Novel Feed Ingredients: Improving Health Status, Milk and Meat Quality in Small Ruminants

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2022) | Viewed by 32832

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Laboratory of Anatomy and Physiology of Farm Animals, Department of Animal Science, Agricultural University of Athens (AUA), 75 Iera Odos, 11855 Athens, Greece
Interests: veterinary epidemiology; animal infectious and parasitic diseases; herd health management; zoonoses; food-borne pathogens; One Health; farm animal husbandry; mastitis; lameness; small ruminant lentiviruses
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Alternative feeding approaches are continuously evaluated in small ruminant production systems in an effort to fortify animal health and welfare, improve milk and meat quality, prolong their shelf life and increase their marketable value. Incorporation of novel feed ingredients into small ruminants’ diets has therefore emerged as an effective strategy for the enhancement of milk and meat intrinsic quality since bioactive compounds are preferably deposited where they are mostly required. Dietary supplementation with these novel additives could manipulate bacteria involved in ruminal biohydrogenation, decrease methane emissions, enhance animals’ health and well-being status, reinforce antioxidant and anti-spoilage properties and positively modify milk and meat quality characteristics.

The aim of this Special Issue is to present original research and reviews on the effects of novel feed ingredients and their bioactive compounds on health and welfare status, as well as milk and meat intrinsic quality of small ruminants.

Dr. Panagiotis Simitzis
Dr. Athanasios I. Gelasakis
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Novel feed ingredients
  • Bioactive compounds
  • Antioxidants
  • Dietary additives
  • Health status
  • Welfare
  • Milk quality
  • Meat quality
  • Microbial spoilage
  • Qxidation

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Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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17 pages, 1473 KiB  
Article
Enrichment of Brain n-3 Docosapentaenoic Acid (DPA) and Retinal n-3 Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) in Lambs Fed Nannochloropsis oceanica Microalga
by Ana C. M. Vítor, Jorge J. Correia, Susana P. Alves and Rui J. B. Bessa
Animals 2023, 13(5), 828; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13050828 - 24 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1950
Abstract
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) have special physiological functions in both brain and retinal tissues that are related to the modulation of inflammatory processes and direct effects on neuronal membrane fluidity, impacting mental and visual health. Among them, the long-chain (LC) n-3 [...] Read more.
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) have special physiological functions in both brain and retinal tissues that are related to the modulation of inflammatory processes and direct effects on neuronal membrane fluidity, impacting mental and visual health. Among them, the long-chain (LC) n-3 PUFAs, as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are of special importance. Scarce data are available about the fatty acid (FA) composition of the ruminant brain in response to dietary intervention. However, we decided to examine the brain and retina FA composition of lambs supplemented with an EPA-rich microalga feed for 21 days, as it is known that despite the extensive biohydrogenation of dietary PUFAs in the rumen, ruminants can selectively accumulate some n-3 LC-PUFAs in their brain and retinal tissues. Twenty-eight male lambs were fed a control diet, or the same diet further supplemented with Nannochloropsis sp. microalga. Their brains and retina were collected for FA characterization. Overall, the brain FA profile remained unchanged, with little alteration in omega-3 docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) enhancement in both the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Retinal tissues were particularly responsive to the dietary intervention, with a 4.5-fold enhancement of EPA in the freeze-dried-fed lambs compared with the control lambs. We conclude that retinal tissues are sensitive to short-term n-3 PUFA supplementation in lambs. Full article
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11 pages, 465 KiB  
Article
Effect of Dietary Inclusion of Azadirachta indica and Moringa oleifera Leaf Extracts on the Carcass Quality and Fatty Acid Composition of Lambs Fed High Forage Total Mixed Rations
by Edward Cottington Webb, Abubeker Hassen, Michael Olanrewaju Olaniyi and Pamela Pophiwa
Animals 2022, 12(16), 2039; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12162039 - 11 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1951
Abstract
There is an increased interest in the use of medicinal plants as alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters and as agents for methane production mitigation. This study investigated the effects of Azadirachta indica and Moringa oleifera feed additives on the carcass and meat quality [...] Read more.
There is an increased interest in the use of medicinal plants as alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters and as agents for methane production mitigation. This study investigated the effects of Azadirachta indica and Moringa oleifera feed additives on the carcass and meat quality of lambs. Forty South African Mutton Merino lambs, weighing between 29 and 43 kg, were randomly assigned to four treatment groups (n = 10 lambs/treatment) and fed a basal total mixed ration (TMR) containing soybean meal (17%), yellow maize (28%), Alfalfa hay (20%), Eragrostis curvula hay (22.2%), molasses (6.0%), wheat offal (5%), urea (0.8%) and vitamin premix (0.5%) on a DM basis. The dietary treatments: TMR diet (control); TMR diet with A. indica leaf extract (A. indica leaf extract at a dosage of 50 mg per kg of feed: neem); TMR diet with M. oleifera leaf extract (M. oleifera leaf extract at a dosage of 50 mg per kg DM of feed: moringa); TMR diet with monensin (at a dosage of 50 mg monensin sodium per kg of feed: positive control). After an adaptation period of 10 days to the experimental conditions, the lambs from all treatment groups were fed ad libitum with the experimental diets. The lambs were slaughtered at a live weight of 60–65 kg after a 23 week trial period. The plant extract dietary additives had no significant effects on the carcass characteristics of the lambs. In comparison to monensin, supplementing with moringa leaf extracts resulted in a higher proportion of C18:1n9c (45.0% ± 0.57 vs. 40.5% ± 0.80; p < 0.05), total MUFAs (47.3% ± 0.66 vs. 42.6% ± 0.87; p < 0.05), and UFA:SFA ratio (1.01 ± 0.03 vs. 0.85 ± 0.03; p < 0.05), which may be beneficial for human health. Our results suggest that natural feed additives, such as A. indica and M. oleifera leaf extracts, can be included in lamb diets without compromising meat fatty acid composition. The negative economic impacts of such technologies on animal production and farm profitability should not be expected. Full article
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8 pages, 265 KiB  
Communication
Carcass Traits of Growing Meat Goats Fed Different Levels of Hempseed Meal
by Reshma Gurung, Khim B. Ale, Frank W. Abrahamsen, Katie Moyer, Jason T. Sawyer and Nar K. Gurung
Animals 2022, 12(15), 1986; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12151986 - 5 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2394
Abstract
Hempseed meal (HSM) is the byproduct of hemp seeds and is rich in crude protein and fiber, making it an ideal candidate as a feedstuff for ruminants. The objective of the present study is to evaluate the effects of feeding different levels of [...] Read more.
Hempseed meal (HSM) is the byproduct of hemp seeds and is rich in crude protein and fiber, making it an ideal candidate as a feedstuff for ruminants. The objective of the present study is to evaluate the effects of feeding different levels of HSM on the carcass traits of crossbred Boer goats. Forty castrated goat kids (approximately six months, 25.63 ± 0.33 kg) were assigned to one of four treatments (n = 10) in a completely randomized design. Goats were fed pelleted diets (50% forage and 50% concentrate) with additional supplementation of HSM: control with 0%, 10%, 20%, and 30% of the total diets. Goats were harvested and processed after a 60-day feeding trial. There were no significant differences (p > 0.05) in the mean values of dressing percentages, carcass weights, body wall thickness, and ribeye area among treatments. Marbling scores and percentages of moisture, fats, proteins, and collagen in the muscles showed no significant differences (p > 0.05) among the treatments. Results suggest that including up to 30% of HSM in the diet of growing meat goats does not affect their carcass traits. Full article
11 pages, 446 KiB  
Article
Introducing Mediterranean Lupins in Lamb Diets: Effects on Carcass Composition, Meat Quality, and Intramuscular Fatty Acid Profile
by Mariana Almeida, Sofia Garcia-Santos, Daniela Carloto, André Arantes, Jose M. Lorenzo, José António Silva, Virgínia Santos, Jorge Azevedo, Cristina Guedes, Luís Ferreira and Severiano Silva
Animals 2022, 12(14), 1758; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12141758 - 8 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1629
Abstract
The objective of this preliminary study was to evaluate the effects of partial replacement of soybean meal by lupins on lambs’ diets, on the carcass traits, meat characteristics, and meat fatty acid profile. Two trials were conducted: In trial 1, the soybean meal [...] Read more.
The objective of this preliminary study was to evaluate the effects of partial replacement of soybean meal by lupins on lambs’ diets, on the carcass traits, meat characteristics, and meat fatty acid profile. Two trials were conducted: In trial 1, the soybean meal (control; C) was partially replaced by Lupinus albus or Lupinus luteus (50 g/kg; LA5 and LL5, respectively); in trial 2, lambs were fed four diets with graded levels of Lupinus luteus (0, 100, 150 and 200 g/kg; C, LL10, LL15, LL20, respectively). At the end of the feeding trials, animals were slaughtered to evaluate carcass characteristics and meat composition, including fatty acids. Carcass composition in tissues was not affected (p > 0.05) by diet in both trials. Additionally, no significant (p < 0.05) differences were observed in meat quality attributes between diets in trials 1 and 2. Overall, the Longissimus muscle’s fatty acid content was not affected by diet (p > 0.05) in both trials. Carcass and meat quality was overall comparable between lambs fed with soybean meal and lupins, indicating the latter as a potential alternative protein source. However, the lack of significant differences could also be attributed to the small sample size. Full article
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12 pages, 272 KiB  
Article
Influence of Red Corn Rich in Anthocyanins on Productive Traits, Blood Metabolic Profile, and Antioxidative Status of Fattening Lambs
by Zvonko Antunović, Josip Novoselec, Željka Klir Šalavardić, Zvonimir Steiner, Marcela Šperanda, Lidija Jakobek Barron, Mario Ronta and Valentina Pavić
Animals 2022, 12(5), 612; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050612 - 28 Feb 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2564
Abstract
In this study, we aimed to evaluate the effects of different proportions of red corn rich in anthocyanins on the diet of fattening lambs considering their productive traits, blood metabolic profile, and antioxidative status. The research was carried out with 30 Merinolandschaf lambs, [...] Read more.
In this study, we aimed to evaluate the effects of different proportions of red corn rich in anthocyanins on the diet of fattening lambs considering their productive traits, blood metabolic profile, and antioxidative status. The research was carried out with 30 Merinolandschaf lambs, 90 days old and weaned. The feed mixture for lambs (n = 10) of the control group contained yellow corn, while in the feed mixture of experimental group I (n = 10), yellow corn was replaced with red corn at 50% (RC50), and in experimental group II (n = 10), yellow corn was 100% replaced with red corn (RC100). An automatic three-part differential haematology analyser was used to determine haematological parameters in whole blood, and biochemical parameters were determined in blood serum using a biochemical analyser. A diet containing red corn did not affect productive traits or the majority of the examined parameters. However, higher blood haemoglobin content, increased aspartate aminotransferase and creatine kinase activity, and decreased glucose and non-esterified fatty acids concentrations were found in the serum of RC100 lambs. These results indicate a positive effect of red corn rich in anthocyanins on the metabolic profile without any changes in the productive traits of lambs. Full article
10 pages, 11075 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Fucoidan Dietary Supplementation on Growth Performance, Serum Antioxidant Capacity, Immune Function Indices and Intestinal Morphology in Weaned Kids
by Weiguang Yang, Jiayi Chen, Guangzhen Guo, Shengnan Wang, Su Peng, Zhenhua Gao, Zhihui Zhao, Ruixia Lan and Fuquan Yin
Animals 2022, 12(5), 574; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12050574 - 24 Feb 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2748
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of fucoidan dietary supplementation on growth performance, organs’ relative weight, serum anti-oxidation markers, immune function indices and intestinal morphology in weaned kids. A total of 60 2-month-old weaned castrated male kids (Chuanzhong black [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of fucoidan dietary supplementation on growth performance, organs’ relative weight, serum anti-oxidation markers, immune function indices and intestinal morphology in weaned kids. A total of 60 2-month-old weaned castrated male kids (Chuanzhong black goat) were used for this 30-day experiment and randomly allocated to four groups. The control group (CON) fed a basal diet, while the other three groups were provided with the same diet further supplemented with fucoidan at 0.1%, 0.3% or 0.5%, namely, F1, F2 and F3 groups, respectively. The results indicated that dietary fucoidan supplementation significantly increased (p < 0.05) the activity of catalase (CAT) when compared to the CON group on day 15. Moreover, the addition of fucoidan at 0.3% and 0.5% significantly increased (p < 0.05) the activities of glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) and total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD). On day 30, dietary fucoidan supplementation significantly reduced (p < 0.05) the feed conversion rate (FCR), contents of tumor necrosis-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), while it significantly increased (p < 0.05) the activity of total superoxide dismutase (T-SOD), the content of immunoglobulin G (IgG) and the villus height (VH) of the duodenum. Moreover, dietary 0.3% and 0.5% fucoidan supplementation significantly increased (p < 0.05) the villus height (VH) of the jejunum and ileum and significantly reduced (p < 0.05) the crypt depth (CD) of ileum. In conclusion, dietary fucoidan had positive effects on growth performance, serum anti-oxidation, immune function and intestinal morphology of weaned kids. Full article
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13 pages, 884 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Replacing Soybean Meal with Rapeseed Meal, Cottonseed Cake, and Fava Beans on the Milk Yield and Quality Traits in Milking Ewes
by Aphrodite I. Kalogianni, Marios Moschovas, Foteini Chrysanthakopoulou, Thomai Lazou, Georgios Theodorou, Ioannis Politis, Ioannis Bossis and Athanasios I. Gelasakis
Animals 2022, 12(3), 274; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12030274 - 22 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4035
Abstract
The replacement of soybean meal (SBM) from intensively reared dairy sheep diets has emerged as a significant challenge for sustainable production. However, the effects of this replacement on milk production have not been sufficiently elucidated. The objective of this study was to prospectively [...] Read more.
The replacement of soybean meal (SBM) from intensively reared dairy sheep diets has emerged as a significant challenge for sustainable production. However, the effects of this replacement on milk production have not been sufficiently elucidated. The objective of this study was to prospectively assess the effects of replacing SBM with a mixture of alternative protein sources on the milk yield (MY) and the milk quality traits (MQT) in intensively reared dairy sheep. A total of 112 multiparous, purebred milking ewes of the Chios and Frizarta breeds, from two intensive dairy sheep farms, were involved in the study, postweaning, and were assigned to either the control (CR) or the experimental ration (ER) group. In the ER, 3/4 of the SBM was replaced by a mixture of rapeseed meal, cottonseed cake, and fava beans, producing a ration of a similar nutritional value. MY, MQT, and body condition scores were recorded for each individual ewe monthly for a period of 4 months during lactation. The experimental ration was associated with beneficial effects on daily and 100-day fat yields and on the electrical conductivity of milk as an improved udder health status indicator, with no adverse effects on any of the rest of the studied milk production traits. Full article
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11 pages, 736 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Herbal Feed Additives in the Diet of Dairy Goats on Intestinal Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB) Count
by Joanna Foksowicz-Flaczyk, Jacek Antoni Wójtowski, Romualda Danków, Przemysław Mikołajczak, Jan Pikul, Agnieszka Gryszczyńska, Zdzisław Łowicki, Karolina Zajączek and Daniel Stanisławski
Animals 2022, 12(3), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12030255 - 21 Jan 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2763
Abstract
Sixty dairy goats of the Polish white improved breed were randomly assigned to five feeding groups of twelve animals each. The animals received a supplement containing seven herbs at 20 or 40 g/animal/day (experimental groups 1 and 2) and a supplement containing nine [...] Read more.
Sixty dairy goats of the Polish white improved breed were randomly assigned to five feeding groups of twelve animals each. The animals received a supplement containing seven herbs at 20 or 40 g/animal/day (experimental groups 1 and 2) and a supplement containing nine herbs at 20 or 40 g/animal/day (experimental groups 3 and 4)m, along with pelleted concentrate feed. Group 5 (the control group) received pelleted feed without any herbal supplements. A significant effect of herbal feed additive on lactic acid bacteria (LAB) count was observed (p < 0.001). The highest number density of LAB was found in the goats receiving the feed additive with nine herbs at 20 g/animal per day (p < 0.05). There was a statistically significant effect of lactation stage on intestinal LAB count (p < 0.001). Regardless of the feeding group, the highest number density of LAB was found in animals at the peak of lactation. The LAB count was also affected by the interaction of diet group × lactation stage (p < 0.0001). A probiotic strain of Lactobacillus fermentum was identified in the faecal samples of goats receiving the herbal additive, but not in the controls. Genetic identification of the microorganisms isolated from the faeces of the experimental goats did not reveal the presence of harmful mould spores, although spores of the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus were detected in the controls. Full article
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22 pages, 1733 KiB  
Article
Effects of Cornus and Its Mixture with Oregano and Thyme Essential Oils on Dairy Sheep Performance and Milk, Yoghurt and Cheese Quality under Heat Stress
by Konstantinos Kalaitsidis, Erasmia Sidiropoulou, Olga Tsiftsoglou, Ioannis Mourtzinos, Thomas Moschakis, Zoitsa Basdagianni, Stylianos Vasilopoulos, Styliani Chatzigavriel, Diamanto Lazari and Ilias Giannenas
Animals 2021, 11(4), 1063; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11041063 - 8 Apr 2021
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3564
Abstract
The effect of a diet supplemented with a novel cornus extract, enriched with essential oils of oregano and thyme, on the performance of Chios cross-bred dairy sheep was investigated during the summer period. The plant extracts were prepared using a “green” method based [...] Read more.
The effect of a diet supplemented with a novel cornus extract, enriched with essential oils of oregano and thyme, on the performance of Chios cross-bred dairy sheep was investigated during the summer period. The plant extracts were prepared using a “green” method based on aqueous extraction. A total of 45 lactating ewes were allocated into three equal groups in a randomized block design. The three groups were fed the same feed allowance, roughage based on Lucerne hay and wheat straw and a concentrate based on cereals and oil cakes (the control diet). The diet of two groups was fortified with cornus extract, with or without oregano and thyme essential oils, at a level 0.515 g of plant extract/essential oils per kg of concentrate. Individual milk yield was recorded weekly and feed refusals were recorded on a pen basis daily, during a six-week period of lactation. Milk samples were analyzed for the chemical composition of protein, fat, lactose and solids-not-fat constituents, somatic cell counts and total viable bacteria counts. Moreover, the milk of each group was used for yoghurt and Feta cheese production. The lipid oxidative stability, protein carbonyl content and fatty acid composition of milk, yoghurt and cheese samples were also evaluated. The results showed that the incorporation of novel plant extracts and essential oils increased the milk production per ewe. Dietary supplementation with cornus extracts and essential oils lowered lipid and protein oxidation in milk, yoghurt and cheese samples, compared to the control. However, diet supplementation with herbal extracts did not affect the fatty acid profile in milk, cheese and yoghurt or the serum biochemical parameters. In conclusion, dietary supplementation with cornus in combination with oregano and thyme has the potential to improve feed utilization and the performance of high-yield dairy Chios cross-bred ewes reared under heat stress. Full article
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14 pages, 1333 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Whole Sesame Seeds on the Expression of Key-Genes Involved in the Innate Immunity of Dairy Goats
by Christina Mitsiopoulou, Kyriaki Sotirakoglou, Dimitrios Skliros, Emmanouil Flemetakis and Eleni Tsiplakou
Animals 2021, 11(2), 468; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020468 - 10 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2307
Abstract
Whole sesame seeds (WSS) are rich in both linoleic acid (LA) and lignans. However, their impact on the innate immunity of goats is not well studied. Twenty-four goats were divided into three homogeneous sub-groups; comprise one control (CON) and two treated (WWS5 and [...] Read more.
Whole sesame seeds (WSS) are rich in both linoleic acid (LA) and lignans. However, their impact on the innate immunity of goats is not well studied. Twenty-four goats were divided into three homogeneous sub-groups; comprise one control (CON) and two treated (WWS5 and WWS10). In the treated groups, WSS were incorporated in the concentrates of the CON at 5 (WSS5) and 10% (WSS10) respectively, by partial substitution of both soybean meal and corn grain. The expression levels of MAPK1, IL6, TRIF, IFNG, TRAF3, and JUND genes in the neutrophils of WSS10 fed goats were reduced significantly compared with the CON. The same was found for the expression levels of IFNG and TRAF3 genes in the neutrophils of WSS5 fed goats. Both treated groups primarily affected the MYD88-independent pathway. The dietary supplementation of goats with WSS might be a good nutritional strategy to improve their innate immunity. Full article
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Review

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13 pages, 308 KiB  
Review
Application of Olive By-Products in Livestock with Emphasis on Small Ruminants: Implications on Rumen Function, Growth Performance, Milk and Meat Quality
by Ouranios Tzamaloukas, Marina C. Neofytou and Panagiotis E. Simitzis
Animals 2021, 11(2), 531; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020531 - 18 Feb 2021
Cited by 33 | Viewed by 5155
Abstract
The olive oil industry has a leading position in the Mediterranean countries, resulting in the production of considerable quantities of the respective by-products (OB) that constitute an important environmental issue. OB contain valuable nutrients and bioactive components that can be re-used under the [...] Read more.
The olive oil industry has a leading position in the Mediterranean countries, resulting in the production of considerable quantities of the respective by-products (OB) that constitute an important environmental issue. OB contain valuable nutrients and bioactive components that can be re-used under the bioeconomy strategy, and several chemical, physical, and biological processes have been evaluated with the intention to improve their nutritional value. One feasible application of OB is their incorporation in the diets of livestock and especially ruminants due to their high fiber content. As indicated by numerous studies, OB dietary supplementation increases the levels of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and decreases that of saturated fatty acids (SFAs) in the milk and meat of ruminants with beneficial effects for consumers’ health. At the same time, environmental impact and feeding costs are reduced without detrimental effects on ruminal fermentation, nutrients utilization, growth performance, carcass traits, milk yield and composition. Full article
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