Come check out the most recent Dairy Research from the month of May. The 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


Selected Publications on Animal Health, Food Safety, and Sustainability

Indicators of Climate Change in California

  • From record temperatures to proliferating wildfires and rising seas, climate change poses an immediate and escalating threat to California’s environment, public health, and economic vitality. Recent climate-related events such as the devastating 2017 wildfires and the record setting 2012-16 drought have highlighted the challenges that confront the state as its climate continues to evolve.
  • This report (which is over 300 pages) presents 36 indicators that document some of the many ways in which climate change is already occurring in California and its effects on the state’s weather, environment and wildlife. The report’s 36 indicators are grouped into four categories: 1) Human-influenced drivers of climate change, such as greenhouse gas emissions, 2) Changes in the state’s climate, 3) Impacts of climate change on physical systems, such as oceans, lakes and snowpack, and 4) Impacts of climate change on biological systems – humans, vegetation and wildlife.
  • This report portrays an increasingly troubling story of accelerating rates of warming, record-breaking events, and species responses that have the potential to cause ecosystem disruptions. By measuring and tracking the changes occurring in California’s physical environment and ecosystems, the report provides an essential scientific foundation to inform the state’s efforts to respond to climate change through a combination of mitigation, adaptation, research and joint action.
  • Fortunately, there is some good news. Some of California’s pioneering efforts to curb emissions of greenhouse gases seem to be working. Concentrations of the short-lived climate pollutant black carbon have dropped by more than 90 percent over the last fifty years. We are on a course to meet our target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Impacts of groundwater management on energy resources and greenhouse gas emissions in California. Hendrickson TP, Bruguera M. Water Res. 2018 May 16;141:196-207.

  • California faces significant energy and water infrastructure planning challenges in response to a changing climate. Immediately following the most severe recorded drought, the state experienced one of its wettest water years in recorded history. Despite the recent severe wet weather, much of the state’s critical groundwater systems have not recovered from the drought.
  • The recent Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) aims to eliminate future depletion risks but may force California basins to seek alternative water sources by limiting groundwater withdrawals during droughts. These alternative water resources, such as recycled water or desalination, can have significantly higher energy demands in treatment and supply than local groundwater or surface water resources.
  • The aim of this research was to develop potential scenarios of water supply sources for five overdrafted groundwater basins, and modeled the impacts of these scenarios on energy demands and greenhouse GHG emissions for water supply systems.
  • Our results reveal that energy demands and GHG emissions in different water supply scenarios can vary substantially between basins, but could increase statewide energy consumption as much as 2% and GHG emissions by 0.5. These results highlight the need to integrate these energy and GHG impacts into water resource management.

Low-cost composited accelerants for anaerobic digestion of dairy manure: Focusing on methane yield, digestate utilization and energy evaluation. Zhang C, Yun S, Li X, Wang Z, Xu H, Du T. Bioresour Technol. 2018 May 11;263:517-524.

  • To improve the methane yield and digestate utilization of anaerobic digestion, low-cost composited accelerants consisting of urea (0.2-0.5%), bentonite (0.5-0.8%), active carbon (0.6-0.9%), and plant ash (0.01-0.3%) were designed and tested in batch experiments.
  • Total biogas yield and methane content were remarkably enhanced in anaerobic digestion systems by adding accelerants compared to those of control group (59.4%). Composited accelerant addition led to the highest methane yield, more than double that of control group. The improved digestate stability and enhanced fertilizer nutrient content confirmed that the digestate of anaerobic digestion systems with composited accelerants could safely serve as a potential component of bioorganic fertilizer.

Global environmental costs of China’s thirst for milk. Bai Z, Lee MRF, Ma L, Ledgard S, Oenema O, Velthof GL, Ma W, Guo M, Zhao Z, Wei S, Li S, Liu X, Havlík P, Luo J, Hu C, Zhang F. Glob Chang Biol. 2018 May;24(5):2198-2211.

  • China has an ever-increasing thirst for milk, with a predicted 3.2-fold increase in demand by 2050 compared to the production level in 2010. What are the environmental implications of meeting this demand, and what is the preferred pathway?
  • Meeting China’s milk demand in a business as usual scenario will increase global dairy-related (China and the leading milk exporting regions) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 35%, and land use for dairy feed production by 32% compared to 2010, while reactive nitrogen losses from the dairy sector will increase by 48%.
  • Producing all additional milk in China with current technology will greatly increase animal feed import and will increase domestic dairy related GHG emissions by 2.2 times compared to 2010 levels. Whereas importing the extra milk will transfer the environmental burden from China to milk exporting countries. For example, the farmland area for cattle-feed production in New Zealand would have to increase by more than 57% and that in Europe by more than 39%, while GHG emissions and nitrogen losses would increase roughly proportionally with the increase of farmland in both regions.
  • The researchers propose that a more sustainable dairy future will rely on high milk demanding regions (such as China) improving their domestic milk and feed production efficiencies up to the level of leading milk producing countries. This will decrease the global dairy related GHG emissions and land use by 12% and 30% compared to the business as usual scenario, respectively. However, this still represents an increase in total GHG emissions of 19%, whereas land use will decrease by 8% when compared with 2010 levels, respectively.


Selected Articles on Dairy Intake and Human Health

Beverage consumption patterns among 4-19 y old children in 2009-14 NHANES show that the milk and 100% juice pattern is associated with better diets. Maillot M, Rehm CD, Vieux F, Rose CM, Drewnowski A. Nutr J. 2018 May 24;17(1):54.

  • Patterns of beverage consumption among children and adolescents can be indicative of food choices and total diet quality.
  • Analyses of beverage consumption patterns among 8119 children aged 4-19 years were based on the first 24-h recall of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2009-14 NHANES). The four pre-defined beverage patterns were: 1) milk pattern; 2) 100% juice pattern; 3) milk and 100% juice pattern; and 4) other caloric beverages.
  • Drinkers of milk and 100% juice had diets that did not differ from each other in total calories, total and added sugars, fiber, or vitamin E. Milk drinkers had higher intakes of calcium, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin D as compared to all other patterns. Juice drinkers had higher intakes of vitamin C as compared to the other consumption patterns. Drinkers of both milk and 100% juice had the highest diet quality scores of all the consumption patterns. Promoting the drinking of milk and 100% juice, in preference to other caloric beverages, may be an effective strategy to improve children’s diet quality.

Metabolic Footprinting of Fermented Milk Consumption in Serum of Healthy Men. Pimentel G, Burton KJ, von Ah U, Bütikofer U, Pralong FP, Vionnet N, Portmann R, Vergères G. J Nutr. 2018 May 21

  • Fermentation is a widely used method of natural food preservation that has consequences on the nutritional value of the transformed food. Fermented dairy products are increasingly investigated for their ability to exert health benefits beyond their nutritional qualities.
  • A randomized crossover study design was conducted in 14 healthy and normal weight men. For short-term testing, subjects ingested 800 g of a nonfermented milk or a probiotic yogurt, and blood was taken for 6 hours after the meal. For long-term testing, subjects consumed 400 g of the assigned test product daily for 2 weeks (200 g, 2 times/day).
  • The results showed that probiotic yogurt intake was characterized by higher concentrations of 7 free amino acids, reduced concentrations of 5 bile acids, and modulation of 4 indole derivative compounds in the serum of healthy men.
  • In conclusion, several metabolic pathways related to amino acids, indole derivatives, and bile acids were modulated in healthy men by the intake of probiotic yogurt. Further investigation to explore novel health effects of fermented dairy products is warranted.

Fermented dairy products consumption is associated with attenuated cortical bone loss independently of total calcium, protein, and energy intakes in healthy postmenopausal women. Biver E, Durosier-Izart C, Merminod F, Chevalley T, van Rietbergen B, Ferrari SL, Rizzoli R. Osteoporos Int. 2018 May 3.

  • Fermented dairy products (e.g. yogurt, kefir, doogh) provide calcium, phosphorus, and proteins together with prebiotics and probiotics, all being potentially beneficial for bone.
  • In this prospective cohort study, researchers investigated whether fermented dairy products, milk, or ripened cheese consumption influences age-related changes of bone mineral density and microstructure. Dietary intakes were assessed at baseline and after 3 years in 482 postmenopausal women enrolled in the Geneva Retirees Cohort.
  • At baseline, fermented dairy products consumers had lower abdominal fat mass and larger bone size at the radius and tibia. Parathyroid hormone and β-carboxyterminal cross-linked telopeptide of type I collagen levels were inversely correlated with fermented dairy products consumption. After 3 years, fermented dairy products consumption was associated with attenuated loss of radius total volumetric bone mineral density and of cortical volumetric bone mineral density, area, and thickness. These associations were independent of total energy, calcium, or protein intakes.
  • In this prospective cohort of healthy postmenopausal women, fermented dairy product consumers, but not milk or ripened cheese consumers, had attenuated age-related cortical bone loss at non-bearing bone sites. These outcomes were found to be independent of total energy, calcium, or protein intakes.

Effects of Whey Protein Supplementation Pre- or Post-Resistance Training on Muscle Mass, Muscular Strength, and Functional Capacity in Pre-Conditioned Older Women: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Nabuco HCG, Tomeleri CM, Sugihara Junior P, Fernandes RR, Cavalcante EF, Antunes M, Ribeiro AS, Teixeira DC, Silva AM, Sardinha LB, Cyrino ES. Nutrients. 2018 May 3;10(5). pii: E563.

  • Aging is associated with sarcopenia (loss of muscle size) and dynapenia (loss of muscle strength), with both processes contributing to impaired muscle function and mortality in older adults. Resistance training and increased protein intake are strategies that may contribute to muscle health improvements in older adults.
  • The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of whey protein supplementation consumed either immediately before or after resistance training on skeletal muscle mass, muscular strength, and functional capacity in pre-conditioned older women.
  • Seventy older women participated in this 12-week investigation and were randomly assigned to one of three groups: whey protein pre-resistance training and placebo post-resistance training (n = 24), placebo pre-resistance training and whey protein post-resistance training (n = 23), and placebo pre- and post-resistance training (n = 23). Each group ingested 35 g of whey protein or placebo.
  • The results showed that whey protein supplementation was effective in promoting increases in skeletal muscle mass, muscular strength, and functional capacity in this population of older women, regardless of supplementation timing.

A Prospective Metagenomic and Metabolomic Analysis of the Impact of Exercise and/or Whey Protein Supplementation on the Gut Microbiome of Sedentary Adults. Cronin O, Barton W, Skuse P, Penney NC, Garcia-Perez I, Murphy EF, Woods T, Nugent H, Fanning A, Melgar S, Falvey EC, Holmes E, Cotter PD, O’Sullivan O, Molloy MG, Shanahan F. mSystems. 2018 Apr 24;3(3). pii: e00044-18.

  • Animal studies suggest that exercise can directly affect the gut microbiota, and studies on elite athletes demonstrate unique beneficial and diverse gut microbiome characteristics. These characteristics are associated with levels of protein consumption and levels of physical activity.
  • To determine whether increasing physical activity and/or increased protein intake modulates gut microbial composition and function, the researchers prospectively challenged healthy but sedentary adults with a short-term exercise regime, with and without concurrent daily whey protein consumption.
  • Metagenomics- and metabolomics-based assessments demonstrated modest changes in gut microbial composition and function following increases in physical activity. Significant changes in the diversity of the gut virome were evident in participants receiving daily whey protein supplementation.
  • The results of this study show that increasing the fitness levels of physically inactive humans leads to modest but detectable changes in gut microbiota characteristics. For the first time, it is shown that regular whey protein intake leads to significant alterations to the composition of the gut virome.

Estimation and Prediction of Avoidable Health Care Costs of Cardiovascular Diseases and Type 2 Diabetes Through Adequate Dairy Food Consumption: A Systematic Review and Micro Simulation Modeling Study. Javanbakht M, Jamshidi AR, Baradaran HR, Mohammadi Z, Mashayekhi A, Shokraneh F, Rezai Hamami M, Yazdani Bakhsh R, Shabaninejad H, Delavari S, Tehrani A. Arch Iran Med. 2018 May 1;21(5):213-222.

  • Recent evidence from prospective cohort studies show a relationship between consumption of dairy foods and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). This association highlights the importance of dairy foods consumption in prevention of these diseases and also reduction of associated healthcare costs.
  • The aim of this study was to estimate avoidable healthcare costs of CVD and T2D through adequate dairy foods consumption in Iran.
  • The systematic review results indicated that dairy foods consumption was inversely associated with incidence of T2DM, coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke. The researchers estimated that the introduction of a diet containing 3 servings of dairy foods per day may produce a $0.43 saving in annual per capita healthcare costs in Iran in the first year due to saving in cost of CVD and T2DM treatment. The estimated savings in per capita healthcare costs were $8.42, $39.97 and $190.25 in 5, 10 and 20-years’ time, respectively.
  • Corresponding total aggregated avoidable costs for the entire Iranian population within the study time horizons were $33.83, $661.31, $3,138.21 and $14,934.63 million, respectively.