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Review

Determining Immunoglobulin Content of Bovine Colostrum and Factors Affecting the Outcome: A Review

1
Institute of Agricultural Engineering, University of Bonn, 53115 Bonn, Germany
2
Institute of Animal Science, University of Bonn, 53115 Bonn, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Nicolas Gengler
Animals 2021, 11(12), 3587; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11123587
Received: 12 November 2021 / Revised: 11 December 2021 / Accepted: 13 December 2021 / Published: 18 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality of Colostrum and Transition Milk)
Colostrum management plays an essential role in calf husbandry and strongly influences the calf. The immunoglobulin concentration denominates the quality of the colostrum, which is influenced by numerous factors. Therefore, the measurement of the immunoglobulin concentration is important. This review provides an overview of measurement methods for estimating the immunoglobulin concentration in bovine colostrum. In addition, influencing factors are identified and their impact on the immunoglobulin concentration is discussed. Radial immunodiffusion and the Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay are the most commonly used direct measurement methods. A refractometer and a colostrometer are practical indirect on-farm instruments that can be used to estimate the immunoglobulin concentration. External characteristics such as viscosity or color allow for an initial assessment but are too inaccurate. Animal-related factors such as colostrum yield, parity, and breed influence the immunoglobulin concentration. In addition, environmental factors are also important. The duration between birth and first feeding postpartum is important for the supply of colostrum with a sufficient immunoglobulin concentration. The influence of treatment methods such as freezing and thawing, on the other hand, depends strongly on the procedure and does not necessarily lead to a reduction in the immunoglobulin concentration. The influencing factors are complex and newer ones, such as genetics, have not yet been sufficiently investigated.
The immunoglobulin concentration in bovine colostrum should be measured to ensure feeding with sufficient immunoglobulins (≥50 mg immunoglobulin G mL−1). Adequate feeding prevents diseases, promotes development, and has a positive influence on the adult animal. Indirect and direct measurement methods are available for this purpose. Direct measurement methods cannot be easily used in practice; therefore, farmers use indirect methods such as a colostrometer and a refractometer. Many factors influence the immunoglobulin concentration of colostrum; some of them have already been intensively researched. In particular, lactation and temporal aspects play an essential role. Newer aspects such as dry period, seasonal influences, and genetics are gaining importance, but their impact on immunoglobulin content has not been sufficiently investigated. Developments are still needed, especially in data management. This review analyzes the outcome of different studies on the indirect and direct measurement methods and discusses different factors influencing the immunoglobulin concentration of bovine colostrum. View Full-Text
Keywords: colostrum quality; refractometer; colostrometer; calf husbandry; radial immunodiffusion; colostrum management colostrum quality; refractometer; colostrometer; calf husbandry; radial immunodiffusion; colostrum management
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ahmann, J.; Steinhoff-Wagner, J.; Büscher, W. Determining Immunoglobulin Content of Bovine Colostrum and Factors Affecting the Outcome: A Review. Animals 2021, 11, 3587. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11123587

AMA Style

Ahmann J, Steinhoff-Wagner J, Büscher W. Determining Immunoglobulin Content of Bovine Colostrum and Factors Affecting the Outcome: A Review. Animals. 2021; 11(12):3587. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11123587

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ahmann, Johanna, Julia Steinhoff-Wagner, and Wolfgang Büscher. 2021. "Determining Immunoglobulin Content of Bovine Colostrum and Factors Affecting the Outcome: A Review" Animals 11, no. 12: 3587. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11123587

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