Special Issue "Quality of Products from Ruminants in Extensive Production Systems"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Antonino Di Grigoli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dipartimento Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Forestali, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Viale delle Scienze 4, 90128 Palermo, Italy
Interests: animal production; animal feeding and nutrition; animal behavior; milk and cheese quality; meat quality; ruminants
Prof. Dr. Adriana Bonanno
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dipartimento Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari e Forestali, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, 90128 Palermo, Italy
Interests: animal nutrition and feeding; by-products in ruminant feeding; ruminant grazing systems; dairy production; ruminant meat quality

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In hills and mountains areas, the ruminants farming system is often the result of interactions among environment, animal breed, and grazing management. As is known, the farming system strongly influences the welfare status of animals, as well as their production. Specifically, extensive production systems where animals, often of autochthonous breeds, are fed with pasture-based diets, show positive impacts on animals behaviour and health, and confer special properties to animal products, with particular regard to fatty acid profile, antioxidant compounds, and sensory traits. Thus, the animal products from extensive systems acquire those attributes that are appreciated by a growing number of consumers who require healthy and tasty foods produced with low environmental impact, and ensuring animals’ welfare. Furthermore, extensive production systems, involving local breeds, contribute to safeguard animal biodiversity, preserve artisanal techniques for milk and meat processing, and enhance the presence of typical products in the market.

Original manuscripts taking into account aspects of extensive farming systems, managed also using organic production methods, that could influence any quality traits of typical products from ruminant species, are invited for this Special Issue. Moreover, contributions on animals welfare and health, as well as on environmental and economic sustainability, are welcome.

Prof. Antonino Di Grigoli
Dr. Adriana Bonanno
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • autochthonous breed
  • organic livestock
  • environmental impact
  • sustainability
  • behaviour
  • animal welfare
  • typical products
  • fatty acid composition
  • polyphenols
  • antioxidant compounds
  • functional foods

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
The Quality of Five Natural, Historical Italian Cheeses Produced in Different Months: Gross Composition, Fat-Soluble Vitamins, Fatty Acids, Total Phenols, Antioxidant Capacity, and Health Index
Animals 2022, 12(2), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12020199 - 14 Jan 2022
Viewed by 208
Abstract
Five natural historic cheeses of Southern Italy were investigated—Caciocavallo Palermitano (CP), Casizolu del Montiferru (CdM), Vastedda della Valle del Belìce (VVB), Pecorino Siciliano (PS), and Caprino Nicastrese (CN)—which are produced with raw milk and with traditional techniques and tools, from autochthonous breeds [...] Read more.
Five natural historic cheeses of Southern Italy were investigated—Caciocavallo Palermitano (CP), Casizolu del Montiferru (CdM), Vastedda della Valle del Belìce (VVB), Pecorino Siciliano (PS), and Caprino Nicastrese (CN)—which are produced with raw milk and with traditional techniques and tools, from autochthonous breeds reared under an extensive system. The effects of the month of production on gross composition, MUFA, PUFA, PUFA-ω6, PUFA-ω3, α-tocopherol, retinol, cholesterol, TPC, TEAC, and GHIC were evaluated. In CP, CLA, TPC, and GHIC were higher in April than in February. CdM showed higher values in terms of fat, saturated fatty acids, PUFA-ω3, α-tocopherol, TEAC, and GHIC in May than in February and September, while low values in terms of protein, moisture, and CLA were found. In VVB, MUFA, PUFA-ω6, and α-tocopherol increased in June compared with April; conversely, protein, FRAP, and TEAC were higher in April. In PS, protein, CLA, PUFA, PUFA-ω3, α-tocopherol, and GHIC increased in May compared with January; on the contrary, moisture, NaCl, and TEAC showed high values in January. CN showed higher values in terms of PUFA, PUFA-ω6, PUFA-ω3, TPC, TEAC, and GHIC in April and June compared with January. It is shown that each cheese is unique and closely linked to the production area. Cheeses produced in the spring months showed a high nutritional quality due to the greatest presence of healthy compounds originating from an extensive feeding system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality of Products from Ruminants in Extensive Production Systems)
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Article
Effect of Suckling Management and Ewe Concentrate Level on Methane-Related Carbon Footprint of Lamb Meat in Sardinian Dairy Sheep Farming
Animals 2021, 11(12), 3605; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11123605 - 20 Dec 2021
Viewed by 395
Abstract
The aim of this study was to estimate the methane-linked carbon footprint (CF) of the suckling lamb meat of Mediterranean dairy sheep. Ninety-six Sarda dairy ewes, divided into four groups of 24 animals each, were assigned to 2 × 2 factorial design. The [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to estimate the methane-linked carbon footprint (CF) of the suckling lamb meat of Mediterranean dairy sheep. Ninety-six Sarda dairy ewes, divided into four groups of 24 animals each, were assigned to 2 × 2 factorial design. The experiment included the suckling lamb feeding system: traditional (TS), in which lambs followed their mothers on pasture during grazing time, vs. separated (SS), in which lambs remained indoors, separated from their mothers during the grazing time. Each group was divided into high (HS) and low (LS) supplemented ewes (600 g/d vs. 200 g/d of concentrate). The estimated CH4 emission of the ewes, calculated per kg of body weight (BW) gain of the lamb during the suckling period, was then converted to CO2eq with multiplying factor of 25. The TS lambs showed lower methane-linked emissions than SS ones (p < 0.05). The sex of lambs affected their methane-linked CF, with males having lower (p < 0.05) values than females. Twins displayed much lower methane-linked CF than singles (4.56 vs. 7.30 kg of CO2eq per kg of BW gained), whereas the level of supplementation did not affect greenhouse gases (GHG) emission. Interaction displayed lower and not-different GHG emissions for both indoor- and outdoor-reared twins. In conclusion, the methane-linked CF of the suckling lamb meat can be reduced by maintaining the traditional lamb rearing system and by improving flock prolificacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality of Products from Ruminants in Extensive Production Systems)
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Article
Chickpea Can Be a Valuable Local Produced Protein Feed for Organically Reared, Native Bulls
Animals 2021, 11(8), 2353; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11082353 - 09 Aug 2021
Viewed by 916
Abstract
We assessed the effects of inclusion of chickpea from 24 to 21%, as feed basis, in diets for organically reared bulls. Sixteen young bulls (270 ± 6.4 days of age; 246 ± 0.13 kg in weight) belonging to a native Italian breed (Maremmana) [...] Read more.
We assessed the effects of inclusion of chickpea from 24 to 21%, as feed basis, in diets for organically reared bulls. Sixteen young bulls (270 ± 6.4 days of age; 246 ± 0.13 kg in weight) belonging to a native Italian breed (Maremmana) were randomly assigned to two dietary treatments. The control diets were based on mixed grass hay, maize meal, and barley meal. In the experimental diets, barley was equally substituted by locally produced chickpea. Animals were weighed every 2 weeks until the prefixed slaughtering weight (630 kg). Plasma metabolites were measured at the 1st, 7th, and 14th month of the experiment. Chemical composition, colour, shear force, and water holding capacity of meat were assessed on Longissimus thoracis et lumborum 7 days after slaughter. The chickpea-fed animals showed a significantly greater average daily gain (1064 vs. 1168 kg/day), a shorter growing phase (364 vs. 335 days), and a better carcass conformation. Plasma metabolites and meat quality were not influenced by the treatments. The better growth performance and carcass quality of the chickpea fed bulls resulted in a higher economic profit for the chickpea-based diets. Results suggest that chickpea may allow sustainable performance improvement of native breeds within their traditional farming systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality of Products from Ruminants in Extensive Production Systems)
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Article
A Cow–Calf Farming System Fully Adapted to Elevation and Harsh Conditions in Andorra (Europe)
Animals 2021, 11(3), 611; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11030611 - 26 Feb 2021
Viewed by 565
Abstract
The use of natural resources is an important topic to optimize the efficiency of cattle production. The purpose of this work is to describe the project of the Bruna d’Andorra; a local cow breed under an extensive cow–calf system in Andorra (Europe), as [...] Read more.
The use of natural resources is an important topic to optimize the efficiency of cattle production. The purpose of this work is to describe the project of the Bruna d’Andorra; a local cow breed under an extensive cow–calf system in Andorra (Europe), as an example of local farming and marketing of its meat products in an area with adverse environmental conditions. This breed is located in Andorra, a microstate that consists predominantly of rugged mountains and harsh weather conditions. The cow–calf Bruna d’Andorra extensive system is thoroughly described and productive and reproductive performance, compiled over 21 years (2000–2020), has been analyzed by years with the Chi-square test or ANOVA to compare proportions or means, respectively, and regression analysis was used to decipher evolution across years. The results show a population with a census large and stable enough to avoid inbreeding. Moreover, a sustained improvement of the productive performance and maternal fitness has been observed along the studied period for Bruna d’Andorra. The work concludes that local breeds can achieve sustainable animal production, especially when farmers, public administration and commercial circuits in the area agree to cooperate on such projects. The study also concludes that the Bruna d’Andorra cow breed can still improve in meat and reproductive performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality of Products from Ruminants in Extensive Production Systems)
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Article
Discrimination of Meat Produced by Bos taurus and Bos indicus Finished under an Intensive or Extensive System
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1737; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101737 - 24 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 746
Abstract
Meat obtained under commercial conditions shows considerable variability, mostly due to genetic background and production system. In this study, meat physicochemical properties and fatty acid profiles were analysed to investigate the feasibility of using them as tools to discriminate between meats produced by [...] Read more.
Meat obtained under commercial conditions shows considerable variability, mostly due to genetic background and production system. In this study, meat physicochemical properties and fatty acid profiles were analysed to investigate the feasibility of using them as tools to discriminate between meats produced by different genetic groups and finishing systems. Samples of the Longissimus thoracis were collected from 160 commercial bulls of the B. taurus (n = 75) and B. indicus (n = 85) groups, finished either on pasture (n = 46) or with grain supplementation (n = 114) and analysed by standard procedures. Data were analysed by discriminant analysis using a stepwise procedure, to select the meat characteristics that better contribute to discriminate the various groups. Our results indicate that fatty acid profiles of meat had better discriminating ability than physicochemical properties, especially to identify meat from animals finished on grain or pasture. The overall discrimination of meat from different genetic groups was achieved with a slightly lower reliability. Nonetheless, our results show that reliability of allocation to genetic group can be improved if prior information on finishing system is considered. These results are of high importance because they can be incorporated as tools to assess the authenticity of beef, particularly in meat certification programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality of Products from Ruminants in Extensive Production Systems)
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Article
Effect of GH p.L127V Polymorphism and Feeding Systems on Milk Production Traits and Fatty Acid Composition in Modicana Cows
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1651; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10091651 - 14 Sep 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 771
Abstract
Growth hormone participates in the regulation of lactation and lipid metabolism. A trial study was conducted to evaluate the effects of genetic polymorphism at GH p.L127V and its interaction with feeding system (extensive, EX; semi-intensive, SI) on milk traits and fatty acids composition [...] Read more.
Growth hormone participates in the regulation of lactation and lipid metabolism. A trial study was conducted to evaluate the effects of genetic polymorphism at GH p.L127V and its interaction with feeding system (extensive, EX; semi-intensive, SI) on milk traits and fatty acids composition in Modicana cows. In the semi-intensive farm (SI) diet consisted of hay, concentrate and 2 h of grazing. In the extensive farm (EX) feeding consisted in 8 h of grazing and hay. The frequencies of LL, LV and VV genotypes were, respectively: 0.64, 0.34, 0.02. GH polymorphism and its interaction with feeding system did not influence milk yield and composition. Cows carrying LL genotype produced milk with lower 6:0 and 8:0 and higher 16:1 c9 and 18:1 c9, total UFA and total MUFA. Feeding significantly affected fatty acids: in EX cows lower SFA and higher PUFA and UFA were found, compared to SI cows. The lower, more favorable atherogenic index of milk from EX system was coherent with the improved healthy characteristics of milk from animals fed almost exclusively on pasture. A significant interaction genotype x feeding system was evident for 18:1, higher in the LL cows only in the EX system, but not in the SI system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality of Products from Ruminants in Extensive Production Systems)
Article
Effect of Breed on Fatty Acid Composition of Meat and Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue of Light Lambs
Animals 2020, 10(3), 535; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10030535 - 23 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1006
Abstract
Lamb meat is the main product of Central Italy transhumant farms, where lambs are traditionally reared with their mothers on pastures and are supplemented with concentrates and/or hay from day 20–30 until slaughter. However, few data are available on the fatty acid (FA) [...] Read more.
Lamb meat is the main product of Central Italy transhumant farms, where lambs are traditionally reared with their mothers on pastures and are supplemented with concentrates and/or hay from day 20–30 until slaughter. However, few data are available on the fatty acid (FA) composition of unweaned lambs reared by extensive systems in Central Italy. The study aimed to evaluate the effect of breed (Bergamasca, Italian Merino, and Sopravissana) on the FA composition of intramuscular (longissimus lumborum, LL) and subcutaneous (SC) fats of light lambs. Statistical analysis showed that breed had effect only on some FAs in LL muscle fat (C18:0, C20:0, C14:1, C16:1, C17:1, C18:3 n-3, trans and conjugated linoleic acid isomers) and in SC adipose tissue (C21:0, C16:1, C18:1, C20:4 n-6, C20:5 n-3, C18:1 trans isomers). Gas chromatography data in combination with a chemometric approach could have some potential to discriminate among breeds. Indices of nutritional quality of the lipids suggested that the meat of Italian Merino and Sopravissana lambs might have better nutritional quality than Bergamasca; further studies, involving a greater number of animals, are needed to confirm these early results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality of Products from Ruminants in Extensive Production Systems)
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Review

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Review
Effect of Dams and Suckling Lamb Feeding Systems on the Fatty Acid Composition of Suckling Lamb Meat
Animals 2021, 11(11), 3142; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113142 - 03 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 385
Abstract
The effects of the dams and suckling lamb feeding systems on the fatty acid (FA) profile of lamb meat are reviewed in this article. The suckling lamb can be considered a functional monogastric, and therefore, its meat FA composition is strongly influenced by [...] Read more.
The effects of the dams and suckling lamb feeding systems on the fatty acid (FA) profile of lamb meat are reviewed in this article. The suckling lamb can be considered a functional monogastric, and therefore, its meat FA composition is strongly influenced by the FA composition of maternal milk. The major source of variation for ewe milk FA composition is represented by pasture amount and type. In the traditional sheep breeding system of the Mediterranean area, the main lambing period occurs in late autumn–early winter, and ewes are able to exploit the seasonal availability of the natural pastures at their best. Therefore, lambs start suckling when maternal milk concentrations of vaccenic, rumenic, and n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated FA in maternal milk are the highest. When maternal diet is mainly based on hay and concentrates, the use of vegetable oils can be considered a good strategy to improve the meat FA profile of suckling lambs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality of Products from Ruminants in Extensive Production Systems)
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