Special Issue "Livestock and Heat"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal System and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Cameron Clark
Website
Guest Editor
Livestock Welfare Group, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Sydney, Camden, NSW 2570, Australia
Interests: animal behavior and welfare; data-driven agriculture; advanced livestock
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleages,

Agriculture is the global heartbeat, yet climate change and environmental instability are threatening its rhythm. As our environment becomes hotter and drier, the future success of global agriculture will depend on its resilience and adaptation to more variable environmental factors. Our livestock currently provide food, clothing, fuel, nutrients for soils, employment, and income. Climate change threatens this provision, as heat stress markedly reduces production, weight gain, fertility, and the welfare of our livestock while, at the same time, increasing the incidence of illness, parasite burden, and, in extreme cases, mortality. Compounding the issue, focused selection on production traits has come at the expense of heat tolerance.

Submissions are welcome relating, but not limited to, advances in the monitoring of livestock heat tolerance, genetic selection for livestock heat tolerance, and the mitigation of livestock heat stress through nutrition or other forms of management.

Assoc. Prof. Cameron Clark
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • livestock
  • heat
  • climate
  • sensor
  • genomics

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Heat Stress Reduces Metabolic Rate While Increasing Respiratory Exchange Ratio in Growing Pigs
Animals 2021, 11(1), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010215 - 17 Jan 2021
Abstract
Heat stress (HS) diminishes animal production, reducing muscle growth and increasing adiposity, especially in swine. Excess heat creates a metabolic phenotype with limited lipid oxidation that relies on aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis as a predominant means of energy production, potentially reducing metabolic rate. [...] Read more.
Heat stress (HS) diminishes animal production, reducing muscle growth and increasing adiposity, especially in swine. Excess heat creates a metabolic phenotype with limited lipid oxidation that relies on aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis as a predominant means of energy production, potentially reducing metabolic rate. To evaluate the effects of HS on substrate utilization and energy expenditure, crossbred barrows (15.2 ± 2.4 kg) were acclimatized for 5 days (22 °C), then treated with 5 days of TN (thermal neutral, 22 °C, n = 8) or HS (35 °C, n = 8). Pigs were fed ad libitum and monitored for respiratory rate (RR) and rectal temperature. Daily energy expenditure (DEE) and respiratory exchange ratio (RER, CO2:O2) were evaluated fasted in an enclosed chamber through indirect calorimetry. Muscle biopsies were obtained from the longissimus dorsi pre/post. HS increased temperature (39.2 ± 0.1 vs. 39.6 ± 0.1 °C, p < 0.01) and RER (0.91 ± 0.02 vs. 1.02 ± 0.02 VCO2:VO2, p < 0.01), but decreased DEE/BW (68.8 ± 1.7 vs. 49.7 ± 4.8 kcal/day/kg, p < 0.01) relative to TN. Weight gain (p = 0.80) and feed intake (p = 0.84) did not differ between HS and TN groups. HS decreased muscle metabolic flexibility (~33%, p = 0.01), but increased leucine oxidation (~35%, p = 0.02) compared to baseline values. These data demonstrate that HS disrupts substrate regulation and energy expenditure in growing pigs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock and Heat)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Temperature and Humidity on the Performance and Physiology of Laying Hens
Animals 2021, 11(1), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11010056 - 30 Dec 2020
Abstract
We investigated the effect of different ambient temperatures and relative humidity (RH) with the same temperature-humidity indices (THI) on laying performance, egg quality, heterophil to lymphocyte ratio (H/L ratio), corticosterone (CORT) concentration in blood, yolk, and albumen, and plasma biochemical parameters of laying [...] Read more.
We investigated the effect of different ambient temperatures and relative humidity (RH) with the same temperature-humidity indices (THI) on laying performance, egg quality, heterophil to lymphocyte ratio (H/L ratio), corticosterone (CORT) concentration in blood, yolk, and albumen, and plasma biochemical parameters of laying hens. Commercial hens (Hy-Line Brown; n = 120), aged 60 weeks, were allocated to two environmental chambers. Laying hens were subjected to either one of two thermal treatments—26 °C and 70% RH (TLHH75) or 30 °C and 30% RH (THHL75) for 28 days—with the same THI of 75. Neither TLHH75 nor THHL75 affected laying performance, including egg production, egg weight, egg mass, feed intake, and feed conversion ratio (p > 0.05). Plasma biochemical parameters such as total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus were not altered by the environmental treatments (p > 0.05). As for stress indicators, both environmental regimes failed to affect blood H/L ratio and CORT levels in plasma, yolk, and albumen (p > 0.05), although albumen CORT levels were elevated (p < 0.05) in TLHH75 group at day 7. Hence, our study suggests that laying hens performed and responded similarly when exposed to either TLHH75 or THHL75 characterized by the same THI. These results can serve as a scientific basis for management decisions and handling laying hens under thermally challenging conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock and Heat)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Heat Stress on Dairy Cow Performance and on Expression of Protein Metabolism Genes in Mammary Cells
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2124; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112124 - 16 Nov 2020
Abstract
The aim of this study was to assess the effect of heat stress on dairy cow performance and on the expression of selected genes involved in milk protein metabolism. Eight Italian Holstein Friesian cows were kept under thermoneutral conditions (temperature–humidity index (THI) < [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to assess the effect of heat stress on dairy cow performance and on the expression of selected genes involved in milk protein metabolism. Eight Italian Holstein Friesian cows were kept under thermoneutral conditions (temperature–humidity index (THI) < 72, CON) for 8 days and under mild heat stress conditions (72 < THI < 78, HS) for an additional 8 days. The rectal temperature, feed intake, and milk yield were recorded during the last 3 days of the CON and HS periods. During the same time period, milk samples were collected to assess the composition and expression of selected genes involved in milk protein metabolism. Gene expression analyses were performed on somatic cells from milk, which are representative of mammary tissue. In terms of dairy cow performance, HS resulted in lower milk and protein yields and feed intake but higher rectal temperature than for CON (p < 0.05). Under HS, there were greater abundances of HSPA1A (p < 0.05) and BCL2 (p < 0.05), compared to CON, but similar levels of CSN2 (p > 0.05), CSN3 (p > 0.05), HSPA8 (p > 0.05), and STAT5B (p > 0.05) mRNA. Mild heat stress reduced the performance of dairy cows without affecting the expression of genes coding for caseins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock and Heat)
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Open AccessArticle
Association Analysis of Polymorphisms in the 5′ Flanking Region of the HSP70 Gene with Blood Biochemical Parameters of Lactating Holstein Cows under Heat and Cold Stress
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2016; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112016 - 02 Nov 2020
Abstract
Thermal stress (heat and cold) has large economic and welfare implications for the worldwide dairy industry. Therefore, it is paramount to understand the genetic background of coping mechanism related to thermal stress for the implementation of effective genetic selection schemes in dairy cattle. [...] Read more.
Thermal stress (heat and cold) has large economic and welfare implications for the worldwide dairy industry. Therefore, it is paramount to understand the genetic background of coping mechanism related to thermal stress for the implementation of effective genetic selection schemes in dairy cattle. We performed an association study between 11 single nucleotide polymorphisms having minor allelic frequency (MAF > 0.05) in the HSP70 gene with blood biochemical parameters. The concentrations of growth hormone (GH), lactate (LA), prolactin (PRL), and superoxide dismutase (SOD) in blood were significantly higher (p < 0.05), while the concentrations of blood urea nitrogen (BUN), c-reactive protein (CRP), potassium (K+), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), lipid peroxide (LPO), and norepinephrine (NE) were significantly lower (p < 0.05) in heat-stressed animals as compared to the control group. A significant (p < 0.05) increase in the concentrations of cortisol (COR), corticosterone (CORT), and potassium (K+) was observed (p < 0.05), while the concentrations of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH), dopamine (DA), GH, LDH, NE, PRL, and SOD were significantly lower in cold-stressed animals as compared to the control group (p < 0.05). Furthermore, SNP A-12G and C181T were significantly associated with LA (p < 0.05), while A72G was linked with LPO (p < 0.05) in heat-stressed animals. Moreover, the SNPs A-12G and SNP C131G were significantly associated (p < 0.05) with DA and SOD under cold stress condition, respectively. These SNPs markers significantly associated with fluctuations in blood biochemical parameters under thermal stress provide a better insight into the genetic mechanisms underlying climatic resilience in Holstein cattle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock and Heat)
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Open AccessArticle
Automated Monitoring of Panting for Feedlot Cattle: Sensor System Accuracy and Individual Variability
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1518; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091518 - 27 Aug 2020
Abstract
Heat stress causes significant economic losses by reducing the productivity and welfare of cattle whilst requiring a significant investment in resource for amelioration. Panting score (PS) is considered a robust indicator of cattle heat stress; however, individualised visual monitoring is impractical. Thermal index-based [...] Read more.
Heat stress causes significant economic losses by reducing the productivity and welfare of cattle whilst requiring a significant investment in resource for amelioration. Panting score (PS) is considered a robust indicator of cattle heat stress; however, individualised visual monitoring is impractical. Thermal index-based monitoring and mitigation decisions are applied at the herd level, but they have limited application for the individual animal. As such, an automated system to monitor the real-time animal response to heat stress is required for strategic mitigation. Our objectives were to validate an accelerometer-based ear tag sensor to monitor cattle panting and to determine individual variability in heat stress responses with reference to thermal indices. Two experiments were conducted: Experiment 1 validated the sensors, and Experiment 2 determined individual variability comparing sensor data against thermal indices. Ear tag sensors were fitted at feedlot entry to continuously monitor the behaviour of 100 steers of mixed breed in Experiment 1 and 200 steers and heifers of mixed breed in Experiment 2. Sensor-derived ‘heavy breathing’ was validated against visually observed PS. Sensor-derived behaviour bouts were analysed as ‘raw’, and single behaviour states were also converted to the preceding bout of ≥2 min, which was referred to as ‘fill’ data for the validation study. Our results demonstrate the sensors’ ability to accurately monitor panting in feedlot cattle. Sensor-recorded ‘heavy breathing’ duration per animal was highly correlated to observed panting duration for both raw (r = 0.89) and fill (r = 0.90) data; however, the concordance correlation co-efficient was lower for raw (0.45) as compared with fill (0.76). Predicted agreement for raw data were 75%, 45%, and 68% and predicted agreement for fill data were 65%, 54%, and 83% for PS0, PS1, and PS2, respectively. Sensitivity for raw data were 39%, 37%, and 45% and for fill data, they were 59%, 54% and 82% for all PS data, PS1 and PS2, respectively. Specificity and positive predictive values for both raw (77% and 79%, respectively) and fill (65% and 77%, respectively) data show the probability of reporting false positives by sensors to be low. Experiment 2 revealed that the duration of panting increased from 0800 to 1700 h alongside changes in thermal indices with significant differences between and within breed and coat colour categories of cattle, suggesting that grouping and allocating heat amelioration measures by breed and coat colour can be effective in commercial feedlots. However, there was high variability (CV > 80%) in the duration of panting between individuals within the same breed and same coat colour, revealing the potential for strategic management at an individual level, and with the same data, genetic selection for heat resilience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock and Heat)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Acute Hyperthermia on the Thermotolerance of Cow and Sheep Skin-Derived Fibroblasts
Animals 2020, 10(4), 545; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10040545 - 25 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study was conducted to compare the effects of acute hyperthermia (45 °C for 4 h) on the viability, proliferation, and migratory activity through wound-healing assays of cow and sheep fibroblasts. The study examined the effects on primary cultures and first passage skin-derived [...] Read more.
This study was conducted to compare the effects of acute hyperthermia (45 °C for 4 h) on the viability, proliferation, and migratory activity through wound-healing assays of cow and sheep fibroblasts. The study examined the effects on primary cultures and first passage skin-derived fibroblasts. Relative quantification of HSP70, HSP90, P53, BAX, BCL2, and BECN1 was investigated after normalization to housekeeping genes GAPDH and beta-actin. The results revealed that cultured cow primary fibroblasts exhibited increased viability and reinitiated cell migration to close the cell monolayer scratch earlier than sheep cells. Similar patterns were observed in the first passage fibroblasts, with severe effects on sheep cells. Both cow and sheep cells exhibited decreased cell viability and failed to regain migratory activity after re-exposure of recovered heat-shocked cells. Effects of hyperthermia on sheep cells were potentiated by cell cryopreservation. The qPCR results showed that cow cells significantly increased HSP70 and HSP90 expression, which decreased the elevation of P53, and ameliorated the effects of the increased BAX/BCL2 ratio. The results provide a paradigm to compare thermotolerance among different animal species and revealed that trypsin could be an additional stress, which potentiates the effects of heat shock in in vitro experiments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock and Heat)
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Open AccessArticle
Thermotolerance of Broiler Chicks Ingesting Dietary Betaine and/or Creatine
Animals 2019, 9(10), 742; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100742 - 29 Sep 2019
Abstract
The present study aimed to assess the effect of dietary betaine (B) and/or creatine (C) on performance and thermoregulatory responses of broiler chicks. Indian River broiler chicks, fitted with compact thermosensors, were reared to market age (five weeks). The chicks were randomly distributed [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to assess the effect of dietary betaine (B) and/or creatine (C) on performance and thermoregulatory responses of broiler chicks. Indian River broiler chicks, fitted with compact thermosensors, were reared to market age (five weeks). The chicks were randomly distributed into four treatment groups, in a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments—basal control diet (Control group: CONT; B−/C−); 1 g betaine/kg feed (Betaine group: BETA; B+/C−), 1.2 g creatine monohydrate/kg feed (Creatine group: CRET; B−/C+), and combination (Betaine and Creatine group: COMB; B+/C+) of both supplements. At 31 days of age, 20 chicks from each group were exposed to acute heat stress (A-HS) for 3 h (34.45 ± 0.20 °C), and hemogramic profiles were screened before and after. Performance parameters (feed intake, body weight gain, and feed conversion ratio) were reported on a weekly basis, and carcass meat quality was evaluated at the end of experiment. Redness of breast was higher due to B and C treatments separately than the CONT group (B by C interaction; p < 0.05). Compared to the CONT, dietary supplements alleviated hyperthermia responses, with B alone being more efficient than C or COMB treatments. The mitigation of hyperthermia is likely mediated by enhancement of water balance indicators. Although not efficient in improving growth performance, dietary B and/or C are efficient in improving thermophysiological performance and survival of finishing broiler chicks under A-HS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Livestock and Heat)
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