We aimed to evaluate the effects of post dry ageing (PDA) period on meat colour and rheological characteristics in 16 buffalo bulls fed two different diets: with (FRS) or without (CTL) rye grass. Animals were randomly divided into two feeding groups and slaughtered [...] Read more.
We aimed to evaluate the effects of post dry ageing (PDA) period on meat colour and rheological characteristics in 16 buffalo bulls fed two different diets: with (FRS) or without (CTL) rye grass. Animals were randomly divided into two feeding groups and slaughtered at 540 ± 4.7 and 533 ± 7.0 kg of live body weight, respectively, for the CTL and FRS group. After five days post-mortem ageing (T0), Semitendinosus muscle (ST) and Longissimus muscle (LD) underwent a prolonged maturation process in a controlled meat chamber for 30 days (ST) and until 60 days (LD). After 30 days (T1), significant changes (p < 0.01) in meat colour (ΔE) in both muscles of the FRS group was recorded, while no significant change was observed in CTL group. The FRS diet had a positive effect on textural properties of ST muscle compared to CTL diet, as well as hardness, chewiness and gumminess. All qualitative characteristics improved in the first period of PDA but, whereas LD showed to keep improving, extending the post-ageing period by further 30 days, the ST becomes un-processable at 60 days. In conclusion, a combined used of fresh feeding and PDA period could enhance both tenderness and colour in animal fed FSR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feeds and Feeding Programs in Functional Meat Production)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Neuroprotective Effects of Quercetin against Aflatoxin B1-Intoxicated Mice
Animals 2020, 10(5), 898; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050898 - 21 May 2020
Viewed by 296
Abstract
Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is a mycotoxin commonly present in feed, characterized by several toxic effects. AFB1 seems to have a neurotoxical effect that leads to memory impairment behavior. AFB1 toxicity involves the induction of the oxidative stress pathway, rising lipid peroxidation, and it [...] Read more.
Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is a mycotoxin commonly present in feed, characterized by several toxic effects. AFB1 seems to have a neurotoxical effect that leads to memory impairment behavior. AFB1 toxicity involves the induction of the oxidative stress pathway, rising lipid peroxidation, and it decreases antioxidant enzyme levels. Hence, in our research, we wanted to evaluate the potential protective effects of quercetin 30 mg/kg in AFB1-mediated toxicity in the brain and the ameliorative effect on behavioral alterations. Oral supplementation with quercetin increased glutathione peroxidase (GSH) levels, superoxidedismutase (SOD) activity and catalase (CAT) in the brain, and it reduced lipid peroxidation in AFB1-treated mice. This antioxidant effect of quercetin in the brains of AFB1-intoxicated mice is reflected in better cognitive and spatial memory capacity, as well as a better profile of anxiety and lethargy disorders. In conclusion, our study suggests that quercetin exerts a preventive role against oxidative stress by promoting antioxidative defense systems and limiting lipid peroxidation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human-Animals Interactions, Animal Behaviour and Emotion)
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Open AccessArticle
Use of Propylene-Glycol as a Cosolvent for GnRH in Synchronization of Estrus and Ovulation in Sheep
Animals 2020, 10(5), 897; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050897 - 21 May 2020
Viewed by 361
Abstract
The foreseen shortage of eCG for estrus synchronization in sheep makes necessary the development of alternative protocols. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the reproductive response of sheep in breeding season to the administration of GnRH using propylene-glycol as a [...] Read more.
The foreseen shortage of eCG for estrus synchronization in sheep makes necessary the development of alternative protocols. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the reproductive response of sheep in breeding season to the administration of GnRH using propylene-glycol as a cosolvent and the subcutaneous route for slowing and extending the release of GnRH, as well as the most adequate timing for such administration. In the present study, protocols based on a short-term CIDR treatment and a single subcutaneous dose of GnRH in propylene-glycol at 36 h after CIDR removal induced a similar ovarian response to protocols based on administration of eCG at CIDR removal or intramuscular GnRH in distilled water at 56 h after. In such protocol, 80% of the animals developed estrus in a narrow timing (75% between 36 and 48 h after CIDR removal), and all of them also ovulated in a narrow window (87.5% between 72 and 76 h after CIDR removal, with 62.5% between 72 and 76 h) and showed a similar ovulation rate and plasma progesterone concentrations at the induced estrous cycle. Hence, administration of GnRH in propylene-glycol may constitute an alternative to traditional protocols based on the administration of eCG. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproductive Management of Sheep and Goats)
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Open AccessArticle
Investigation of the Impacts of Antibiotic Exposure on the Diversity of the Gut Microbiota in Chicks
Animals 2020, 10(5), 896; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050896 - 21 May 2020
Viewed by 623
Abstract
The dynamic microbiota in chickens can be affected by exposure to antibiotics, which may alter the composition and substrate availability of functional pathways. Here, 120 Jing Hong chicks at 30 days of age were randomly divided into four treatments totaling seven experimental groups: [...] Read more.
The dynamic microbiota in chickens can be affected by exposure to antibiotics, which may alter the composition and substrate availability of functional pathways. Here, 120 Jing Hong chicks at 30 days of age were randomly divided into four treatments totaling seven experimental groups: control chicks not exposed to antibiotics; and chicks exposed to enrofloxacin, diclazuril, and their mixture at 1:1 for 14 days and then not exposed for a withdrawal period of 15 days. Fecal samples were collected from the 7 groups at 8 time-points (exposure to 4 antibiotics and 4 withdrawal periods) to perform in-depth 16S rRNA sequencing of the gut microbiota. Taxon-independent analysis showed that the groups had significantly distinct microbial compositions (p < 0.01). Based on the microbial composition, as compared with the control group, the abundances of the phyla Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, Thermi, and Verrucomicrobia, as well as the families Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, S24-7, and Corynebacterium, were decreased in the antibiotic-exposed chicks (p < 0.01). Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt) analyses revealed significant differences in microbiota metabolite pathways due to the genera of the antibiotic-responsive microbes (p < 0.01), especially the pathways relating to cell growth and death, immune system diseases, carbohydrate metabolism, and nucleotide metabolism. Oral treatment with enrofloxacin, diclazuril, and their mixture modified the gut microbiota composition and the microbial metabolic profiles in chickens, with persistent effects (during the withdrawal period) that prevented the return to the original community and led to the formation of a new community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gut Health in Poultry)
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Open AccessArticle
Heat-Shock Proteins Gene Expression in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells as an Indicator of Heat Stress in Beef Calves
Animals 2020, 10(5), 895; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050895 - 21 May 2020
Viewed by 407
Abstract
This study was conducted to investigate the effect of HS on HSPs gene expression in bovine PBMCs of beef calves in in vitro and in vivo models. In the in vitro experiment, blood samples were collected from the jugular vein of five beef [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to investigate the effect of HS on HSPs gene expression in bovine PBMCs of beef calves in in vitro and in vivo models. In the in vitro experiment, blood samples were collected from the jugular vein of five beef calves (age: 174.2 ± 5.20 days, BW: 145.2 ± 5.21 kg). In the in vivo experiment, sixteen Korean native male beef calves (age: 169.6 ± 4.60 days, BW: 136.9 ± 6.23 kg) were exposed to ambient temperature for seven days (22 to 24 °C, relative humidity 60%; temperature–humidity index (THI) = 68 to 70) and subsequently to the temperature and humidity corresponding to the target THI level for 21 days (HS). For PBMC isolation, blood samples were collected every three days. In the in vitro model, the cell viability was significantly decreased in HS groups compared with the control group (p = 0.015). The expression of HSP70 (p = 0.022), HSP90 (p = 0.003) and HSPB1 (p = 0.026) genes was increased in the HS group in in vitro model. In the in vivo experiment, the HSP70 gene expression was increased after sudden exposure to HS conditions (severe THI levels; THI = 88 to 90), whereas HSP90 and HSPB1 showed no differences among the THI groups (p > 0.05). However, in the severe THI group, the HSP70 gene expression returned to normal range after six days of continuous HS. In conclusion, the HSP70 gene plays a pivotal role in protecting cells from damage and is sensitive to HS in immune cells compared with other HSP genes in in vitro and in vivo models. In addition, the in vivo models suggest that calves exhibit active physiological mechanisms of adaptation to HS after six days of continuous exposure by regulating the HSP70 gene expression. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Applications of Quantitative Genetics in Livestock Production)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Extrusion Temperatures, Pelleting Parameters, and Vitamin Forms on Vitamin Stability in Feed
Animals 2020, 10(5), 894; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050894 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 564
Abstract
Two experiments were conducted to determine the stability of microencapsulated and non-microencapsulated forms of vitamins in diets during extrusion and pelleting. We investigated the recovery of vitamins in swine diets after extrusion at 100 °C, 140 °C, or 180 °C. Next, two diets [...] Read more.
Two experiments were conducted to determine the stability of microencapsulated and non-microencapsulated forms of vitamins in diets during extrusion and pelleting. We investigated the recovery of vitamins in swine diets after extrusion at 100 °C, 140 °C, or 180 °C. Next, two diets were conditioned at 65 °C (low temperature; LT) or 85 °C (high temperature; HT), and pellets were formed using a 2.5 × 15.0 mm (low length-to-diameter ratio; LR) or 2.5 × 20.0 mm (high length-to-diameter ratio; HR) die. The extrusion temperature had a significant effect on the recovery of vitamins E, B1, B2, B3, and B5 in the diets. The diet extruded at 100 °C had higher B1, B2, B3, and B5 vitamin recoveries than diets extruded at 140 °C and 180 °C. Microencapsulated vitamins A and K3 had greater stability than non-microencapsulated vitamins A and K3 at 100 °C and 140 °C extrusion. In the diet extruded at 180 °C, microencapsulated vitamins A, D3, and K3 had higher recoveries than non-microencapsulated vitamins A, D3, and K3. The recovery of vitamin K3 in diets after LTLR (low temperature + low length-to-diameter ratio) or HTLR (high temperature + low length-to-diameter ratio) pelleting was greater (p < 0.05) than after LTHR (low temperature + high length-to-diameter ratio) and HTHR (high temperature + high length-to-diameter ratio) pelleting. Our results clearly show that low extrusion temperature and low pellet temperature, and a low length-to-diameter ratio (L:D ratio) for pellet mill die are recommended for pig feed. Moreover, microencapsulated vitamins had greater stability compared to non-microencapsulated vitamins. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Cassava Residue Substituting for Crushed Maize on In Vitro Ruminal Fermentation Characteristics of Dairy Cows at Mid-Lactation
Animals 2020, 10(5), 893; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050893 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 404
Abstract
This study was conducted to investigate the effect of using cassava residue to replace crushed maize on in vitro fermentation characteristics of dairy cows at mid-lactation and provide guidance for its utilization. The study included seven treatments with four replicates, which used 0% [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to investigate the effect of using cassava residue to replace crushed maize on in vitro fermentation characteristics of dairy cows at mid-lactation and provide guidance for its utilization. The study included seven treatments with four replicates, which used 0% (control, CON), 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, 25% and 30% cassava residue to replace crushed maize (air-dried matter basis), respectively. A China-patented automated trace gas recording system was used to perform in vitro gas tests; rumen fluids were collected from three dairy cows at mid-lactation. In vitro dry matter digestibility (IVDMD), gas production (GP), pH, ammonia–N (NH3-N) and microbial protein (MCP) content were analyzed after in vitro incubating for 3, 6, 12, 24 and 48 h, respectively; volatile fatty acid (VFA) content was analyzed after in vitro culturing for 48 h. The results showed that with the increase of substitution ratio of cassava residue, the asymptotic gas production (A) increased quadratically (p < 0.05), cumulative gas production at 48 h (GP48) and the maximum rate of substrate digestion (RmaxS) increased linearly and quadratically (p < 0.05), the time at which the maximum gas production rate is reached (TRmaxG) increases linearly (p < 0.05). In addition, asymptotic gas production in 30% was significantly higher than the other treatments (p < 0.05), RmaxS in 25% and 30% were significantly higher than CON, 5% and 10% (p < 0.05). In addition, with the increase of substitution ratio of cassava residue, when in vitro cultured for 6 h and 12 h, NH3–N content decreased linearly and quadratically (p < 0.05). NH3–N content in 30% was significantly lower than the other treatments except 20% and 25% (p < 0.05) after cultivating for 6 h. Moreover, the content of iso-butyrate, iso-valerate, valerate and total VFA (tVFA) decreased linearly and quadratically (p < 0.05), acetate decreased quadratically (p < 0.05) with the increase of substitution ratio of cassava residue. In conclusion, when the cassava residue substitution ratio for crushed maize was 25% or less, there were no negative effects on in vitro ruminal fermentation characteristics of dairy cows at mid-lactation. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Influence of the Casein Composite Genotype on Milk Quality and Coagulation Properties in the Endangered Agerolese Cattle Breed
Animals 2020, 10(5), 892; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050892 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 374
Abstract
The aim of this study was the characterization of CSN1S1, CSN2 and CSN3 genetic variability in Agerolese cattle, and the investigation of the effect of casein composite genotypes (CSN1S1, CSN2 and CSN3) on quality and coagulation traits of the corresponding milk. To these [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was the characterization of CSN1S1, CSN2 and CSN3 genetic variability in Agerolese cattle, and the investigation of the effect of casein composite genotypes (CSN1S1, CSN2 and CSN3) on quality and coagulation traits of the corresponding milk. To these purposes, blood and milk from 84 cows were sampled and analysed. Allele frequencies at CSN2 and CSN3 revealed no Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium in the population with a prevalence of allele A2 for CSN2 and allele B for CSN3. BBA1A2AB and BBA2A2AB composite genotypes were the most common in the population. BBA1A2AB showed a higher total solids and fat content (12.70 ± 0.16 and 3.93 ± 0.10, respectively), while BBA2A2BB showed the best coagulation properties (RCT 12.62 ± 0.81; k20 5.84 ± 0.37; a30 23.72 ± 1.10). Interestingly, the A2 allele of CSN2 was very widespread in the population; thus, it will be intriguing to verify if A2A2 Agerolese cattle milk and the derived cheese may have better nutraceutical characteristics. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Endometritis Changes the Neurochemical Characteristics of the Caudal Mesenteric Ganglion Neurons Supplying the Gilt Uterus
Animals 2020, 10(5), 891; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050891 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 356
Abstract
This study analyzed the influence of uterine inflammation on the neurochemical characteristics of the gilt caudal mesenteric ganglion (CaMG) uterus-supplying neurons. The horns of uteri were injected with retrograde tracer Fast Blue on day 17 of the first studied estrous cycle. Twenty-eight days [...] Read more.
This study analyzed the influence of uterine inflammation on the neurochemical characteristics of the gilt caudal mesenteric ganglion (CaMG) uterus-supplying neurons. The horns of uteri were injected with retrograde tracer Fast Blue on day 17 of the first studied estrous cycle. Twenty-eight days later (the expected day 3 of the third studied estrous cycle), either saline or Escherichia coli suspension were administered into each uterine horn. Only the laparotomy was done in the control gilts. After 8 days, the CaMGs and uteri were harvested. The infected gilts presented a severe acute endometritis. In the CaMGs, the populations of uterine perikarya possessing dopamine-β-hydroxylase (DβH) and/or neuropeptide Y (NPY), somatostatin (SOM), galanin (GAL) and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) were analyzed using the double immunofluorescence method. In the CaMG, bacterial injection decreased the total number of the perikarya (Fast Blue-positive), the small and large perikarya populations in the dorsal and central regions, and the small and large perikarya populations coded DβH+/GAL- and DβH-/NPY+. After bacterial treatment, there was an increase in the numbers of small and large perikarya coded DβH+/NPY+, small perikarya coded DβH+/GAL+ and DβH+/SOM- and large perikarya coded DβH+/VIP+. To summarize, uterine inflammation influences the neurochemical characteristics of the CaMG uterus-supplying neurons, which may be important for pathologically changed organ functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunohistochemical and Physiological Research on Farm Animals)
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Open AccessArticle
Animal-Based Measures for the On-Farm Welfare Assessment of Geese
Animals 2020, 10(5), 890; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050890 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 369
Abstract
Currently, no specific animal-based measures (ABMs) protocols are available for geese in commercial meat production systems. Following a critical review of the literature and consultation of experts, seven ABMs, potentially valid and feasible for the on-farm welfare assessment of geese, were identified and [...] Read more.
Currently, no specific animal-based measures (ABMs) protocols are available for geese in commercial meat production systems. Following a critical review of the literature and consultation of experts, seven ABMs, potentially valid and feasible for the on-farm welfare assessment of geese, were identified and then tested in 12 farms in Poland to assess their inter-observer reliability. Two observers conducted the assessment, which was divided into two phases. First, a handling test assessed the human–animal relationship (HAR), and a 100% inter-observer reliability was achieved by the observers when evaluating the attitudes of stockpeople and the reactions of geese to humans. Next, an animal inspection was conducted, and the observers simultaneously and independently visually evaluated 100 randomly selected geese per farm and assessed whether the selected ABMs could be identified. In terms of inter-observer reliability, high correlation coefficients were found for plumage dirtiness (ρ = 0.745; p < 0.01), twisted wings (ρ = 0.890; p < 0.001), and broken/twisted wings (ρ = 0.858; p < 0.001). The results showed that plumage dirtiness, twisted wings, and broken/twisted wings are valid and reliable measures. Further research should address the reliability of ABMs of geese in other types of production systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development and Assessment of Animal Welfare Indicators)
Open AccessArticle
Combination of Bacillus licheniformis and Salinomycin: Effect on the Growth Performance and GIT Microbial Populations of Broiler Chickens
Animals 2020, 10(5), 889; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10050889 - 20 May 2020
Viewed by 371
Abstract
The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of Bacillus licheniformis and salinomycin supplementation in broiler diets as individual factors or in combination on the growth performance, GIT morphometry, and microbiota populations. Four hundred one-day-old Ross 308 chicks were randomly distributed [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of Bacillus licheniformis and salinomycin supplementation in broiler diets as individual factors or in combination on the growth performance, GIT morphometry, and microbiota populations. Four hundred one-day-old Ross 308 chicks were randomly distributed to four dietary treatments (10 replicates, 10 birds each). The following treatments were applied: NC—no additives; NC + SAL—salinomycin addition (60 mg/kg diet), NC + PRO—B. licheniformis DSM 28710 preparation (1.6 × 109 CFU/kg; 500 mg/kg diet), and NC + SAL + PRO—combination of salinomycin and B. licheniformis. Probiotic administration resulted in improvement (p < 0.05) of the performance parameters, including body weight gain (1–10 d, and 11–22 d) and feed conversion ratio (11–22 d, 1–36 d). An interaction (p < 0.05) between experimental factors was observed in terms of lower pH values in the crop (tendency, p = 0.053) and ceca. Both factors lowered the alpha diversity and Enterobacteriaceae and promoted Bacillaceae communities in the jejunum (p < 0.05). Interactions were also observed in terms of reducing Clostridiaceae in the ceca. In conclusion, the combined use of B. licheniformis and salinomycin in broilers’ diets had beneficial effects. Full article
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