The Dairy Research Bulletin delivers a brief synopsis of the most current Human, Animal, and Environmental dairy research that is going on in the World, and also that which is of special interest to California dairy producers and consumers alike.

If you would like to peruse the most pertinent dairy research from months past, then visit the Dairy Research Bulletin Archive.

Environmental Management and Sustainability

Bioenergy from dairy manure: technologies, challenges and opportunities. Zhu QL, Wu B, Pisutpaisal N, Wang YW, Ma KD, Dai LC, Qin H, Tan FR, Maeda T, Xu YS, Hu GQ, He MX. Sci Total Environ. 2021 Jun 1;790:148199.

  • Dairy manure is a kind of cheap cellulosic biomass resource which includes lignocellulose and mineral nutrients. Random stacks not only leads to damage to the environment, but also results in waste of natural resources. The traditional ways to use dairy manure include returning it to the soil or acting as a fertilizer, which could reduce environmental pollution to some extent. However, the resource utilization rate is not high and socio-economic performance is not utilized.
  • This article presents a comprehensive review of different types of bioenergy production from dairy manure and provided a general overview for bioenergy production. Importantly, this paper discussed potentials of dairy manure as candidate feedstocks not only for biogas, bioethanol, biohydrogen, microbial fuel cell, lactic acid, and fumaric acid production by microbial technology, but also for bio-oil and biochar production through apyrolysis process. Additionally, the use of manure for replacing freshwater or nutrients for algae cultivation and cellulase production were also discussed.
  • Overall, dairy manure could be a novel suitable material for future biorefinery. Importantly, considerable efforts and further extensive research on overcoming technical bottlenecks like pretreatment, the effective release of fermentable sugars, the absence of robust organisms for fermentation, energy balance, and life cycle assessment should be needed to develop a comprehensive biorefinery model.

Environmental impacts of animal-based food supply chains with market characteristics. Chen W, Jafarzadeh S, Thakur M, Ólafsdóttir G, Mehta S, Bogason S, Holden NM.Sci Total Environ. 2021;20;783:147077.

  • Animal-based food supply chains lead to significant environmental impacts, which can be influenced by production systems, distribution networks and consumption patterns.
  • To develop strategy aimed at reducing the environmental impact of animal-based food supply chains, the common environmental hotspots among different types of food, the role of transport logistics and the consequence of end market need to be better understood.
  • Life cycle assessment was adopted to model three types of animal-based food chains (beef, butter and salmon), with specific technologies, high spatial-resolution logistics and typical consumption patterns for three markets: local, regional (intra-European) and international.
  • The results confirmed that the farm production stage usually had the greatest environmental impact, except when air transport was used for distribution. Potentially, the role of end market also can significantly influence the environmental impacts.
  • To understand more, three improvement options were examined in detail with regard to hotspots for climate change:
    • Novel feed ingredients (farm production stage)
    • Sustainable aviation fuel (transport and logistics stage)
    • Reduction of wasted food (consumption and end of life stage)
  • Minimizing food waste drove the greatest reduction in the beef supply chain (23%) and the international butter supply chain can reduce 50% of GHG mission by adopting sustainable aviation fuel.
  • Combined interventions could reduce GHG emission of animal-based food supply chains by 15% to 82%, depending on market, transport and food waste behavior. The results show that eco-efficiency information of animal-based foods should include the full supply chain.
  • The effective mitigation strategy to achieve the greatest reduction should not only consider the impacts on-farm, but also detail of the downstream impacts, such as food distribution network and consumption patterns.

Crops for Carbon Farming. Jansson C, Faiola C, Wingler A, Zhu XG, Kravchenko A, de Graaff MA, Ogden AJ, Handakumbura PP, Werner C, Beckles DM. Front Plant Sci. 2021 Jun 4;12:636709.

  • Agricultural cropping systems and pasture comprise one third of the world’s arable land and have the potential to draw down a considerable amount of atmospheric CO2for storage as soil organic carbon and improving the soil carbon budget.
  • An improved soil carbon budget serves the dual purpose of promoting soil health, which supports crop productivity, and constituting a pool from which carbon can be converted to recalcitrant forms for long-term storage as a mitigation measure for global warming. In this perspective, we propose the design of crop ideotypes with the dual functionality of being highly productive for the purposes of food, feed, and fuel, while at the same time being able to facilitate higher contribution to soil carbon and improve the below ground ecology.
  • The authors of this article advocate a holistic approach of the integrated plant-microbe-soil system and suggest that significant improvements in soil carbon storage can be achieved by a three-pronged approach:
  1. Designing plants with an increased root strength to further allocation of carbon below ground.
  2. Balancing the increase in below ground carbon allocation with increased source strength for enhanced photosynthesis and biomass accumulation.
  3. Designing soil microbial consortia for increased rhizosphere sink strength and plant growth-promoting properties.

Defining national biogenic methane targets: Implications for national food production & climate neutrality objectives. Prudhomme R, O’Donoghue C, Ryan M, Styles D.J Environ Manage. 2021 Jun 23;295:113058.

  • Methane is a short-lived greenhouse gas (GHG) modelled distinctly from long-lived GHGs such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide to establish global emission budgets for climate stabilization. The Paris Agreement requires a 24-47% reduction in global biogenic methane emissions by 2050.
  • Separate treatment of methane in national climate policies will necessitate consideration of how global emission budgets compatible with climate stabilization can be downscaled to national targets, but implications of different downscaling rules for national food production and climate neutrality objectives are poorly understood.
  • This study addresses that knowledge gap by examining four methods to determine national methane quotas, and two methods of GHG aggregation (GWP100and GWP*) across four countries with contrasting agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) sectors and socio-economic contexts (Brazil, France, India and Ireland). Implications for production of methane-intensive food (milk, meat, eggs and rice) in 2050 and national AFOLU climate neutrality targets are explored.
  • Global methane budgets for 1.5 °C scenarios are downscaled to national quotas based on:
    • grand-parenting (equal percentage reductions across countries);
    • equity (equal per capita emissions);
    • ability (emission reductions proportionate to GDP);
    • animal protein security (emissions proportionate to animal protein production in 2010).
  • The choice of allocation method changes national methane quotas by a factor of between 1.7 (India) and 6.7 (Ireland). Despite projected reductions in emission-intensities, livestock production would need to decrease across all countries except India to comply with quotas under all but the most optimistic sustainable intensification scenarios.
  • The extent of potential afforestation on land spared from livestock production is decisive in achieving climate neutrality. Brazil and Ireland could maintain some degree of milk and beef export whilst achieving territorial climate neutrality, but scenarios that comply with climate neutrality in India produce only circa 30% of national calorie and protein requirements via rice and livestock.
  • The downscaling of global methane budgets into national policy targets in an equitable and internationally acceptable manner will require simultaneous consideration of the interconnected priorities of food security and (land banks available for) carbon offsetting.

Does fresh farmyard manure introduce surviving microbes into soil or activate soil-borne microbiota? Semenov MV, Krasnov GS, Semenov VM, Ksenofontova N, Zinyakova NB, van Bruggen AHC. J Environ Manage. 2021 Jun 16;294:113018.

  • Manure inputs into soil strongly affect soil microbial communities leading to shifts in microbial diversity and activity. It is still not clear whether these effects are caused mainly by the survival of microbes introduced with manure or by activation of the soil-borne microbiome.
  • Here, researchers investigated how the soil microbiome was changed after the introduction of fresh farmyard cattle manure, and which microorganisms originating from manure survived in soil.
  • Manure addition led to a strong increase in soil microbial biomass, gene copies abundances, respiration activity, and diversity. High-throughput sequencing analysis showed that higher microbial diversity in manured soil was caused mainly by activation of 113 soil-borne microbial genera which were mostly minor taxa in not-fertilized soil.
  • Two weeks after manure input, 78% of the manure-associated genera were not detected anymore. Only 15 of 237 prokaryotic genera that originated from manure survived for 144 days in soil, and only 8 of them (primarily representatives of Clostridia class) were found in manured soil after winter.
  • Thus, an increase in microbial biomass and diversity after manure input is caused mainly by activation of soil-borne microbial communities, while most exogenous microbes from manure do not survive in soil conditions after few months.

Phosphorus feeding practices, barriers to and motivators for minimizing phosphorus feeding to dairy cows in diverse dairy farming systems. Harrison BP, Dorigo M, Reynolds CK, Sinclair LA, Ray PP. Animal. 2021 Jun 3;15(7):100248.

  • Minimizing phosphorus (P) feeding to dairy cows can reduce feed costs and minimize water pollution without impairing animal performance.
  • This study aimed to determine current P feeding practices and identify the barriers to and motivators for minimizing P feeding on dairy farms, using Great Britain (GB) dairy farming as an example of diverse systems.
  • Farmers (n = 139) and feed advisers (n = 31) were involved simultaneously in independent questionnaire surveys on P feeding in dairy farms. Data on the herd size, milk yield and concentrate fed were analyzed to investigate the effect of farm classification, region, and feed professional advice.
  • Most farmers (72%) did not know the P concentration in their lactating cow’s diet and did not commonly adopt precision P feeding practices, indicating that cows might have been offered dietary P in excess of recommended P requirement.
  • Farmers’ tendency to feed P in excess of recommendations increased with herd size, but so did their awareness of P pollution issues and likeliness of testing manure P. However, 68% of farmers did not analyze manure P, indicating that mineral P fertilizer application rates were not adjusted accordingly, highlighting the risk of P being applied beyond crops’ requirement.
  • Almost all farmers (96%) were willing to lower dietary P concentration but the uncertainty of P availability in feed ingredients (30%) and concerns over reduced cow fertility (22%) were primary barriers.
  • The willingness to reduce dietary P concentrations was driven by the prospect of reducing environmental damage (28%) and feed costs (27%) and advice from their feed professionals (25%). Most farmers (70%) relied on a feed professional, and these farmers had a higher tendency to analyze their forage P. However, farmers of pasture-based systems relied less on feed professionals.
  • Both farmers (73%) and feed advisers (68%) were unsatisfied with the amount of training on P management available. Therefore, the training on P management needs to be more available and the influence that feed professionals have over P feeding should be better utilized.

Animal Health and Food Safety

Epidemiology of Brucellosis in California, 1993 – 2017: A Continuing Foodborne Disease Risk for Older Latinos. Fritz CL, Nguyen A, Vugia DJ. Clin Infect Dis. 2021 Jun 16:ciab551.

  • Brucellosis is a severe, occupational or foodborne zoonosis throughout much of the world. Although eradicated from domestic cattle in the United States, brucellosis remains a disease risk to people through acquisition and consumption of animal products from endemic countries.
  • The objective of this study was to better understand the epidemiology of brucellosis outbreaks in California over a 24-year period.
  • From 1993 to 2017, 492 cases of brucellosis were reported in residents of California. Persons aged ≥65 years represented less than 20% of cases, but incidence in this age group was more than twice the incidence in persons aged ≤19 years. Incidence was 10 to 20 times greater among Latinos compared to non-Latinos across all age groups and both sexes.
  • Brucella melitensis was identified in 80% of patients for whom cultured Brucella were identified. Of 187 case-patients who reported consuming specifically unpasteurized dairy products, over 90% reported acquiring these products from outside the United States, most commonly from Mexico.
  • In the latter half of the study period (2006-2017), 73% of Latino case-patients who reported consuming dairy products mentioned specifically consuming Mexican-style soft cheese (“queso fresco”).
  • This study underscores the continuing serious health threat of brucellosis for Latinos in California, particularly older men, and the need for targeted public health messaging on preventing the risk presented by importation and consumption of unpasteurized dairy products from outside the United States, principally Mexico.

Effects of rumen-protected choline supplementation in Holstein dairy cows during electric heat blanket-induced heat stress. Holdorf HT, White HM. J Dairy Sci. 2021 Jun 11:S0022-0302(21)00663-9. 

  • Dairy cows experiencing heat stress attempt to thermoregulate through multiple mechanisms, such as reducing feed intake and milk production and altering blood flow to increase heat dissipation. Effects of choline on energy metabolism and immune function may yield it a viable nutritional intervention to mitigate negative effects of heat stress.
  • The primary objective of this experiment was to determine if supplementation of rumen-protected choline during, or before and during, an increased heat load would ameliorate the negative effects of heat stress on production and immune status.
  • Heat stress was induced via an electric heat blanket model with a 3-day baseline period and 7-day heat stress period for all cows. Multiparous mid-lactation Holstein cows were fed the same basal herd diet, blocked by pre-experiment milk yield, and randomly assigned to receive one of the following:
    • No rumen-protected choline (n = 7);
    • Rumen-protected choline (60 g/d) via top-dress during the heat stress period (n = 8);
    • Rumen-protected choline (60 g/d) via top-dress during the baseline and heat stress periods (n = 8).
  • Imposing heat stress via electric heat blanket raised respiration rate with all cows surpassing the heat stress threshold of 60 breaths/min. The increase in respiration rate tended to be ameliorated with either schedule of rumen-protected choline supplementation.
  • Milk yield tended to increase when rumen-protected choline was supplemented in both the baseline period and during heat stress. Supplementation of rumen-protected choline tended to reduce blood fatty acid and triglyceride and tended to increase the revised quantitative insulin sensitivity check index.
  • The role of rumen-protected choline supplementation to partially ameliorate the effects of heat stress should be further explored as a potential nutritional strategy to mitigate the negative consequences of heat stress on health and production.

Chronic heat stress delays immune system development and alters serotonin signaling in pre-weaned dairy calves. Marrero MG, Dado-Senn B, Field SL, Yang G, Driver JP, Laporta J. PLoS One. 2021 Jun 4;16(6):e0252474.

  • Exposure to heat stress can alter the development and immune system function in dairy calves. Serotonin is an immunomodulatory biogenic amine that functions as a neurotransmitter and as a stress-response mediator.
  • The study objectives were to characterize the patterns of serum serotonin concentrations and the pattern of serotonin-related genes expressed by immune cells of calves exposed to chronic heat stress or heat stress abatement during early life, and to explore whether these might relate to immune system development.
  • Dairy calves were exposed to chronic heat stress (HS; n = 6) or heat stress abatement (cooling, CL; n = 6) across the prenatal and postnatal developmental windows. Weekly blood samples were collected to harvest serum to isolate of circulating leukocyte mRNA and characterize immune cell populations.
  • Calves exposed to chronic heat stress pre- and postnatally had lower red blood cell counts and lower circulating serotonin, immunoglobulin G, and B-lymphocytes compared to cooled calves.
  • Circulating blood leukocyte mRNA expression of serotonin receptors -1A, -1F, -4 and -5 was greater, while heat shock protein 70 and immune-related genes (i.e., TBX21, TLR4, and TGFβ) were lower in heat stress relative to cooled calves. However, the heat stressed calves produced more serotonin and less interleukin-6 than cooled calves when activated in-vitro.
  • Together, the data suggest that providing heat stress abatement to dairy calves across prenatal and postnatal developmental windows might modulate the serotonin synthesis pathway in ways that may benefit humoral immunity against microbial pathogens.

Distribution of antimicrobial resistance across the overall environment of dairy farms – A case study. Guo X, Akram S, Stedtfeld R, Johnson M, Chabrelie A, Yin D, Mitchell J. Sci Total Environ. 2021 Sep 20;788:147489.

  • The environmental implications of antimicrobial resistance arising from food animal farm practice are still a knowledge gap.
  • This study investigates the fate and transport of antimicrobial resistance genes related to the use of antibiotics on a dairy farm in Michigan.
  • Manure, soil, animal feed, animal drinking water, surface and groundwater samples were taken and the abundance of antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) and mobile genetic elements (MGEs) were subsequently measured targeting 136 genes.
  • The total abundance and detected numbers of ARGs were found to be highest in the stagnant lagoon. Up to 44 ARG subtypes with high abundance were found in drinking water in pen which was very close to those in manure compost.
  • The ARGs pattern clustered by soil depth although they were treated by different manure. ARGs and MGEs were detected in surface and groundwater surrounded by dairy farmlands.
  • Overall, the results of the study suggest high prevalence of ARGs both inside and outside the animal raising area and their potential contribution to environmental ARGs.

Variation of immunoglobulins G, A, and M and bovine serum albumin concentration in Holstein cow colostrum. Costa A, Goi A, Penasa M, Nardino G, Posenato L, De Marchi M. Animal. 2021 Jun 21;15(7):100299.

  • Immunoglobulins G (IgG), A (IgA), and M (IgM) represent 70-80% of total proteins in cattle colostrum and are essential for the passive transfer of antibodies from the dam to the calf. Considering the practical difficulties of colostrum sample collection and the high cost of analysis, non-genetic sources of variation of the three immunoglobulins fractions have been scarcely studied together on a large scale in dairy cows.
  • In the present study, IgG, IgA, IgM, and bovine serum albumin (BSA) were determined in colostrum samples of Holstein cows; an data was collected on parity, herd, and calving season, and interactions. Only the first colostrum was considered in the present study, as the calf was separated from the dam immediately after birth and was not allowed to suckle.
  • The average of IgG (n = 676), IgA (n = 573), IgM (n = 658), total immunoglobulins (n = 525), and BSA (n = 614) was 91.31, 4.20, 105.99, 5.05, and 2.47 g/L, respectively, and all traits positively correlated to each other.
  • Overall, the immunoglobulins were less concentrated in colostrum of first- and second-parity cows than later-parity cows. These findings suggest that colostrum quality, based on Ig, is overall greater in cows that experienced more than two lactations, likely due to a greater experience of the immune system and to a wider immune heritage compared to younger cows.
  • As regards the effect of calving season, the concentration of all Ig tended to be generally greater in colostrum sampled from August to November. Moreover, there were differences in IgG, IgA, and IgM concentration among the nine herds involved.
  • Future studies will investigate the relationships of these traits with yield, and gross and detailed composition of bovine colostrum and will consider their genetic background to evaluate potential selection strategies to improve colostrum quality.

Intensive human contact correlates with smaller brains: differential brain size reduction in cattle types. Balcarcel AM, Veitschegger K, Clauss M, Sánchez-Villagra MR. Proc Biol Sci. 2021 Jun 9;288(1952):20210813.

  • Cattle are one of the most intensively bred domestic animals, providing humans with a multitude of products and uses.
  • Using data from the fossil record, researchers tested if their domestication, as for other taxa, has resulted in a reduction of their brain size.
  • The researchers not only conclude that Bos taurus(domestic cattle) have smaller brains than their wild ancestor, Bos primigenius (aurochs), but that brain size varies significantly by breed, with some having much smaller brains than others. Differences in husbandry practices between several breed categories align with a range of human engagement, which also aligns with the degree of selection for docility.
  • Sampling 317 domestics from 71 breeds, the researchers investigate if differences in brain size correlate with the intensity of human contact. A clear pattern emerges whereby a brain reduction gradient parallels a gradient in behavioral selection. Bullfighting cattle, which are bred for fighting and aggressive temperament, have much larger brains than dairy breeds, which are intensively selected for docility.
  • These results add to a fundamental aspect of animal domestication theory: the interplay between basic features of the domestic environment-selection for docility, absence of predators and human provision of resources-seems to explain differences in brain size.

Human Nutrition and Health

Milk, yogurt and cheese intake is positively associated with cognitive executive functions in older adults of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. Tessier AJ, Presse N, Rahme E, Ferland G, Bherer L, Chevalier S. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2021 Jun 11:glab165.

  • Dairy products provide essential nutrients such as calcium, vitamins B12 and D, and include bioactive peptides and fermented products, which may be beneficial for cognition, especially in older adults. Yet, few studies of large contemporary cohorts have investigated this relationship using sensitive domain-specific cognitive tests.
  • The objective of this study was examine cross-sectional associations between total and specific dairy product intake and performance in three cognitive domains (executive functions, memory, psychomotor speed) in community-dwelling older adults of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (2011-2015).
  • Cheese, milk, yogurt, regular-fat, low-fat and fermented dairy product intake frequencies were estimated using a food frequency questionnaire; participants were classified into quartiles.
  • In 7,945 participants (65-86 years old, 49% women, 97% Caucasian), the mean dairy product intake was 1.9 times/day. Total dairy product, cheese and low-fat dairy product intake were positively associated with the executive function domain and yogurt intake with the memory domain, independently of important covariates including age, gender, education and diet quality.
  • Intakes of total dairy product, cheese and low-fat dairy were associated with verbal fluency specifically. Participants with a dairy product intake > 2.5 times/day had a higher score compared to those consuming less. No associations were found with psychomotor speed.
  • This large cohort study suggests a specific role for dairy components in executive function phonemic verbal fluency and memory. Dairy product intake, a modifiable factor, may be targeted in cognitive health-promoting interventions.

The association between diet and mental health and wellbeing in young adults within a biopsychosocial framework. Rossa-Roccor V, Richardson CG, Murphy RA, Gadermann AM. PLoS One. 2021 Jun 3;16(6):e0252358.

  • Predominantly plant-based diets can co-benefit human physical health and the planet. Young adults appear to be on the forefront of the shift to plant-based diets. However, little is known about the relationship between plant-based diets and mental health in this population even though mental health disorders contribute substantially to the global burden of disease, particularly among this age group.
  • In this cross-sectional study researchers utilized a biopsychosocial framework to assess the association between dietary intake and mental health and wellbeing in 339 university undergraduate students. Mental health was assessed using self-reported measures of anxiety (GAD-7), depression (PHQ-9) and quality of life (single-item).
  • A principal component analysis of dietary intake found three dominant dietary patterns (plant-based, animal-based, and ‘junk foods’); 28.1% (n = 95) of participants self-identified as pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan, other.
  • After controlling for covariables, the researchers found a significant positive association between the junk food component and depression and anxiety while no association was found between plant-based, animal-based, or self-identified diet preference and the mental health measures.
  • The study found that a junk food-rich dietary pattern was associated with poorer mental health and wellbeing, while a predominantly plant-based or animal-based diet patterns was not.

Effects of the intake of dairy products naturally enriched with selenium and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in a sample of postmenopausal women with metabolic syndrome: a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Pérez Fernández MR, Martínez Lede I, Del Álamo Alonso AJ. Nutr Hosp. 2021 Jun 28.

  • Metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women can improve with a healthy diet.
  • The study objective was to evaluate whether a dietary intervention with dairy products naturally enriched with selenium and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids increases selenium plasma levels and improves cardiovascular risk factors in postmenopausal women with metabolic syndrome.
  • 46 postmenopausal women with metabolic syndrome who were frequent dairy consumers were randomized into two groups — 23 in control group and 23 in experimental group. The experimental group consumed dairy products naturally enriched with selenium and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (milk, yogurt, fresh cheese) for three months. Controls took conventional dairy.
  • In all, 23 women in the control group and 21 in the intervention group completed the trial. Selenium increased in the intervention group (7.2 µg/L) compared to the control group (-4.5 µg/L) and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol decreased (-2.3 mg/dL) compared to the control group (1.9 mg/dL). Waist circumference, body mass index, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in the experimental group improved in comparison to baseline measurements.
  • An intervention with dairy products naturally enriched with selenium and omega-3 in a sample of postmenopausal women with metabolic syndrome can improve plasma selenium levels and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.

Relationship Between Dairy Consumption and Abdominal Obesity. Yasar Firat Y, Inanc N, Aykemat Y, et al. J Am Coll Nutr. 2021 Jun 22:1-8.

  • This cross-sectional study aimed to demonstrate the relationship between dairy consumption and abdominal obesity in adolescents.
  • In total, 700 adolescents participated in this cross-sectional study. Sociodemographic characteristics, consumption of dairy, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and waist/height (W/H) ratio were evaluated. The participants were divided into two groups as to whether their dairy consumptions were below or above 3 portions/d, according to the Turkey Dietary Guideline recommendations.
  • The mean age of participants was 16 years old. The rate of girls (65.2%) who participated in this study was significantly higher than that of the boys (34.8%). No statistically significant difference was found between the participants whose dairy consumption was below and above the specified limits in terms of BMI, WC, or W/H measurements.
  • Energy intake and milk and cheese consumption were higher in boys than in girls. There was a significant inverse correlation between dairy consumption and WC, W/H ratio, and BMI in girls.
  • It was found that a 1-unit increase in milk consumption can cause a 1.98-, 0.11-, and 0.552-fold decrease in WC, W/H ratio, and BMI in girls, respectively.
  • Inadequate milk consumption was related to increasing WC and WC may be one of the factors of abdominal obesity in girls. Therefore, it is of importance to raise awareness about milk and dairy consumption in adolescents.

Comparison of human bone mineral densities in subjects on plant-based and omnivorous diets: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Li T, Li Y, Wu S.Arch Osteoporos. 2021 Jun 18;16(1):95.

  • The increased consumption of plant-based diets has encouraged studies of bone mineral density (BMD).
  • The present systematic review and meta-analysis compared the effects of plant-based and omnivorous diets on BMD.
  • A total of 17 cross-sectional studies including 13,888 patients were identified. The pooled results indicated that those on plant-based diets (compared to omnivores) exhibited lower BMDs at the lumbar spine and femoral neck, and a reduced whole-body BMD.
  • Both vegetarians and vegans exhibited lower lumbar spine, femoral neck, and whole-body BMDs than omnivores.
  • Plant-based diets were associated with lower BMDs than those of an omnivore population. Plant-based diets may compromise overall bone health.

The role of diet quality and dietary patterns in predicting muscle mass and function in men over a 15-year period. Davis JA, Mohebbi M, Collier F, Loughman A, Staudacher H, Shivappa N, Hébert JR, Pasco JA, Jacka FN. Osteoporos Int. 2021:1-11.

  • A growing body of evidence suggests that diet quality may predict muscle health. Research investigating the roles of individual nutrients in muscle health fails to account for the synergistic relationships between foods and nutrients.
  • This study aimed to investigate the predictive value of diet quality and dietary patterns for muscle mass and function in men over a 15-year period.
  • This longitudinal study was conducted in 522 men from the Geelong Osteoporosis Study with complete dietary and muscle mass or muscle function data at both baseline and 15-year follow-up assessments. Dietary exposures were extracted from food frequency questionnaires and included the Australian Recommended Food Score, the Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII®), and three a posteriori dietary patterns: Plant-focused, Western, and Traditional (Anglo-Australian).
  • An anti-inflammatory diet and higher scores on a Traditional dietary pattern both predicted greater skeletal muscle mass, while a pro-inflammatory diet predicted slower muscle function over the 15-year follow-up period.
  • A Traditional dietary pattern higher in vegetables, wholegrain cereals, and animal protein was associated with greater skeletal muscle mass, and an anti-inflammatory diet, also rich in vegetables, fruit, and wholegrain cereals, was associated with greater skeletal muscle mass and better muscle function over 15 years.

Dairy Consumption: Does It Make an Impact on Self-Reported Disease Activity of Inflammatory Arthritis? Kong SS, Robinson M, Hosterman T, Bhanusali N.Cureus. 2021 May 13;13(5):e15010.

  • As researchers and the public become more cognizant of the impacts of diet and nutrition on health, continued research is needed to provide evidence to support dietary claims. At present, there exists mixed reporting on the effects of dairy consumption and disease activity of inflammatory arthritis.
  • This study attempts to advance current research on the relationship between dairy consumption and self-reported disease activity in patients with inflammatory arthritis and to investigate whether dietary modifications can be helpful as a conservative, cost-effective, and accessible supplement to established treatments.
  • Two hundred and four participants were recruited for this study. All of the participants were at least 18 years of age, capable of giving informed consent, and were formally diagnosed with either rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis by a board-certified rheumatologist. Participants completed a modified diet history questionnaire (DHQ), which assessed dairy consumption over the past year, and a Routine Assessment of Patient Index Data 3 (RAPID3)
  • The results from the questionnaires found that dairy consumption does not contribute to self-reported inflammatory arthritis disease activity. While 11 of the 16 DHQ variables maintained a positive correlation with the overall RAPID3 scores, none of these possessed statistical significance. Only when controlling for age and sex did the study find two statistically significant variable correlations between the quantity of milk consumed as a beverage and milk added to cereal with the RAPID3 scores.
  • Conclusion In summation, the study found no notable correlation between dairy consumption and patients’ self-reported inflammatory arthritis disease activity.

Maternal Dietary Protein Patterns During Pregnancy and the Risk of Infant Eczema: A Cohort Study. Zeng J, Wu W, Tang N, Chen Y, Jing J, Cai L. Front Nutr. 2021 Jun 2;8:608972.

  • Previous studies have suggested that maternal dietary protein was associated with allergic diseases in offspring, but few studies have evaluated the influence of dietary protein patterns.
  • This study aimed to explore the prospective association between maternal dietary protein patterns during pregnancy and the risk of infant eczema.
  • A total of 713 mother-child pairs from a prospective cohort in Guangzhou, China were recruited. Maternal dietary protein was estimated using a validated face-to-face food frequency questionnaire at 20-28 weeks’ gestation from 2017 to 2018.
  • The cumulative incidence of infant eczema at 6 months of age was 51.19%. Mothers of infants with eczema consumed more protein from poultry source during pregnancy than mothers of infants without eczema, while no statistical differences were observed in maternal intakes of protein from cereals and tubers, vegetables, fruits, red meat, fish and seafood, eggs, dairy, soybean, and nuts and seeds.
  • Four dietary protein patterns were identified and termed poultry, plant, dairy and eggs, and red meat and fish. The cumulative incidence of eczema was 61.2, 45.8, 48.0, 51.4% for these four patterns, respectively.
  • Compared to the poultry dietary pattern, the plant pattern and the dairy and eggs pattern were associated with a reduced risk of infant eczema. No such association was observed for the red meat and fish dietary protein pattern.
  • This is the first study that focused on the association between maternal dietary protein during pregnancy from a whole-diet perspective and infant eczema. Compared with the poultry dietary protein pattern, the maternal plant pattern and the dairy and eggs pattern during pregnancy were associated with a reduced risk of infant eczema.

Effect of probiotic fermented dairy products on incidence of respiratory tract infections: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Rashidi K, Razi B, Darand M, Dehghani A, Janmohammadi P, Alizadeh S. Nutr J. 2021 Jun 28;20(1):61.

  • Previous studies have suggested that the consumption of probiotic fermented dairy products (PFDP) may have a protective effect on respiratory tract infections (RTIs). However, the results of studies are inconclusive.
  • Researchers aimed to systematically investigate the effect of PFDP on RTIs by performing a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs).
  • PubMed and Scopus databases were systematically searched up to October 2020 to identify eligible RCTs. Meta-analysis outcomes were risk of incidence of upper (URTIs ) and lower (LRTIs ) respiratory tract infections.
  • A total of 22 RCTs, with a total sample size of 10,190 participants, were included in this meta-analysis. Compared with placebo, consumption of PFDP had a significant protective effect against RTIs in the overall analysis (RR = 0.81) and in children (RR = 0.82), adults (RR = 0.81), and elderly population (RR = 0.78).
  • The significant decreased risk of RTIs was also observed for URTIs (RR = 0.83), while, this effect was marginal for LRTIs (RR = 0.78). The disease-specific analysis showed that PFDP have a protective effect on pneumonia (RR = 0.76) and common cold (RR = 0.68).
  • Consumption of PFDP is a potential dietary approach for the prevention of RTIs.

Theoretical benefits of yogurt-derived bioactive peptides and probiotics in COVID-19 patients – A narrative review and hypotheses. Gouda AS, Adbelruhman FG, Sabbah Alenezi H, Mégarbane B. Saudi J Biol Sci. 2021 Jun 18.

  • The world is currently facing a frightening coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) epidemic. Severity of COVID-19 presentation is highly variable among infected individuals with increasingly recognized risk factors.
  • Although observational studies suggested lower COVID-19 severity in populations consuming fermented foods, no controlled study investigated the role of diet.
  • Yogurt, a fermented dairy product, exhibits interesting properties related to the presence of bioactive peptides and probiotics that may play a beneficial role in COVID-19 presentation and outcome.
  • Peptides contained in yogurt are responsible for angiotensin-converting enzyme-inhibitory, bradykinin potentiating, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antithrombotic, and antioxidant effects. The types and activity of these peptides vary widely depending on their amino acid sequence, on the probiotics used in yogurt production and on intestinal digestion.
  • Additionally, probiotics used in yogurt exhibit direct angiotensin-converting enzyme-inhibitory, antiviral and immune boosting activities. Since COVID-19 pathogenesis involves angiotensin II accumulation and bradykinin deficiency, yogurt bioactive peptides appear as potentially beneficial.
  • Therefore, epidemiological investigations and randomized controlled clinical trials to evaluate the exact role of yogurt consumption on COVID-19 manifestations and outcome should be encouraged.

Innovation, Economics, and Dairy Alternatives

Researching 100 t cows: An innovative approach to identify intrinsic cows factors associated with a high lifetime milk production. Van Eetvelde M, Verdru K, de Jong G, van Pelt ML, Meesters M, Opsomer G. Prev Vet Med. 2021;193:105392.

  • Longevity is an important trait both from an economic and social perspective. Modern dairy cows are criticized for their short productive lifespan: only a minority of animals survives to a fourth lactation, implying that most cows are culled before reaching their maximal potential.
  • In contrast, the population of 100 t cows (HT), reaching the threshold of 100,000 kg lifetime milk yield, is growing rapidly. As these cows combine a long lifespan with high functionality, a better understanding of their intrinsic characteristics might help us to improve the overall lifespan and lifetime production in dairy cows.
  • The aim of the present research was to compare HT with their less-producing herd mates in order to identify intrinsic cow factors associated with longevity and high lifetime production.
  • Therefore, resesarchers matched 26,248 HT with 691,597 herd mates, born in the same year in the same herd. Data were provided by Coöperatie rundveeverbetering (CRV) and contained birth dates, calving dates, milk yield and dam information. In addition, scores for conformation traits based on classifications in the first lactation and breeding values (for milk yield, fertility, udder health and claw health) were provided.
  • Results revealed cows born in September and born out of heifers to have the highest odds to become a HT. When cows received a score ≥ 83 (population average 80) for udder and feet & legs conformation, they had higher odds of reaching the 100,000 kg threshold. While a greater body condition and larger rump angle increased the odds of becoming a HT, this was decreased in cows with a large body depth.
  • Finally, breeding values for milk yield, fertility, udder health and claw health were positively associated with the likelihood of reaching a lifetime milk yield of 100,000 kg.
  • In conclusion, to increase lifetime milk yield in dairy herds, farmers should select heifers with high scores for conformation traits like udder and feet & legs and high breeding values for milk yield, fertility and udder health. Furthermore, our data suggest that being born in September out of a heifer potentially contributes to reaching a high lifetime milk yield.

Nutritional properties and health aspects of pulses and their use in plant-based yogurt alternatives. Boeck T, Sahin AW, Zannini E, Arendt EK. Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf. 2021 Jun 14.

  • Plant-based yogurt alternatives are increasing in market value, while dairy yogurt sales are stagnating or even declining. The plant-based yogurt alternatives market is currently dominated by products based on coconut or soy. Coconut-based products especially are often low in protein and high in saturated fat, while soy products raise consumer concerns regarding genetically modified soybeans, and soy allergies are common.
  • Pulses are ideally suited as a base for plant-based yogurt alternatives due to their high protein content and beneficial amino acid composition.
  • This review provides an overview of pulse nutrients, pro-nutritional and anti-nutritional compounds, how their composition can be altered by fermentation, and the chemistry behind pulse protein coagulation by acid or salt denaturation.
  • An extensive market review on plant-based yogurt alternatives provides an overview of the current worldwide market situation. It shows that pulses are ideal base ingredients for yogurt alternatives due to their high protein content, amino acid composition, and gelling behavior when fermented with lactic acid bacteria.
  • Additionally, fermentation can be used to reduce anti-nutrients such as α-galactosides and vicine or trypsin inhibitors, further increasing the nutritional value of pulse-based yogurt alternatives.

Veganic farming in the United States: farmer perceptions, motivations, and experiences. Seymour M, Utter A. Agric Human Values. 2021 Jun 7:1-21.

  • Veganic agriculture, often described as farming that is free of synthetic and animal-based inputs, represents an alternative to chemical-based industrial agriculture and the prevailing alternative, organic agriculture, respectively.
  • Despite the promise of veganic methods in diverse realms such as food safety, environmental sustainability, and animal liberation, it has a small literature base.
  • This article draws primarily on interviews conducted in 2018 with 25 veganic farmers from 19 farms in the United States to establish some baseline empirical research on this farming community.
  • Its qualitative perspectives illuminate farmer perceptions of and experiences with veganic growing, including definitions, knowledge acquisition, values, and challenges. Results highlight a lack of agreement about the meaning of veganic agriculture in terms of allowable inputs and scope.
  • Participants have drawn on a wide array of veganic and non-veganic resources to ascend their veganic production learning curves, also relying on experimentation and trial-and-error. Their farming is motivated by a diversity of real and perceived benefits, most notably consistency with veganism, food safety advantages, and plant and soil health benefits.
  • Veganic product sourcing and the dearth of veganic agriculture-specific resources present considerable challenges to farmers. The article briefly discusses possibilities for developing veganic agriculture in the United States, such as through a US-based certification system and farmers’ associations, based on considerations of the trajectory of the US organic farming movement and veganic developments in Europe.
  • Finally, the article suggests the importance of expanded research into soil health and fertility in plant-based systems to support practicing and potential veganic farmers.