Selected Articles from Aug 2021

Environmental Management and Sustainability

Invited review: Sustainability: Different perspectives, inherent conflict. Schiano AN, Drake MA. J Dairy Sci. 2021 Aug 25:S0022-0302(21)00832-8.

  • Consumer definitions of sustainability are largely uninformed by scientific research and may not align with industry definitions. Furthermore, consumers themselves have varied perceptions, definitions, and opinions of sustainability that vary between categories and products within the dairy category.
  • Understanding these differences and developing marketing messaging aligned with consumer sustainability definitions offer an advantage to dairy product producers when strategically positioning their products in a changing marketplace.
  • This review outlines the factors that may affect consumer sustainability perceptions to provide a basis for future marketing and scientific work. Consumer trends and desires for sustainability are explored, including how they are reflected in the rapid growth of plant-based alternatives.
  • Factors that may influence consumer perception of dairy as sustainable are covered in detail, including packaging, labeling, animal welfare, organic status, grass-fed or pasture-raised feeding systems, and local and clean label perceptions. Finally, a discussion of the challenges of marketing dairy foods with sustainability messages is addressed.

Role of Food Industry in Promoting Healthy and Sustainable Diets. Miller KB, Eckberg JO, Decker EA, Marinangeli CPF. Nutrients. 2021 Aug 10;13(8):2740.

  • Sustainable food systems are often defined by greenhouse gases, land use, effects on biodiversity, and water use. However, this approach does not recognize the reason food is produced-the provision of nutrients. Recently, the relationship between diets and sustainability has been recognized. Most accepted models of ‘sustainable diets’ focus on four domains: public health, the environment, food affordability, and cultural relevance.
  • Aligned with the FAO’s perspective, truly sustainable diets comprise foods that are affordable, nutritious, developed with ingredients produced in an environmentally friendly manner, and consumer preferred. Identifying solutions to address all four domains simultaneously remains a challenge.
  • Furthermore, the recent pandemic exposed the fragility of the food supply when food accessibility and affordability became primary concerns. There have been increasing calls for more nutrient-dense and sustainable foods, but scant recognition of the consumer’s role in adopting and integrating these foods into their diet.
  • Dietary recommendations promoting sustainable themes often overlook how and why people eat what they do. Taste, cost, and health motivate consumer food purchase and the food system must address those considerations.
  • Sustainable foods are perceived to be expensive, thus marginalizing acceptance by the people, which is needed for broad adoption into diets for impactful change. Transformational change is needed in food systems and supply chains to address the complex issues related to sustainability, taste, and cost.
  • An emerging movement called regenerative agriculture (a holistic, nature-based approach to farming) provides a pathway to delivering sustainable foods at an affordable cost to consumers. A broad coalition among academia, government, and the food industry can help to ensure that the food supply concurrently prioritizes sustainability and nutrient density in the framework of consumer-preferred foods. The coalition can also help to ensure sustainable diets are broadly adopted by consumers.

Perceptions of GHG emissions and renewable energy sources in Europe, Australia and the USA. Zhang Y, Abbas M, Iqbal W. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2021 Aug 25:1-17.

  • People’s sentiments and perceptions of greenhouse gas emission and renewable energy are important information to understand their reaction to the planned mitigation policy.
  • Therefore, this research analyzes people’s perceptions of greenhouse gas emissions and their preferences for renewable energy resources using a sample of Twitter data.
  • The researchers first identify themes of discussion using semantic text similarity and network analysis. Next, they measure people’s interest in renewable energy resources based on the mentioned rate in Twitter and search interest in Google trends. Then, they measure people’s sentiment toward these resources and compare the interest with sentiments to identify opportunities for policy improvement.
  • The results indicate a minor influence of governmental assemblies on Twitter discourses compared to a very high influence of two renewable energy providers amounts to more than 40% of the tweeting activities related to renewable energy. The search interest analysis shows a slight shift in people’s interest in favor of renewable energy. The interest in geothermal energy is decreasing while interest in biomass energy is increasing.
  • The sentiment analysis shows that biomass energy has the highest positive sentiments while solar and wind energy have higher interest. Solar and wind energy are found to be the two most promising sources for the future energy transition.
  • This study implies that governments should practice a higher influence on promoting awareness of the environment and converging between people’s interests and feasible energy solutions. The researchers also advocate Twitter as a source for collecting real-time data about social preferences for environmental policy input.

Mineral status and enteric methane production in dairy cows during different stages of lactation. Grešáková Ľ, Holodová M, Szumacher-Strabel M, Huang H, Ślósarz P, Wojtczak J, Sowińska N, Cieślak A. BMC Vet Res. 2021 Aug 28;17(1):287.

  • Lactating dairy cows are the greatest livestock contributor of methane, a major global greenhouse gas (GHG). However, good feeding management with adequate mineral intake can offers an effective approach to maintaining high levels of milk production and the health of dairy cows over the entire course of lactation, while also helping to reduce methane emission.
  • The study described here investigated the plasma concentrations of both macroelements (Ca, Na, K, Mg, P) and microelements (Zn, Cu, Fe, Mn), as well as enteric methane emission and milk composition in high-yielding dairy cows in different lactation periods.
  • The experiment was performed on Holstein-Friesian dairy cows with the average milk yield of 41 (± 9) L/day in a Polish commercial farm with modern dairy systems. A total of thirty high-yielding dairy cows were randomly assigned into three groups differing by lactation stage: early stage (Early, days 25-100), middle stage (Middle, days 101-250), and late stage (Late, day 250 and later). Dietary treatment for all cows was a total mixture ration (TMR) with maize and alfalfa silage the main forage components.
  • The greatest milk yield and methane production were recorded in early-stage lactating cows, but the greatest methane intensity per kg of corrected milk was recorded in the late stage of lactation.
  • Plasma concentrations of macroelements and microelements did not differ by lactation stages, but increased plasma concentrations of Zn and Fe and decreased plasma levels of Mg were noted during lactation. A positive correlation was found between plasma levels of Mg and other macroelements (Ca, Na, K), and between the concentrations of Fe and Zn, P in plasma, but no correlation between methane emission and mineral status was detected in the different lactation stages.
  • These results showed different mineral requirements and enteric methane emissions in each lactation stage. The feeding strategy and mineral utilization were adequate to maintain the health, mineral status, and milk production of the Holstein cows during the entire lactation period and suggest an effective way of reducing methane emission.

Degradation of antibiotic resistance genes and mobile gene elements in dairy manure anerobic digestion. Wang Y, Pandey PK, Kuppu S, Pereira R, Aly S, Zhang R. PLoS One. 2021 Aug 25;16(8):e0254836.

  • Antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) are emerging contaminants causing serious global health concern. Interventions to address this concern include improving our understanding of methods for treating waste material of human and animal origin that are known to harbor ARGs.
  • Anaerobic digestion is a commonly used process for treating dairy manure, and although effective in reducing ARGs, its mechanism of action is not clear.
  • In this study, researchers used three ARGs to conducted a longitudinal bench scale anaerobic digestion experiment with various temperatures (28, 36, 44, and 52°C) using fresh dairy manure for 30 days to evaluate the reduction of gene abundance.
  • Three ARGs and two mobile genetic elements (MGEs) were studied: sulfonamide resistance gene (sulII), tetracycline resistance genes (tetW), macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B (MLSB) superfamily resistance genes (ermF), class 1 integrase gene (intI1), and transposase gene (tnpA).
  • Genes were quantified by real-time quantitative PCR. Results show that the thermophilic anaerobic digestion (52°C) significantly reduced (p < 0.05) the absolute abundance of sulII (95%), intI1 (95%), tnpA (77%) and 16S rRNA gene (76%) after 30 days of digestion.
  • Results suggest that the gene reduction during the startup phase of anaerobic digestion (first 5 days) was faster than the later stage, and reductions in the first five days were more than 50% for most genes.

Organic Amendments Alter Soil Hydrology and Belowground Microbiome of Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). Readyhough T, Neher DA, Andrews T. Microorganisms. 2021 Jul 22;9(8):1561.

  • Manure-derived organic amendments are a cost-effective tool that provide many potential benefits to plant and soil health including fertility, water retention, and disease suppression.
  • A greenhouse experiment was conducted to evaluate how dairy manure compost (DMC), dairy manure compost-derived vermicompost (VC), and dehydrated poultry manure pellets (PP) impact the tripartite relationship among plant growth, soil physiochemical properties, and microbial community composition.
  • Of tomato plants with manure-derived fertilizers amendments, only VC led to vigorous growth through the duration of the experiment, whereas DMC had mixed impacts on plant growth and PP was detrimental.
  • Organic amendments increased soil porosity and soil water holding capacity, but delayed plant maturation and decreased plant biomass. Composition of bacterial communities were affected more by organic amendment than fungal communities in all microhabitats.
  • Composition of communities outside roots (bulk soil, rhizosphere, rhizoplane) contrasted those within roots (endosphere). Distinct microbial communities were detected for each treatment, with an abundance of MassiliaChryseolineaScedosporium, and Acinetobacter distinguishing the control, vermicompost, dairy manure compost, and dehydrated poultry manure pellet treatments, respectively.
  • This study suggests that plant growth is affected by the application of organic amendments not only because of the soil microbial communities introduced, but also due to a synergistic effect on the physical soil environment. Furthermore, there is a strong interaction between root growth and the spatial heterogeneity of soil and root-associated microbial communities.

Codesign of Food System and Circular Economy Approaches for the Development of Livestock Feeds from Insect Larvae. Jagtap S, Garcia-Garcia G, Duong L, Swainson M, Martindale W.Foods. 2021 Jul 22;10(8):1701.

  • Processes that utilize low-value wastes and convert them to high-value food ingredients systemically add value across commercial operations. Current common disposal options include use as animal feed, anaerobic digestion, composting, incineration, and the worst-case options of landfill and wastewater disposal. The pressure is acute with food manufacturers needing to align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and reach targets of zero waste to landfill.
  • This research identifies black soldier fly larvae as a bioreactor that converts most food waste into high-value feed materials. Production of larvae and the regulatory framework for their use as animal feed is being assessed in several nations.
  • The requirement to understand the availability of feedstocks for larvae production and the capability to establish feedstock supply chains was tested in this study using geographical information system and life cycle assessment methodologies, providing new research insights for resource utilization in a circular economy

Adaptation of Livestock to New Diets Using Feed Components without Competition with Human Edible Protein Sources-A Review of the Possibilities and Recommendations. Te Pas MFW, Veldkamp T, de Haas Y, Bannink A, Ellen ED. Animals (Basel). 2021 Aug 3;11(8):2293.

  • Livestock feed encompasses both human edible and human inedible components. Human edible feed components may become less available for livestock. Especially for proteins, this calls for action.
  • This review focuses on using alternative protein sources in feed and protein efficiency, the expected problems, and how these problems could be solved.
  • Breeding for higher protein efficiency leading to less use of the protein sources may be one strategy. Replacing (part of) the human edible feed components with human inedible components may be another strategy, which could be combined with breeding for livestock that can efficiently digest novel protein feed sources. The potential use of novel protein sources is discussed.
  • The researchers discuss the present knowledge on novel protein sources, including the consequences for animal performance and production costs, and make recommendations for the use and optimization of novel protein sources:
    1. To improve our knowledge on the inclusion of human inedible protein into the diet of livestock.
    2. Because cooperation between animal breeders and nutritionists is needed to share knowledge and combine expertise.
    3. To investigate the effect of animal-specific digestibility of protein sources for selective breeding for each protein source and for precision feeding. Nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics will be important tools.


Animal Health and Food Safety

Public Views of Dairy Calf Welfare and Dairy Consumption Habits of American Youth and Adults. Perttu RK, Ventura BA, Rendahl AK, Endres MI. Front Vet Sci. 2021 Aug 11;8:693173.

  • Today’s consumers expect animal products to be produced safely, efficiently, and with attention to the welfare of animals. It is therefore of increasing importance to the dairy sector to better comprehend how consumers and other members of the public perceive the welfare of its animals, including the dairy calf.
  • The primary objective of this study was to explore views of dairy calf welfare and dairy product consumption habits among youth and adults. The secondary objective was to explore views of dairy calf welfare and dairy product consumption habits among a subset of parent-child pairs.
  • Participants 5-17 years of age (n= 463) and 18 years old or greater (n = 1,310) completed an in-person survey at the Minnesota State Fair (St. Paul, MN, USA) in summer 2018. A subset of these data was comprised of parent-child pairs (n = 188).
  • Most participants (94%) indicated that they consumed dairy products, while 47% indicated that they consumed nondairy alternatives products.
  • In response to questions like “what dairy calves need to have a good life,” youth and adults most commonly focused on issues related to biological functioning (82 and 70% of youth and adults mentioning this concept, respectively), followed by natural living (44 and 50%, respectively), humane care (30 and 20%, respectively), and affective states (5% of both youth and adults).
  • The results suggest that biological functioning is highly valued by the public and views of parents and their children related to natural living in dairy calves are slightly associated.

Performance of roof-mounted misting fans to regulate heat stress in dairy cows. Almuhanna EA, Gamea GR, Osman OE, Almahdi FM. J Therm Biol. 2021 Jul;99:102984.

  • Heat stress can negatively affect cow’s physiology, behavior, and milk production.
  • This study evaluates the effectiveness of roof mounting misting fans to improve heat and humidity index which reduces heat stress in a cowshed.
  • Local climatic conditions were monitored and cooling system ability to control heat stress were assessed. Measurements were conducted at different cooling zones and levels comparing with shaded and open zones.
  • The temperature and humidity index measurements outside the cowshed THIoutshowed that animals exposed to high degrees of heat stress during most of the day. The average value of THIout was 87.49, whereas the average value of adjusted outside temperature and humidity index THIadj was greater than THIout by 10% when solar radiation was considered.
  • The maximum difference of hourly averages for temperature and humidity indices THIadjand THI occurred at noon when the intensity of solar radiation was highest. The average value for temperature and humidity index under misting fans THIfan was 82.27 whereas inside the cowshed under shade THIshade was 85.20.
  • The researchers concluded that the misting fans was able to reduce heat stress in a limited degree. Further improvement in terms of the cowshed design aspects and an increase of cooling efficiency is needed.

Early prediction of respiratory disease in preweaning dairy calves using feeding and activity behaviors. Bowen JM, Haskell MJ, Miller GA, Mason CS, Bell DJ, Duthie CA. J Dairy Sci. 2021 Aug 25:S0022-0302(21)00833-X.

  • Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) represents one of the major disease challenges affecting preweaning dairy-bred calves. Previous studies have shown that differences in feeding and activity behaviors exist between healthy and diseased calves affected by BRD.
  • The aim of this study was to develop and assess the accuracy of models designed to predict BRD from feeding and activity behaviors. Feeding and activity behaviors were recorded for 100 male preweaning calves between ~8 to 42 days of age. Calves were group housed with ad libitum access to milk via automatic milk feeders, water, starter diet, and straw.
  • Three models were created to predict disease:
    1. Deviation from normal lying time based on moving averages (MA);
    2. Random forest (RF), a machine learning technique based on feeding and activity variables;
    3. A combination of RF and MA output.
  • For the MA model, lying time was predicted based on behavior over previous days (3- and 7-day MA) and the expected value for the current day (based on calf age; measured using accelerometers).
  • Occasions when the actual lying time increased >9% of predicted lying time were classified as a deviation from normal and a disease alert was provided. Events were classified as 2 days before, the day(s) of the disease event, and 2 days after the event. If a positive disease prediction agreed with an actual disease event within a 3-day rolling window, it was classified as a true positive.
  • Stand-alone models (RF; MA) showed high specificity, moderate sensitivity, and balanced accuracy. Combining outputs increased accuracy. The work presented is the first to demonstrate the use of modeling data derived from precision livestock farming techniques that monitor feeding and activity behaviors for early detection of BRD in preweaning calves, offering a significant advance in health management of youngstock.

Effects of a multi-strain probiotic on growth, health and fecal bacterial flora of neonatal dairy calves. Guo Y, Li Z, Deng M, Li Y, Liu G, Liu D, Liu Q, Liu Q, Sun B. Anim Biosci. 2021 Aug 21.

  • Calf management is one of the most important task in dairy production, which requires a great deal of technology, equipment and experience. In intensive dairy farm, calves are extremely susceptible to suffering enteric bacteria imbalance or gastrointestinal infection, which can cause lower digestion and absorption of nutrients, delayed growth, even diarrhea and dehydration.
  • The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of dietary supplementation with a multi-strain probiotic (MSP) product containing of Bifidobacterium animalis, Lactobacillus casei, Streptococcus faecalis, and Bacillus cerevisiae on growth, health, and fecal bacterial composition of dairy calves during the first month of life.
  • Forty Holstein calves (24 female and 16 male) at 2 days of age were grouped by sex and date of birth then randomly assigned to 1 of 4 treatments: milk replacer supplementation with 0g (0MSP), 2 g (2MSP), 4 g (4MSP) and 6 g (6MSP) MSP per calf per day.
  • Supplementation of MSP did not result in any significant differences in parameters of body measurements of calves during the 30-day period. As the dosage of MSP increased, the average daily gain and total dry matter intake of calves showed a linear increase. The fecal consistency index (FCI) of the 2MSP, 4MSP and 6MSP group calves were lower than that of the 0MSP group calves (p = 0.003). As the dosage of MSP increased, the concentrations of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) in serum tended to decrease, whereas the concentration of total cholesterol increased quadratically.
  • The relative abundance of Dorea in feces was lower in the 2MSP, 4MSP and 6MSP group calves than that in the 0MSP group calves. The relative abundance of Dorea, Faecalibacterium, and Mitsuokella decreased linearly, whereas the relative abundance of Prevotella tended to increase linearly as the dosage of MSP increased.
  • In conclusion, the MSP product can be used to reduce the diarrhea, improve the performance, and alter the composition of the fecal bacteria in neonatal dairy calves under the commercial conditions.

Dairy farmer, hoof trimmer, and veterinarian perceptions of barriers and roles in lameness management. Wynands EM, Roche SM, Cramer G, Ventura BA. J Dairy Sci. 2021 Aug 25:S0022-0302(21)00843-2.

  • Lameness is a leading animal welfare concern in the dairy industry. Multiple stakeholders are involved in lameness management on a dairy farm, including farmers, hoof trimmers, and veterinarians.
  • This study sought to explore perceptions of lameness, perceptions of roles in lameness management, and barriers to improved lameness management in these groups. Fourteen homogeneous focus groups were held in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and New York from April 2017 to March 2020; 5 with farmers (n = 31), 4 with hoof trimmers (n = 32), and 5 with veterinarians (n = 25).
  • The 1-hour facilitated discussions were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and common themes identified through thematic analysis.
  • Lameness was perceived by participants as a complex health problem and one in which the connections between pathogenesis, facilities, and management were not always well understood or easy to change. The complexity of the problem encompassed the lack of agreement on a definition of lameness, normalization to its signs, and the interconnectedness of lameness with other health and management issues.
  • These issues appeared to contribute to resignation by participants that lameness was inevitable. Despite shared concerns about lameness among these groups, respondents reported a lack of communication, especially between hoof trimmers and veterinarians.
  • Participants also voiced a desire to work together more productively, with hoof trimmers and veterinarians valuing the ability to deliver a consistent message to farmers.
  • These findings suggest a need for increased efforts to facilitate collaboration between farmers, hoof trimmers, and veterinarians to improve lameness management on dairy farms.


Human Nutrition and Health

Cow’s milk fat and child adiposity: a prospective cohort study. Vanderhout SM, Keown-Stoneman CDG, Birken CS, O’Connor DL, Thorpe KE, Maguire JL. Int J Obes (Lond). 2021 Aug 25.

  • International guidelines recommend children aged 9 months to 2 years consume whole (3.25%) fat cow’s milk, and children older than age 2 years consume reduced (0.1-2%) fat cow’s milk to prevent obesity.
  • The objective of this study was to evaluate the longitudinal relationship between cow’s milk fat (0.1-3.25%) intake and body mass index z-score (zBMI) in childhood.
  • A prospective cohort study of children aged 9 months to 8 years was conducted through the TARGet Kids! primary care research network.
  • Among children aged 9 months to 8 years (N = 7467), each 1% increase in cow’s milk fat consumed was associated with a 0.05 lower zBMI score after adjustment for covariates including volume of milk consumed.
  • Compared to children who consumed reduced fat (0.1-2%) milk, there was evidence that children who consumed whole milk had 16% lower odds of overweight and 18% lower odds of obesity.
  • Guidelines for reduced fat instead of whole cow’s milk during childhood may not be effective in preventing overweight or obesity.

Milk and dairy consumption is positively associated with height in adolescents: results from the Israeli National Youth Health and Nutrition Survey. Dor C, Stark AH, Dichtiar R, Keinan-Boker L, Shimony T, Sinai T. Eur J Nutr. 2021 Aug 18.

  • Milk consumption is associated with increased height primarily in early childhood. However, in adolescents, data are scarce with inconsistent results.
  • Since height is a proxy for overall health and well-being, this study evaluated the association of dairy intake with height in adolescents.
  • Students in 7th-12th grades, participating in the 2015-2016 Israeli Health and Nutrition Youth Survey, a school-based cross-sectional study, completed self-administered questionnaires, including a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (n = 3529, 48% males, 15.2 ± 1.6 years).
  • Dairy servings were calculated as the calcium equivalent of 1 cup of milk, and consumption was divided into four categories from very low (< 1 serving/day) to high (3 + servings/day). BMI- and Height-for-age z scores (HAZs) were calculated according to WHO growth standard.
  • Median consumption of dairy products was 2 servings/day, 1.4 from unsweetened products (milk, cheese and yogurt). Controlling for age, sex, BMI-z-score and socioeconomic status, each increment of unsweetened dairy intake was associated with on average 0.04 higher HAZ (equivalent to 0.3-0.4 cm). No such associations were found with sweetened dairy products.
  • Consumption of unsweetened dairy products (3-4 servings/day) appears to contribute to achieving growth potential in adolescents. Intervention studies are necessary to determine the causal relationship between dairy intake and linear growth.

Prediagnostic Consumption of Vitamin D, Calcium and Dairy Products and Colorectal Cancer Survival: Results from the Newfoundland Familial Colorectal Cancer Cohort Study. Zhu Y, Zhao J, Vallis J, Shi F, Woodrow JR, Kong Y, Zhai G, Parfrey PS, Mclaughlin JR, Wang PP.Br J Nutr. 2021 Aug 26:1-28.

  • Vitamin D, calcium, and dairy products are negatively associated with colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence, but little is known of their influence on CRC survival.
  • To investigate prediagnostic intakes of vitamin D, calcium, and dairy products for their relevance to CRC prognosis, we analyzed 504 CRC patients enrolled in the Newfoundland Familial Colorectal Cancer Study who were diagnosed for the first time with CRC between 1999 and 2003. Followed-up for mortality and cancer recurrence was through April 2010.
  • The researchers found that prediagnostic calcium intake from foods, but not total calcium intake, was negatively associated with all-cause mortality. An inverse relationship was also seen in a dose-response fashion for prediagnostic cheese intake. No evidence for modification by sex, physical activity, alcohol drinking, and cigarette smoking was observed.
  • In summary, high prediagnostic intakes of cheese and calcium from foods may be associated with increased survival among CRC patients.

Relationship Between Dairy Products Intake and Risk of Endometriosis: A Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis. Qi X, Zhang W, Ge M, Sun Q, Peng L, Cheng W, Li X.Front Nutr. 2021;8:701860.

  • Diet lifestyle can influence the risk of endometriosis.
  • Researchers conducted a systematic meta-analysis to investigate the association between dairy products and the risk of endometriosis, and they also performed a dose-response meta-analysis to evaluate the amount of dairy intake affecting the risk of endometriosis.
  • Relevant studies were searched from Pubmed, Embase databases, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science from the inception to November 6th, 2020. Also, the dose-response meta-analysis was conducted. All the pooled results were performed by risk ratios (RRs). Seven high-quality studies were included in the present meta-analysis.
  • Total dairy intake was inversely associated with the risk of endometriosis, and the risk of endometriosis tended to decrease with a 13% decrease in the risk of endometriosis when dairy products intake was over 21 servings/week. Similarly, people who consumed more than 18 servings of high-fat dairy products per week had a 14% reduced risk of endometriosis.
  • Overall, dairy products intake was associated with a reduction in endometriosis, with significant effects when the average daily intake ≥3 servings. When analyzed according to the specific type of dairy product, it was shown that females with higher high-fat dairy and cheese intake might have a reduced risk of endometriosis. However, high butter intake might be associated to the increased risk of endometriosis.

Gut Microbiome Diversity and Composition Are Associated with Habitual Dairy Intakes: A Cross-Sectional Study in Men. Aslam H, Collier F, Davis JA, Quinn TP, O’Hely M, Pasco JA, Jacka FN, Loughman A. J Nutr. 2021 Aug 12:nxab252.

  • At a population level, the relation between dairy consumption and gut microbiome composition is poorly understood.
  • Researchers sought to study the cross-sectional associations between individual dairy foods (i.e., milk, yogurt, and cheese), as well as total dairy intake, and the gut microbiome composition in a large, representative sample of men living in south-eastern Australia.
  • Data on 474 men (between the ages of 50 and 75 years) from the Geelong Osteoporosis Study were used to assess the cross-sectional association between dairy consumption and gut microbiome. Information on dairy intake was self-reported. Men were categorized as consumers and nonconsumers of milk, yogurt, cheese, and high- and low-fat milk.
  • The results showed that α diversity was not associated with consumption of any of the dairy groups. Differences in β diversity were observed between milk and yogurt consumption compared with nonconsumption. Taxa belonging to the genera Ruminococcaceae UCG-010 and Bifidobacterium showed negative and weak positive associations with milk consumption, respectively.
  • A taxon from the genus Streptococcus was positively associated with yogurt consumption, whereas a taxon from the genus Eisenbergiella was negatively associated with cheese consumption. No specific taxa were associated with low- compared with high-fat milk nor low compared with high total dairy consumption.
  • In conclusion, in men, community-level microbiome differences were observed between consumers and nonconsumers of milk and yogurt. Bacterial taxon-level associations were detected with milk, yogurt, and cheese consumption. Total dairy consumption was not associated with any microbiome measures, suggesting that individual dairy foods may have differential roles in shaping the gut microbiome in men.

Dairy Processing Affects the Gut Digestion and Microecology by Changing the Structure and Composition of Milk Fat Globules. Zhou X, Hadiatullah H, Guo T, Yao Y, Li C, Wang X.J Agric Food Chem. 2021 Aug 26.

  • Milk fat globules (MFGs) are the major source of energy for infants’ dietary intake.
  • In this study, the effects of changes in the structure and composition of MFG after dairy processing on lipolysis and immune regulation were investigated.
  • Pasteurized MFG tends to form protein aggregates to prevent lipolysis. However, the aggregate is rich in neutrophil degranulation products, which are effective in killing pathogens. Homogenized MFG has the lowest hydrolysis rate due to the reconstituted anti-lipase barrier and exposed apolipoprotein. Simultaneously, the reconstituted barrier can compensate for the lack of the complement cascade.
  • Spray-dried MFG had the highest hydrolysis rate attributable to the disrupted MFG barrier and the release of lipoprotein lipase and endothelial lipase. The immunomodulatory properties of spray-dried MFG proteins are mainly mediated by the toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling pathway.
  • This research provides the improvement basis of dairy processing and functional infant formulas.

An Overview on Nutritional Aspects of Plant-Based Beverages Used as Substitutes for Cow’s Milk. Fructuoso I, Romão B, Han H, Raposo A, Ariza-Montes A, Araya-Castillo L, Zandonadi RP.Nutrients. 2021 Jul 30;13(8):2650.

  • The presence of milk in meals and products consumed daily is common and at the same time the adoption of a milk-free diet increases due to milk allergy, lactose intolerance, vegan diets, and others. Therefore, there is an increasing demand for plant-based beverages, which present variable and, sometimes, unknown nutritional characteristics.
  • This study sought to compare the nutritional aspects of plant-based beverages used as substitutes for cow’s milk described in scientific studies.
  • Therefore, we used a review of the scientific literature on PubMed, Google Scholar, Scopus, Web of Science, Google Patents, Embase, and ScienceDirect databases. The inclusion criteria were scientific studies referring to plant-based beverage used as an alternative to cow’s milk; published in the English language; present data on the serving size, ingredients, and nutritional composition, containing at least data on energy and macronutrients of plant-based beverages. Ingredients and data on energy, macronutrients, and, if available, dietary fiber and some micronutrients of plant-based beverages were collected.
  • Data were obtained from 122 beverages of 22 different matrices, with soy being the most used (27.87%, n= 34). The variation in the amount of nutrients found was:
    • 6-183 Kcal/100 mL for energy value;
    • 00-22.29 g/100 mL for carbohydrate;
    • 06-12.43 g/100 mL for protein;
    • 00-19.00 g/100 mL for lipid;
    • 00-4.40 g/100 mL for dietary fiber;
    • 00-1252.94 mg/100 mL for calcium;
    • 04-1.40 mg/100 mL for iron;
    • 84-10,178.60 mg/100 mL for magnesium;
    • 00-343.43 mg/100 mL for sodium.
  • Salt was the most commonly found added ingredient in plant-based beverages. Some beverages have reached certain amounts of cow’s milk nutrients. However, studies have pointed out differences in their qualities/types. Thus, attention is needed when replacing milk with these alternatives.

Unintended Consequences: Nutritional Impact and Potential Pitfalls of Switching from Animal- to Plant-Based Foods. Tso R, Forde CG. Nutrients. 2021 Jul 23;13(8):2527. 

  • Consumers are shifting towards plant-based diets, driven by both environmental and health reasons. This has led to the development of new plant-based meat alternatives (PBMAs) that are marketed as being sustainable and good for health. However, it remains unclear whether these novel PBMAs to replace animal foods carry the same established nutritional benefits as traditional plant-based diets based on pulses, legumes and vegetables.
  • Researchers modelled a reference omnivore diet using NHANES 2017-2018 data and compared it to diets that substituted animal products in the reference diet with either traditional or novel plant-based foods to create flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan diets matched for calories and macronutrients.
  • With the exception of the traditional vegan diet, all diets with traditional plant-based substitutes met daily requirements for calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron and Vitamin B12 and were lower in saturated fat, sodium and sugar than the reference diet.
  • Diets based on novel plant-based substitutes were below daily requirements for calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc and Vitamin B12 and exceeded the reference diet for saturated fat, sodium and sugar. Much of the recent focus has been on protein quality and quantity, but our case study highlights the risk of unintentionally increasing undesirable nutrients while reducing the overall nutrient density of the diet when less healthy plant-based substitutes are selected.
  • Opportunities exist for PBMA producers to enhance the nutrient profile and diversify the format of future plant-based foods that are marketed as healthy, sustainable alternatives to animal-based products.


Innovation, Economics, and Dairy Alternatives

Precision Technologies to Address Dairy Cattle Welfare: Focus on Lameness, Mastitis and Body Condition. Silva SR, Araujo JP, Guedes C, Silva F, Almeida M, Cerqueira JL. Animals (Basel). 2021 Jul 30;11(8):2253.

  • Specific animal-based indicators that can be used to predict animal welfare have been the core of protocols for assessing the welfare of farm animals, such as those produced by the Welfare Quality project. At the same time, the contribution of technological tools for the accurate and real-time assessment of farm animal welfare is also evident.
  • The solutions based on technological tools fit into the precision livestock farming (PLF) concept, which has improved productivity, economic sustainability, and animal welfare in dairy farms. PLF has been adopted recently; nevertheless, the need for technological support on farms is getting more and more attention and has translated into significant scientific contributions in various fields of the dairy industry, but with an emphasis on the health and welfare of the cows.
  • This review aims to present the recent advances of PLF in dairy cow welfare, particularly in the assessment of lameness, mastitis, and body condition, which are among the most relevant animal-based indications for the welfare of cows. Finally, a discussion is presented on the possibility of integrating the information obtained by PLF into a welfare assessment framework.

Nano-Enable Materials Promoting Sustainability and Resilience in Modern Agriculture. Ur Rahim H, Qaswar M, Uddin M, Giannini C, Herrera ML, Rea G.Nanomaterials (Basel). 2021 Aug 15;11(8):2068.

  • Intensive conventional agriculture and climate change have induced severe ecological damages and threatened global food security, claiming a reorientation of agricultural management and public policies towards a more sustainable development model. In this context, nanomaterials promise to support this transition by promoting mitigation, enhancing productivity, and reducing contamination.
  • This review gathers recent research innovations on smart nanoformulations and delivery systems improving crop protection and plant nutrition, nanoremediation strategies for contaminated soils, nanosensors for plant health and food quality and safety monitoring, and nanomaterials as smart food-packaging. It also highlights the impact of engineered nanomaterials on soil microbial communities, and potential environmental risks, along with future research directions.
  • Although large-scale production and in-field testing of nano-agrochemicals are still ongoing, the collected information indicates improvements in uptake, use efficiency, targeted delivery of the active ingredients, and reduction of leaching and pollution. Nanoremediation seems to have a low negative impact on microbial communities while promoting biodiversity.
  • Nanosensors enable high-resolution crop monitoring and sustainable management of the resources, while nano-packaging confers catalytic, antimicrobial, and barrier properties, preserving food safety and preventing food waste. Though, the application of nanomaterials to the agri-food sector requires a specific risk assessment supporting proper regulations and public acceptance.

How can we pay for it all? Understanding the global challenge of financing climate change and sustainable development solutions.
 Park J.J Environ Stud Sci. 2021 Aug 21:1-9.

  • Despite the heightened attention to climate change and sustainable development initiatives by governments, civil society groups, and private companies in the USA and worldwide, the international community is confronted with a question that has existed since the 1992 Earth Summit: how can we pay for it all?
  • To better understand this climate change and sustainable development goals (SDGs) funding dilemma, there needs to be greater clarity around four climate change investment and finance-related questions that are frequently absent or inadequately addressed in the academic and policy literature.
    • Firstly, what are or should be the boundaries of climate change investment and finance when the problem of climate change becomes impossible to separate from biodiversity, land use management, and other dilemmas related to the broader SDGs?
    • Secondly, how we should define and what constitutes “adequate” financial resources to address the climate change and SDGs dilemmas on the global level?
    • Thirdly, why is it important to close the gap between climate change adaptation and mitigation funding levels?
    • Finally, what role should the private sector and business actors play in terms of climate change investment and finance issues?
  • In addition to achieving greater clarity around these four issue areas, the author argues in this article that three questions are likely to shape the future success (or failure) of the global climate change investment and finance architecture.
    • One, what is likely path of the United Nations as a global climate change/sustainability governance institution?
    • Two, will the emerging Green New Deal model in the USA and in other countries actually materialize?
    • Three, what is the future outlook for “market-fixing” sustainability-driven enterprises?

The Impact of Environmental Sustainability Labels on Willingness-to-Pay for Foods: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Discrete Choice Experiments. Bastounis A, Buckell J, Hartmann-Boyce J, Cook B, King S, Potter C, Bianchi F, Rayner M, Jebb SA.Nutrients. 2021;13(8):2677.

  • Food production is a major contributor to environmental damage. More environmentally sustainable foods could incur higher costs for consumers.
  • In this review, we explore whether consumers are willing to pay more for foods with environmental sustainability labels (‘ecolabels’).
  • Six electronic databases were searched for experiments on consumers’ willingness to pay for ecolabelled food. Monetary values were converted to Purchasing Power Parity dollars and adjusted for country-specific inflation. Studies were meta-analysed and effect sizes with confidence intervals were calculated for the whole sample and for pre-specified subgroups defined as meat-dairy, seafood, and fruits-vegetables-nuts.
  • Forty-three discrete choice experiments (DCEs) with 41,777 participants were eligible for inclusion. Thirty-five DCEs (n = 35,725) had usable data for the meta-analysis.
  • The results showed that participants were willing to pay a premium of 3.79 PPP$/kg for ecolabelled foods. The willingness to pay was higher for organic labels compared to other labels. Women and people with lower levels of education expressed higher willingness to pay more.
  • Ecolabels may increase consumers’ willingness to pay more for environmentally sustainable products and could be part of a strategy to encourage a transition to more sustainable diets.

Plant Proteins for Future Foods: A Roadmap. Sim SYJ, Srv A, Chiang JH, Henry CJ.Foods. 2021 Aug 23;10(8):1967.

  • Protein calories consumed by people all over the world approximate 15-20% of their energy intake. This makes protein a major nutritional imperative. Today, we are facing an unprecedented challenge to produce and distribute adequate protein to feed over nine billion people by 2050, in an environmentally sustainable and affordable way.
  • Plant-based proteins present a promising solution to our nutritional needs due to their long history of crop use and cultivation, lower cost of production, and easy access in many parts of the world. However, plant proteins have comparatively poor functionality, defined as poor solubility, foaming, emulsifying, and gelling properties, limiting their use in food products.
  • Relative to animal proteins, including dairy products, plant protein technology is still in its infancy. To bridge this gap, advances in plant protein ingredient development and the knowledge to construct plant-based foods are sorely needed.
  • This review focuses on some salient features in the science and technology of plant proteins, providing the current state of the art and highlighting new research directions. It focuses on how manipulating plant protein structures during protein extraction, fractionation, and modification can considerably enhance protein functionality.
  • To create novel plant-based foods, important considerations such as protein-polysaccharide interactions, the inclusion of plant protein-generated flavors, and some novel techniques to structure plant proteins are discussed. Finally, the attention to nutrition as a compass to navigate the plant protein roadmap is also considered.