Scholarly Works, School of Animal Sciences

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  • Heat Stress Effects on Physiological and Milk Yield Traits of Lactating Holstein Friesian Crossbreds Reared in Tanga Region, Tanzania
    Habimana, Vincent; Nguluma, Athumani Shabani; Nziku, Zabron Cuthibert; Ekine - Dzivenu, Chinyere Charlotte; Morota, Gota; Mrode, Raphael; Chenyambuga, Sebastian Wilson (MDPI, 2024-06-28)
    Global warming caused by climate change is a challenge for dairy farming, especially in sub-Saharan countries. Under high temperatures and relative humidity, lactating dairy cows suffer from heat stress. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects and relationship of heat stress (HS) measured by the temperature–humidity index (THI) regarding the physiological parameters and milk yield and composition of lactating Holstein Friesian crossbred dairy cows reared in the humid coastal region of Tanzania. A total of 29 lactating Holstein Friesian x Zebu crossbred dairy cows with 50% (HF50) and 75% (HF75) Holstein Friesian gene levels in the second and third months of lactation were used. The breed composition of Holstein Friesians was determined based on the animal recording system used at the Tanzania Livestock Research Institute (TALIRI), Tanga. The data collected included the daily temperature, relative humidity, daily milk yield, and physiological parameters (core body temperature, rectal temperature, respiratory rate, and panting score). THI was calculated using the equation of the National Research Council. The THI values were categorized into three classes, i.e., low THI (76–78), moderate THI (79–81), and high THI (82–84). The effects of THI on the physiological parameters and milk yield and composition were assessed. The effects of the genotype, the parity, the lactation month, and the interaction of these parameters with THI on the milk yield, milk composition, and physiological parameters were also investigated. The results show that THI and its interaction with genotypes, parity, and the lactation month had a highly significant effect on all parameters. THI influenced (p ˂ 0.05) the average daily milk yield and milk fat %, protein %, lactose %, and solids–not–fat %. As the THI increased from moderate to high levels, the average daily milk yield declined from 3.49 ± 0.04 to 3.43 ± 0.05 L/day, while the fat % increased from 2.66 ± 0.05% to 3.04 ± 0.06% and the protein decreased from 3.15 ± 0.02% to 3.13 ± 0.03%. No decline in lactose % was observed, while the solid–not–fat % declined from 8.56 ± 0.08% to 8.55 ± 0.10% as the THI values increased from moderate to high. Also, the THI influenced physiological parameters (p ˂ 0.05). The core body temperature (CBT), rectal temperature (RT), respiratory rate (RR) and panting score (PS) increased from 35.60 ± 0.01 to 36.00 ± 0.01 °C, 38.03 ± 0.02 to 38.30 ± 0.02 °C, 62.53 ± 0.29 to 72.35 ± 0.28 breaths/min, and 1.35 ± 0.01 to 1.47 ± 0.09, respectively, as the THI increased from low to high. The THI showed a weak positive correlation with the average daily milk yield and fat percentage, whereas the protein, lactose, and solids–not–fat percentages showed negative relationships with THI (p ≤ 0.05). CBT, RT, RR, and PS showed positive relationships (p ≤ 0.05) with THI. These negative relationships indicate that there is an antagonistic correlation between sensitivity to HS and the level of production. It is concluded that the THI, the genotype, the parity, and the lactation month, along with their interactions with THI, significantly influenced the milk yield, milk composition, and physiological parameters of lactating Holstein Friesian dairy crosses at THI thresholds ranging from 77 to 84.
  • Determining muscle plasticity and meat quality development of low-input extended fed market-ready steers
    Wicks, Jordan C.; Wivell, Alexis L.; Beline, Mariane; Zumbaugh, Morgan D.; Bodmer, Jocelyn S.; Yen, Con-Ning; Johnson-Schuster, Chantal; Wilson, Thomas B.; Greiner, Scott P.; Johnson, Sally E.; Shi, Tim H.; Silva, Saulo Luz; Gerrard, David E. (Oxford University Press, 2024-05-02)
    In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, which ultimately led to many meat processors temporarily shutting down or reducing processing capacity. This backlog in processing capacity forced many feedlots to retain cattle for longer periods of time and assume the risk of major market fluctuations. The aim of this study was to understand how a dietary insult affects meat quality and muscle metabolism in market-ready steers (590 kg). Sixteen market-ready (590 kg) commercial Angus crossbred steers were subjected to a maintenance diet of either forage or grain for 60 d. Longissimus lumborum (LL) muscle samples were collected immediately postmortem and processed for characteristics reflecting the underlying muscle fiber type and energy state of the tissue. Despite cattle being subjected to a 60-d feeding period, there were no detectable differences (P > 0.05) in carcass characteristics, color of lean, or ultimate pH (pHu). Moreover, our data show that muscle plasticity is rather resilient, as reflected by lack of significance (P > 0.05) in oxidative and glycolytic enzymes, myosin heavy chain isoforms (MyHC), myoglobin, and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) contents. These data show that market-ready steers are capable of withstanding a low-input feeding strategy up to 60 d without dramatically impacting underlying muscle characteristics and meat quality development.
  • Effects of single- or pair-housing on the welfare of shelter dogs: Behavioral and physiological indicators
    Hecker, Grace; Martineau, Katherine; Scheskie, Mariah; Hammerslough, Rhonda; Feuerbacher, Erica N. (PLOS, 2024-06-12)
    Dogs are often housed alone in shelter settings to reduce injury and disease spread. However, social isolation can be a stressor for dogs. Prior studies have suggested that cohousing can produce behavioral and physiological benefits. These studies have typically focused on laboratory dogs or shelter dogs that have been kenneled for several months. Thus, those results might not necessarily generalize to shelter dogs, many of which have shorter lengths of stay than those dogs studied to date, and might be cohoused soon after intake. In fact, being pair-housed could, in the short term, be more stressful as dogs have to navigate novel social situations in small spaces. We investigated the behavioral and physiological effects of single- or pair-housing shelter dogs, most of which had recently entered the shelter. We collected behavioral data on 61 dogs (30 single-housed; 31 pair-housed) daily across seven days; we also collected urine for cortisol:creatinine analysis on a subset (22 single-housed; 18 pair-housed) for eight days (each day of the seven-day study plus a baseline sample on Day 0, prior to dogs’ enrollment). We found pair-housed dogs engaged in three stressrelated behaviors (lip licking, whining, and ears back) significantly less frequently than single- housed dogs. When we analyzed the change in urinary cortisol:creatinine (Days 1–7 values minus Day 0 value), we found that pair-housed dogs generally showed a greater decrease in cortisol:creatinine levels than single-housed dogs. Pair-housed dogs also had significantly shorter lengths of stay, but we did not detect any effect on dog-dog skills. Overall, we found well-matched pair-housing can have both proximate and ultimate welfare benefits for shelter dogs.
  • A Multi-Institutional Description of Processes and Outcomes of Postbaccalaureate Research Education Programs in the Mid-Atlantic Region
    Wright, Cynthia F.; Kasman, Laura M.; Robinson, Donita L.; Carey, Gregory B.; Hall, Joshua D.; Lloyd, Joyce A.; Shiang, Rita; Smith, Edward J.; Wilson, Katherine L. (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2023-12-28)
    Outcome data from 6 National Institutes of Health-funded Postbaccalaureate Research Education Programs (PREPs) in the Mid-Atlantic region were combined to give a multi-institutional perspective on their scholars' characteristics and progress through biomedical research training. The institutions hosting these programs were Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the Medical University of South Carolina, the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The authors summarize the institutional pathways, demographics, undergraduate institutions, and graduate institutions for a total of 384 PREP scholars who completed the programs by June 2021. A total of 228 (59.4%) of these PREP scholars identified as Black or African American, 116 (30.2%) as Hispanic or Latinx, and 269 (70.0%) as female. The authors found that 376 of 384 scholars (97.9%) who started PREP finished their program, 319 of 376 (84.8%) who finished PREP matriculated into PhD or MD/PhD programs, and 284 of 319 (89.0%) who matriculated have obtained their PhD or are successfully making progress toward their PhD.
  • Evaluating Different Methods to Establish Biodiverse Swards of Native Grasses and Wildflowers for Pasturelands
    Kubesch, Jonathan O. C.; Greiner, Scott P.; Pent, Gabriel J.; Reid, J. Leighton; Tracy, Benjamin F. (MDPI, 2024-05-14)
    Many cool-season pastures in the southeastern U.S. are dominated by a competitive cool-season grass, tall fescue (Schedonorus arundinaceus), and lack substantial plant diversity. Planting native warm-season grasses (NWSGs) and wildflowers (WFs) into these pastures could provide summer forage for cattle and more floral resources for pollinators. This paper summarizes field experiments designed to evaluate different spatiotemporal planting arrangements of NWSGs and WFs to improve their establishment success. The study was conducted from April 2021 to October 2023 in central Virginia (USA). Planting treatments included NWSG and WF mixtures planted: (1) together in the same space, (2) spatially separated in space (i.e., side by side), or (3) temporally separated where NWSGs and WFs were planted in difference sequences. Results showed few differences in forage mass, floral production, and botanical composition as well as stand density in 2021 and 2022. In 2023, NWSG abundance was greater where grasses were planted first or mixed with WFs. Similarly, the WF component was favored when they were planted before NWSGs. Overall, planting NWSG and WF mixes separately, either spatially or temporally, favors successful establishment and could offer more flexibility for using selective herbicides to suppress the heavy weed pressure that often accompanies these plantings.
  • Growth of White Leghorn Chicken Immune Organs after Long-Term Divergent Selection for High or Low Antibody Response to Sheep Red Blood Cells
    Honaker, Christa F.; Taylor, Robert L.; Edens, Frank W.; Siegel, Paul B. (MDPI, 2024-05-17)
    Long-term divergent selection from a common founder population for a single trait—antibody response to sheep erythrocytes 5 days post-injection—has resulted in two distinct lines of White Leghorn chickens with a well-documented difference in antibody titers: high (HAS)- and low (LAS)-antibody selected lines. Subpopulations—high (HAR)- and low (LAR)-antibody relaxed—were developed from generation 24 of the selected lines to relax selection. The objective of the current experiment was to determine if this long-term selection and relaxation of selection impacted the growth of two organs important to chicken immunity: the spleen and the bursa of Fabricius. Spleens and bursae were obtained from ten chickens per line at nine timepoints (E18, D0, D6, D13, D20, D35, D49, D63, and D91) throughout their rapid growth phase and presented as a percent of body weight. Significance was set at p ≤ 0.05. For the spleen, all lines consistently increased in size relative to body weight to D49, followed by a consistent decline. All lines had a similar growth pattern, but HAS spleens grew faster than LAS spleens. For the bursa, LAS was smaller than the other three lines as an embryo and also smaller than HAS through D63. In the selected lines, bursa weight peaked at D35, whereas the relaxed lines peaked at D49. By D91, there was no difference between lines. Artificial and natural selection, represented by the long-term selected and relaxed antibody lines, resulted in differences in the growth patterns and relative weights of the spleen and bursa of Fabricius.
  • Peeling back the many layers of competitive exclusion
    Maurer, John J.; Cheng, Ying; Pedroso, Adriana; Thompson, Kasey K.; Akter, Shamima; Kwan, Tiffany; Morota, Gota; Kinstler, Sydney; Porwollik, Steffen; McClelland, Michael; Escalante-Semerena, Jorge C.; Lee, Margie D. (Frontiers, 2024-03-21)
    Baby chicks administered a fecal transplant from adult chickens are resistant to Salmonella colonization by competitive exclusion. A two-pronged approach was used to investigate the mechanism of this process. First, Salmonella response to an exclusive (Salmonella competitive exclusion product, Aviguard®) or permissive microbial community (chicken cecal contents from colonized birds containing 7.85 Log₁ₒ Salmonella genomes/gram) was assessed ex vivo using a S. typhimurium reporter strain with fluorescent YFP and CFP gene fusions to rrn and hilA operon, respectively. Second, cecal transcriptome analysis was used to assess the cecal communities’ response to Salmonella in chickens with low (≤5.85 Log₁ₒ genomes/g) or high (≥6.00 Log₁ₒ genomes/g) Salmonella colonization. The ex vivo experiment revealed a reduction in Salmonella growth and hilA expression following co-culture with the exclusive community. The exclusive community also repressed Salmonella’s SPI-1 virulence genes and LPS modification, while the anti-virulence/inflammatory gene avrA was upregulated. Salmonella transcriptome analysis revealed significant metabolic disparities in Salmonella grown with the two different communities. Propanediol utilization and vitamin B12 synthesis were central to Salmonella metabolism co-cultured with either community, and mutations in propanediol and vitamin B12 metabolism altered Salmonella growth in the exclusive community. There were significant differences in the cecal community’s stress response to Salmonella colonization. Cecal community transcripts indicated that antimicrobials were central to the type of stress response detected in the low Salmonella abundance community, suggesting antagonism involved in Salmonella exclusion. This study indicates complex community interactions that modulate Salmonella metabolism and pathogenic behavior and reduce growth through antagonism may be key to exclusion.
  • Postnatal Growth and Development of the Rumen: Integrating Physiological and Molecular Insights
    Pokhrel, Binod; Jiang, Honglin (MDPI, 2024-04-18)
    The rumen plays an essential role in the physiology and production of agriculturally important ruminants such as cattle. Functions of the rumen include fermentation, absorption, metabolism, and protection. Cattle are, however, not born with a functional rumen, and the rumen undergoes considerable changes in size, histology, physiology, and transcriptome from birth to adulthood. In this review, we discuss these changes in detail, the factors that affect these changes, and the potential molecular and cellular mechanisms that mediate these changes. The introduction of solid feed to the rumen is essential for rumen growth and functional development in post-weaning calves. Increasing evidence suggests that solid feed stimulates rumen growth and functional development through butyric acid and other volatile fatty acids (VFAs) produced by microbial fermentation of feed in the rumen and that VFAs stimulate rumen growth and functional development through hormones such as insulin and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) or through direct actions on energy production, chromatin modification, and gene expression. Given the role of the rumen in ruminant physiology and performance, it is important to further study the cellular, molecular, genomic, and epigenomic mechanisms that control rumen growth and development in postnatal ruminants. A better understanding of these mechanisms could lead to the development of novel strategies to enhance the growth and development of the rumen and thereby the productivity and health of cattle and other agriculturally important ruminants.
  • Effects of Individual Essential Amino Acids on Growth Rates of Young Rats Fed a Low-Protein Diet
    Liu, Wei; Wang, Tianyi; Zhao, Kai; Hanigan, Mark D.; Lin, Xueyan; Hu, Zhiyong; Hou, Qiuling; Wang, Yun; Wang, Zhonghua (MDPI, 2024-03-20)
    To investigate the effects of individual essential amino acids (EAA) on growth and the underlying mechanisms, EAA individually supplemented a low-protein (LP) diet fed to young rats in the present study. Treatments were an LP diet that contained 6% crude protein (CP), a high-protein (HP) diet that contained 18% CP, and 10 LP diets supplemented with individual EAA to achieve an EAA supply equal to that of the HP diet. The CP concentration of the LP diet was ascertained from the results of the first experiment, which examined the effects of dietary CP concentrations on growth rates, with CP ranging from 2% to 26%. Weight gain was increased with the supplementation of His, Ile, Lys, Thr, or Trp as compared to the LP diet (p < 0.05). Feed intake was greater for the His-, Lys-, and Thr-supplemented treatments as compared to the LP group (p < 0.05). Protein utilization efficiency was lower for the HP group than other groups (p < 0.01). The supplementation of Leu, Lys, and Val led to reduced protein utilization efficiency (p < 0.05), but the supplementation of Thr and Trp led to greater efficiency than the LP group (p < 0.05). Compared to the LP group, plasma urea concentrations were elevated with individual EAA supplementation, with the exception of the Thr addition. The added EAA resulted in increased concentrations of the corresponding EAA in plasma, except for Arg and Phe supplementation. The supplementation of Arg, His, Leu, Lys, and Met individually stimulated mTORC1 pathway activity (p < 0.05), and all EAA resulted in the decreased expression of ATF4 (p < 0.05). In summary, the supplementation of His, Ile, Lys, Thr, or Trp to an LP diet improved the growth performance of young rats. Responses to His and Lys additions were related to the activated mTORC1 pathway and feed intake increases. The improved growth performance resulting from the addition of a single EAA is not solely attributed to the increased plasma availability of EAA. Rather, it may be the consequence of a confluence of factors encompassing signaling pathways, the availability of amino acids, and other associated elements. The additivity of these factors results in independent responses to several EAA with no order of limitation, as is universally encoded in growth models for all production animal species.
  • Plasma γ-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) Concentrations in Lactating Holstein Cows during Thermoneutral and Heat Stress Conditions and Their Relationships with Circulating Glucose, Insulin and Progesterone Levels
    Arneson, Alicia G.; Stewart, Jacob W.; Byrd, MaryKate H.; Perry, George A.; Rhoads, Michelle L. (MDPI, 2024-03-21)
    Heat-stressed lactating dairy cattle exhibit unique metabolic symptoms, many of which are undoubtedly involved in heat-induced subfertility. Because of its known systemic effects, we hypothesized that γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) participates in the regulation of insulin and progesterone during heat stress. Multiparous lactating Holstein cows (n = 6) were studied during four experimental periods: (1) thermoneutral (TN; d 1–5), (2) TN + hyperinsulinemic–hypoglycemic clamp (d 6–10), (3) heat stress (HS; d 16–20), and (4) HS + euglycemic clamp (d 21–25). Blood samples were collected once daily via coccygeal venipuncture into heparinized evacuated tubes. Analysis of GABA concentrations from all four treatment periods yielded no differences. In direct comparison to TN concentrations, plasma GABA tended to decrease during the HS period (16.57 ± 2.64 vs. 13.87 ± 2.28 ng/mL, respectively, p = 0.06). Both milk production and plasma insulin were moderately correlated with plasma GABA (r = 0.35, p < 0.01; r = −0.32, p < 0.01). Plasma progesterone was correlated with plasma GABA concentrations during TN but not HS periods. These results are the first to indicate that peripheral GABA could be involved in the regulation of factors known to affect production and reproduction during heat stress. More research is needed to determine its precise role(s).
  • Chromatin profiling reveals TFAP4 as a critical transcriptional regulator of bovine satellite cell differentiation
    Lyu, Pengcheng; Jiang, Honglin (2024-03-12)
    Background: Satellite cells are myogenic precursor cells in adult skeletal muscle and play a crucial role in skeletal muscle regeneration, maintenance, and growth. Like embryonic myoblasts, satellite cells have the ability to proliferate, differentiate, and fuse to form multinucleated myofibers. In this study, we aimed to identify additional transcription factors that control gene expression during bovine satellite cell proliferation and differentiation. Results: Using chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing, we identified 56,973 and 54,470 genomic regions marked with both the histone modifications H3K4me1 and H3K27ac, which were considered active enhancers, and 50,956 and 59,174 genomic regions marked with H3K27me3, which were considered repressed enhancers, in proliferating and differentiating bovine satellite cells, respectively. In addition, we identified 1,216 and 1,171 super-enhancers in proliferating and differentiating bovine satellite cells, respectively. Analyzing these enhancers showed that in proliferating bovine satellite cells, active enhancers were associated with genes stimulating cell proliferation or inhibiting myoblast differentiation whereas repressed enhancers were associated with genes essential for myoblast differentiation, and that in differentiating satellite cells, active enhancers were associated with genes essential for myoblast differentiation or muscle contraction whereas repressed enhancers were associated with genes stimulating cell proliferation or inhibiting myoblast differentiation. Active enhancers in proliferating bovine satellite cells were enriched with binding sites for many transcription factors such as MYF5 and the AP-1 family transcription factors; active enhancers in differentiating bovine satellite cells were enriched with binding sites for many transcription factors such as MYOG and TFAP4; and repressed enhancers in both proliferating and differentiating bovine satellite cells were enriched with binding sites for NF-kB, ZEB-1, and several other transcription factors. The role of TFAP4 in satellite cell or myoblast differentiation was previously unknown, and through gene knockdown and overexpression, we experimentally validated a critical role for TFAP4 in the differentiation and fusion of bovine satellite cells into myofibers. Conclusions: Satellite cell proliferation and differentiation are controlled by many transcription factors such as AP-1, TFAP4, NF-kB, and ZEB-1 whose roles in these processes were previously unknown in addition to those transcription factors such as MYF5 and MYOG whose roles in these processes are widely known.
  • Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Intramuscular Fat Development and Growth in Cattle
    Tan, Zhendong; Jiang, Honglin (MDPI, 2024-02-21)
    Intramuscular fat, also referred to as marbling fat, is the white fat deposited within skeletal muscle tissue. The content of intramuscular fat in the skeletal muscle, particularly the longissimus dorsi muscle, of cattle is a critical determinant of beef quality and value. In this review, we summarize the process of intramuscular fat development and growth, the factors that affect this process, and the molecular and epigenetic mechanisms that mediate this process in cattle. Compared to other species, cattle have a remarkable ability to accumulate intramuscular fat, partly attributed to the abundance of sources of fatty acids for synthesizing triglycerides. Compared to other adipose depots such as subcutaneous fat, intramuscular fat develops later and grows more slowly. The commitment and differentiation of adipose precursor cells into adipocytes as well as the maturation of adipocytes are crucial steps in intramuscular fat development and growth in cattle. Each of these steps is controlled by various factors, underscoring the complexity of the regulatory network governing adipogenesis in the skeletal muscle. These factors include genetics, epigenetics, nutrition (including maternal nutrition), rumen microbiome, vitamins, hormones, weaning age, slaughter age, slaughter weight, and stress. Many of these factors seem to affect intramuscular fat deposition through the transcriptional or epigenetic regulation of genes directly involved in the development and growth of intramuscular fat. A better understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which intramuscular fat develops and grows in cattle will help us develop more effective strategies to optimize intramuscular fat deposition in cattle, thereby maximizing the quality and value of beef meat.
  • A meta-analysis of the relationship between milk protein production and absorbed amino acids and digested energy in dairy cattle
    Mark Hanigan; Vinícius Carneiro de Souza; Roger Martineuau; Hélène Lapierre; Xin Feng; Veridiana Daley (Journal of Dairy Science)
    Supplemental materials of the paper "A meta-analysis of the relationship between milk protein production and absorbed amino acids and digested energy in dairy cattle".
  • Fetal Programming and Its Effects on Meat Quality of Nellore Bulls
    Christofaro Fernandes, Arícia; Beline, Mariane; Polizel, Guilherme Henrique Gebim; Cavalcante Cracco, Roberta; Ferreira Dias, Evandro Fernando; Furlan, Édison; da Luz e Silva, Saulo; de Almeida Santana, Miguel Henrique (MDPI, 2023-11-24)
    This work aimed to evaluate the effects of prenatal nutritional stimulation at different pregnancy stages on carcass traits and meat quality in bovine progeny. For this purpose, 63 Nellore bulls, born from cows submitted to three nutritional plans, were used: not programmed (NP), which did not receive protein supplementation; partially programmed (PP), which had protein-energy supplementation (0.3% of mean body weight of each batch) only in the final third of pregnancy; and full programming (FP), which received supplementation (0.3% of mean body weight of each batch) throughout pregnancy. The averages of parameters were submitted to the ANOVA, and the supplementation periods, which were different when p value < 0.05, were compared. Carcass weights and rib eye area (REA) did not differ between treatments (p > 0.05), but subcutaneous fat thickness (SFT) showed a tendency (p = 0.08) between groups. For lipids and marbling, no differences were found (p > 0.05). In the analyses of maturation time and shelf life, no difference was observed between treatments. However, there was a tendency between treatments at 14 days of maturation time for cooking loss (CL) (p = 0.08). Treatments did not affect shear force in the progenies (p > 0.05). Fetal programming had no effect on the meat quality of Nellore bulls.
  • Farm-Scale Effectiveness of Feed Additives Supplied through a Mineral Mix for Beef Cattle Grazing Tropical Pastures
    Goulart, Ricardo Cazerta Duarte; Costa, Diogo Fleury Azevedo; Silva, Tiago Alves Corrêa Carvalho da; Congio, Guilhermo Francklin de Souza; Marques, Rodrigo da Silva; Corsi, Moacyr (MDPI, 2023-12-13)
    The effectiveness of feed additives delivered through free-choice mineral mixtures (MMs) to grazing cattle remains unclear. Two farm-scale and one in vitro experiment (Exp.) were conducted to investigate the effects of salinomycin and virginiamycin, delivered through an MM, on growing bulls grazing tropical pastures. In Exp. 1, 316 zebu (Bos indicus) Nellore bulls (225 ± 26.7 kg liveweight (LW)) were randomly allocated to four treatments: (1) MM no additives (CON), (2) MM with salinomycin at 1950 mg/kg (SLI), (3) MM with salinomycin at 780 mg/kg (SHI), and (4) MM with virginiamycin at 1950 mg/kg (VGN). Over 123 days, these bulls grazed tropical grasses on pastures of guinea grass, palisade grass, or Bermuda grass. No significant treatment effects were observed for oocyst eggs or ruminal parameters. Bulls fed VGN had higher average daily gain (ADG) compared to CON (p = 0.02) and SLI (p = 0.03) but similar compared to SHI (p = 0.07). In Exp. 2, 308 zebu cross bulls (237 ± 23.0 kg LW) grazed Bermuda grass paddocks and were allocated into two treatments: (1) MM with no additives (CON) and (2) MM containing virginiamycin at 2522 mg/kg (VGN). Cattle fed VGN had a significantly higher ADG (p = 0.007). Exp. 3 tested salinomycin’s effectiveness in vitro at different exposure times to MM, revealing no impact of exposure time on short-chain fatty acid production. In conclusion, virginiamycin delivered through free-choice MM can increase grazing beef bulls’ ADG by 12% compared with CON, with no clear link to rumen fermentation or coccidiostat effects.
  • Influences of Supplementing Selective Members of the Interleukin-6 Cytokine Family on Bovine Oocyte Competency
    McKinley, Endya; Speckhart, Savannah L.; Keane, Jessica A.; Oliver, Mary A.; Rhoads, Michelle L.; Edwards, J. Lannett; Biase, Fernando H.; Ealy, Alan D. (MDPI, 2023-12-21)
    This work explored whether supplementing selective members of the interleukin-6 (IL6) cytokine family during in vitro bovine oocyte maturation affects maturation success, cumulus–oocyte complex (COC) gene expression, fertilization success, and embryo development potential. Human recombinant proteins for IL6, IL11, and leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) were supplemented to COCs during the maturation period, then fertilization and embryo culture commenced without further cytokine supplementation. The first study determined that none of these cytokines influenced the rate that oocytes achieved arrest at meiosis II. The second study identified that LIF and IL11 supplementation increases AREG transcript abundance. Supplementation with IL6 supplementation did not affect AREG abundance but reduced HAS2 transcript abundance. Several other transcriptional markers of oocyte competency were not affected by any of the cytokines. The third study determined that supplementing these cytokines during maturation did not influence fertilization success, but either LIF or IL11 supplementation increased blastocyst development. No effect of IL6 supplementation on subsequent blastocyst development was detected. The fourth experiment explored whether each cytokine treatment affects the post-thaw survivability of cryopreserved IVP blastocysts. None of the cytokines supplemented during oocyte maturation produced any positive effects on post-thaw blastocyst re-expansion and hatching. In conclusion, these outcomes implicate IL11 and LIF as potentially useful supplements for improving bovine oocyte competency.
  • An Overview of Reactive Oxygen Species Damage Occurring during In Vitro Bovine Oocyte and Embryo Development and the Efficacy of Antioxidant Use to Limit These Adverse Effects
    Keane, Jessica A.; Ealy, Alan D. (MDPI, 2024-01-21)
    The in vitro production (IVP) of bovine embryos has gained popularity worldwide and in recent years and its use for producing embryos from genetically elite heifers and cows has surpassed the use of conventional superovulation-based embryo production schemes. There are, however, several issues with the IVP of embryos that remain unresolved. One limitation of special concern is the low efficiency of the IVP of embryos. Exposure to reactive oxygen species (ROS) is one reason why the production of embryos with IVP is diminished. These highly reactive molecules are generated in small amounts through normal cellular metabolism, but their abundances increase in embryo culture because of oocyte and embryo exposure to temperature fluctuations, light exposure, pH changes, atmospheric oxygen tension, suboptimal culture media formulations, and cryopreservation. When uncontrolled, ROS produce detrimental effects on the structure and function of genomic and mitochondrial DNA, alter DNA methylation, increase lipid membrane damage, and modify protein activity. Several intrinsic enzymatic pathways control ROS abundance and damage, and antioxidants react with and reduce the reactive potential of ROS. This review will focus on exploring the efficiency of supplementing several of these antioxidant molecules on oocyte maturation, sperm viability, fertilization, and embryo culture.
  • A Multi-Institutional Description of Processes and Outcomes of Postbaccalaureate Research Education Programs in the Mid-Atlantic Region
    Wright, Cynthia F.; Kasman, Laura M.; Robinson, Donita L.; Carey, Gregory B.; Hall, Joshua D.; Lloyd, Joyce A.; Shiang, Rita; Smith, Edward J.; Wilson, Katherine L. (American Association of Medical Colleges, 2024-01-13)
    Outcome data from 6 National Institutes of Health–funded Postbaccalaureate Research Education Programs (PREPs) in the Mid-Atlantic region were combined to give a multi-institutional perspective on their scholars’ characteristics and progress through biomedical research training. The institutions hosting these programs were Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the Medical University of South Carolina, the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. The authors summarize the institutional pathways, demographics, undergraduate institutions, and graduate institutions for a total of 384 PREP scholars who completed the programs by June 2021. A total of 228 (59.3%) of these PREP scholars identified as Black or African American, 116 (30.2%) as Hispanic or Latinx, and 269 (70.0%) as female. The authors found that 376 of 384 scholars (97.9%) who started PREP finished their program, 319 of 376 (84.8%) who finished PREP matriculated into PhD or MD/PhD programs, and 284 of 319 (89.0%) who matriculated have obtained their PhD or are successfully making progress toward their PhD.
  • Editorial: Bio-accessibility of functional compounds and nutrients of animal diets
    Rossi, Luciana; Theodorou, Georgios; Osorio, Johan; Castiglioni, Bianca (Frontiers, 2023-11-16)
  • Reducing barking in a Brazilian animal shelter: A practical intervention
    Baldan, Ana Lucia; Ferreira, Bruna Lima; Warisaia, Vinicius; Feuerbacher, Erica N.; Monticelli, Patricia Ferreira; Gunter, Lisa M. (Elsevier, 2023-08)
    Barking is a common problem in animal shelters. Loud noise is an irritant and stressful to both humans and other animals. In the present study, we tested a positive reinforcement intervention using food delivery with 70 dogs at a municipal animal shelter in Pirassununga, state of São Paulo, Brazil. The experiment consisted of three conditions with three daily phases: pre-intervention (A1), intervention (B), and post-intervention (A2). The intervention consisted of the experimenter (ALB) entering the building in which dogs were housed, stopping at each of its 12 kennels (between 4 and 6 dogs in each kennel), and delivering food to the dogs after they had ceased barking. After the first study condition with its single experimenter, we conducted two other conditions to test the generalization of the intervention with novel stimuli. In Condition 2, the experimenter was accompanied by a student; and in Condition 3, the experimenter was with the same student and a shelter employee. Continuous sound levels (Leq dB) and duration of barking were measured pre- and post-intervention throughout the study's three conditions as well as the amount of time needed to carry out the intervention each day. We found that, on average, both Leq dB and barking duration reduced following the intervention with a decrease in both measures from the beginning to the end of the study. Furthermore, intervention implementation time shortened across the study's conditions, with less than three minutes needed for the intervention to be carried out in Condition 3. In total, our findings suggest that the Barking Reduction Protocol (BRP) is an effective, low-effort intervention that reduces dog barking in the animal shelter. When considering the many issues that compromise the daily lives of shelter dogs, this intervention may be a useful tool in changing dogs’ barking behavior in response to people and improve their welfare as they await adoption.