Durum wheat bran (DWB) is a by-product mostly used in feeding ruminants, contributing to decrease in the utilization of feeds suitable as foods for human consumption, thus improving the sustainability of livestock production. However, the potential benefits of DWB, due to its content
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Durum wheat bran (DWB) is a by-product mostly used in feeding ruminants, contributing to decrease in the utilization of feeds suitable as foods for human consumption, thus improving the sustainability of livestock production. However, the potential benefits of DWB, due to its content in phenolic acids, mainly consisting of ferulic acid with antioxidant properties, have not been well clarified yet. Accordingly, in this experiment, 36 lactating cows divided into three groups received, over a period of 100 days, one of three concentrates including DWB at 0% (DWB0), 10% (DWB10), or 20% (DWB20). The concentrates were formulated to be isoproteic and isoenergetic and, to balance the higher fiber content of the concentrates with DWB, the hay in the diets was slightly reduced. During the trial, the group feed intake and the individual milk production were monitored, and cheese was made with bulk milk from each group. Milk yield and microbiological characteristics of milk and cheese were similar among groups, indicating no DWB effect on cows performance and fermentation process. Milk from DWB20 group resulted slightly higher in casein and curd firmness (a2r
). In cows fed DWB, the higher polyphenol intake was responsible for higher blood contents of these bioactive compounds, that seemed to have contributed in reducing the level of reactive oxygen metabolites (ROMs), which were higher in DWB0 cows. DWB20 cheeses showed a higher polyphenol content, lower number of peroxides, and higher antioxidant capacity than DWB0 cheeses. DWB20 and DWB10 diets resulted less expensive. In addition, the DWB20 group showed the best indexes heFCE (human edible feed conversion efficiency = milk/human edible feed) and NFP (net food production = milk − human edible food), expressed as crude protein or gross energy. In conclusion, the DWB fed to dairy cows at 12% of diet dry matter (DM) can lead to benefits, such as the improvement of oxidative status of cows, milk quality, shelf-life, and functional properties of cheese, and might contribute to reduce the feeding cost and limit the human-animal competition for feeding sources.