Dairy Research Bulletin Selected Articles from February 2022

Environmental Management and Sustainability

Animal board invited review: Animal source foods in healthy, sustainable, and ethical diets – An argument against drastic limitation of livestock in the food system. Leroy F, Abraini F, van Vliet S, et al. Animal. 2022 Feb 11;16(3):100457.

  • Animal source foods are evolutionarily appropriate foods for humans. It is therefore remarkable that they are now presented by some as unhealthy, unsustainable, and unethical, particularly in the urban West.
  • The benefits of consuming them are nonetheless substantial, as they offer a wide spectrum of nutrients that are needed for cell and tissue development, function, and survival. They play a role in proper physical and cognitive development of infants, children, and adolescents, and help promote maintenance of physical function with ageing. While high-red meat consumption in the West is associated with several forms of chronic disease, these associations remain uncertain in other cultural contexts or when consumption is part of wholesome diets.
  • Besides health concerns, there is also widespread anxiety about the environmental impacts of animal source foods. Although several production methods are detrimental (intensive cropping for feed, overgrazing, deforestation, water pollution, etc.) and require substantial mitigation, damaging impacts are not intrinsic to animal husbandry.
  • When well-managed, livestock farming contributes to ecosystem management and soil health, while delivering high-quality foodstuffs through the upcycling of resources that are otherwise non-suitable for food production, making use of marginal land and inedible materials (forage, by-products, etc.), integrating livestock and crop farming where possible has the potential to benefit plant food production through enhanced nutrient recycling, while minimizing external input needs such as fertilizers and pesticides. Moreover, the impacts on land use, water wastage, and greenhouse gas emissions are highly contextual, and their estimation is often erroneous due to a reductionist use of metrics.
  • Similarly, whether animal husbandry is ethical or not depends on practical specificities, not on the fact that animals are involved. Such discussions also need to factor in that animal husbandry plays an important role in culture, societal well-being, food security, and the provision of livelihoods.

Perspective: Unpacking the Wicked Challenges for Alternative Proteins in the United States: Can Highly Processed Plant-Based and Cell-Cultured Food and Beverage Products Support Healthy and Sustainable Diets and Food Systems? Kraak VI. Adv Nutr. 2022 Feb 1;13(1):38-47.

  • Over the past decade, a plethora of alternative protein products has entered the US food system as plant-based food and beverage products. These alternative protein products, which include plant-based meat and dairy alternatives and cell-cultured meat and seafood products, are being developed for the marketplace to simulate the appearance, texture, taste, and flavor and nutritional profiles of animal products.
  • The new generation of alternative protein plant-based and cell-cultured food and beverage products are part of a market-driven narrative that has embraced technology to address future human health, environmental, ethical, and planetary health challenges.
  • This perspective article synthesizes evidence about the benefits of adopting minimally processed plant-based diets that support sustainable food systems and human and planetary health. Thereafter, it examines 4 wicked challenges related to alternative protein products in the US context that include:
    1. a confusing marketing landscape for the public;
    2. diverse views and varying acceptance among consumers about the health and environmental benefits of these products;
    3. inadequate education and labeling provided by federal agencies to enable consumers to understand how these may support healthy sustainable diets;
    4. slow federal policy and regulatory actions to address the range of alternative protein products and provide industry guidance.
  • The article concludes with suggested policies and actions for government agencies and food system actors to address these challenges. Future research and actions are needed to balance the human health, equity, animal welfare, and economic viability goals and to clarify how alternative protein products may support safe, healthy, sustainable diets and food systems.

Global Strategies to Minimize Environmental Impacts of Ruminant Production. Du Y, Ge Y, Chang J. Annu Rev Anim Biosci. 2022 Feb 15;10:227-240.

  • Demand for ruminant products (dairy products, beef, and sheep meat) is increasing rapidly with population and income growth and the acceleration of urbanization. However, ruminant animals exert the highest environmental impacts and consume the most resources in the livestock system.
  • Increasing studies have focused on various measures to reduce ammonia, greenhouse gas emissions, and resource depletion from ruminant production to consumption.
  • This review offers supply- and demand-side management strategies to reduce the environmental impact of ruminant products and emphasizes the mitigation potential of coupling livestock production with cultivation and renewable energy.
  • On a global scale, more attention should be paid to the green-source trade and to strengthening global technology sharing. The success of these strategies depends on the cost effectiveness of technology, public policy, and financial support.
  • Future studies and practice should focus on global database development for sharing mitigation strategies, thus facilitating technology innovations and socioeconomic feasibility.

Initial soil conditions outweigh management in a cool-season dairy farm’s carbon sequestration potential. Arndt KA, Campbell EE, Contosta AR, et al. Sci Total Environ. 2022 Feb 25;809:152195.

  • Pastures and rangelands are a dominant portion of global agricultural land and have the potential to sequester carbon (C) in soils, mitigating climate change. Management intensive grazing (MIG), or high density grazing with rotations through paddocks with long rest periods, has been highlighted as a method of enhancing soil C in pastures by increasing forage production.
  • However, few studies have examined the soil C storage potential of pastures under MIG in the northeastern United States, where the dairy industry comprises a large portion of agricultural use and the regional agricultural economy.
  • Here researchers present a 12-year study conducted in this region using a combination of field data and the denitrification and decomposition (DNDCv9.5) model to analyze changes in soil C and nitrogen (N) over time, and the climate impacts as they relate to soil carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) fluxes.
  • Field measurements showed: (1) increases in soil C in grazed fields under MIG (P = 0.03) with no significant increase in hayed fields; and (2) that the change in soil C was negatively correlated to initial soil C content. Modeled simulations also showed fields that started with relatively less soil C had significant gains in C over the course of the study, with no significant change in fields with higher initial levels of soil C.
  • Sensitivity analyses showed the physiochemical status of soils (i.e., soil C and clay content) had greater influence over C storage than the intensity of grazing. More extensive grazing methods showed very little change in soil C storage or CO2and N2O fluxes with modeled continuous grazing trending towards declines in soil C.
  • This study highlights the importance of considering both initial system conditions as well as management when analyzing the potential for long-term soil C storage.

An examination of maximum legal application rates of dairy processing and associated STRUBIAS fertilizing products in agriculture. Shi W, Fenton O, Healy MG, et al. J Environ Manage. 2022;301:113880.

  • The dairy industry produces vast quantities of dairy processing sludge (DPS), which can be processed further to develop second generation products such as struvite, biochars and ashes (collectively known as STRUBIAS). These bio-based fertilizers have heterogeneous nutrient and metal contents, resulting in a range of possible application rates.
  • To avoid nutrient losses to water or bioaccumulation of metals in soil or crops, it is important that rates applied to land are safe and adhere to the maximum legal application rates similar to inorganic fertilizers.
  • This study collected and analyzed nutrient and metal content of all major DPS (n = 84) and DPS-derived STRUBIAS products (n = 10), and created an application calculator in MS Excel™ to provide guidance on maximum legal application rates for ryegrass and spring wheat across plant available phosphorus (P) deficient soil to P-excess soil.
  • The sample analysis showed that raw DPS and DPS-derived STRUBIAS have high P contents ranging from 10.1 to 122 g kg-1. Nitrogen (N) in DPS was high, whereas N concentrations decreased in thermo-chemical STRUBIAS products (chars and ash) due to the high temperatures used in their formation. The heavy metal content of DPS and DPS-derived STRUBIAS was significantly lower than the EU imposed limits.
  • Using the calculator, application rates of DPS and DPS-derived STRUBIAS materials (dry weight) ranged from 0 to 4.0 tonnes ha-1y-1 for ryegrass and 0-4.5 tonnes ha-1 y-1 for spring wheat. The estimated heavy metal ingestion to soil annually by the application of the DPS and DPS-derived STRUBIAS products was lower than the EU guideline on soil metal accumulation.
  • The calculator is adaptable for any bio-based fertilizer, soil and crop type, and future work should continue to characterize and incorporate new DPS and DPS-derived STRUBIAS products into the database presented in this paper. In addition, safe application rates pertaining to other regulated pollutants or emerging contaminants that may be identified in these products should be included.
  • The fertilizer replacement value of these products, taken from long-term field studies, should be factored into application rates., reduce land use and decrease methane emissions. In other regions of the world, increasing meat production from young animals produced by dairy cows is probably a better option to reduce feed use for an unchanged milk-to-meat production ratio.

Animal Health and Food Safety

Farm-level factors associated with lameness prevalence, productivity, and milk quality in farms with automated milking systems. Matson RD, King MTM, DeVries TJ, et al. J Dairy Sci. 2022;105(1):793-806.

  • Impaired locomotion (lameness) may negatively affect the ability and desire of cows to milk voluntarily, which is a key factor in success of automated milking systems (AMS).
  • The objective of this study was to identify factors associated with herd-level lameness prevalence and associations of lameness and other farm-level factors with milking activity, milk yield, and milk quality in herds with AMS.
  • From April to September 2019, 75 herds with AMS in Ontario, Canada, were visited, and data on barn design and farm management practices were collected. Data from AMS were collected, along with milk recording data, for the 6-mo period before farm visits.
  • Farms averaged 98 ± 71 lactating cows, 2.3 ± 1.5 robot units/farm, 43.6 ± 9.4 cows/robot, 36.4 ± 4.9 kg/day of milk, a milking frequency of 3.01 ± 0.33 milkings/day, and a herd average mean SCC of 179.3 ± 74.6 (× 1,000) cells/mL.
  • Clinical lameness was less prevalent on farms with sand bedding, with increased feed bunk space per cow, and on farms with non-Holstein breeds versus Holsteins, and tended to be less prevalent with lesser proportion of underconditioned cows. Severe lameness occurrence was associated with a greater proportion of underconditioned cows and in farms with stalls with greater curb heights.
  • Herd average milk yield/cow per day increased with lesser prevalence of clinical lameness and greater milking visit frequency per day, and tended to be greater with increased feed push-up frequency. Lesser herd average somatic cell count was associated with lesser clinical lameness prevalence, herd average days in milk, and proportion of overconditioned cows, and somatic cell count tended to be lesser for farms with sand bedding versus those with organic bedding substrates.
  • The results highlight the importance of minimizing lameness prevalence, using of sand bedding, ensuring adequate feed access and feed bunk space, and maintaining proper cow body condition to optimize herd-level productivity and milk quality in AMS herds.

Preweaning dairy calves’ preferences for outdoor access. Whalin L, Weary DM, von Keyserlingk MAG. J Dairy Sci. 2022 Mar;105(3):2521-2530.

  • Adult dairy cattle show a preference for outdoor spaces during summer nights, but little is known about such preferences for dairy calves.
  • The study’s aim was to determine the preferences of dairy calves for outdoor access during their first 11 weeks of age in summer conditions.
  • Calves were paired (n = 10) at 7 days of age and placed in one of 10 pens (7.32 × 2.44 m, deep bedded with bark mulch), each with equally sized outdoor and indoor areas. All feed was provided indoors; calves had ad libitum access to water, hay and concentrate. Calves remained in the trial until, on average 72 days of age. Pens were continuously video recorded, and behaviors were scored.
  • Calves spent approximately one-third of their time outside throughout the experiment, and time spent outside was affected by several factors. Pairs of calves spent less time outside as the amount of rain increased. During the first 6 weeks of age, time spent outside increased, but time spent outside decreased between week 6 and 7, and remained around 200 min/day from week 7 to 11. Calves with the highest average daily gain and calves that were approximately 50% white appeared to spend more time outdoors.
  • When outside, calves spent similar amounts of time in the sun and shade during the first 8 weeks, but after weaning they appeared to spend more time in the shade. When calves were outside they appeared to spend a greater proportion of their time standing than when they were indoors during the first 4 weeks.
  • These results indicate that, when given the option in the summer, calves make use of an outdoor space, but this appears to vary with weather, calf age, average daily gain, and coat color.

Animal Health in Compost-Bedded Pack and Cubicle Dairy Barns in Six European Countries. Emanuelson U, Brügemann K, Blanco-Penedo I, et al. Animals (Basel). 2022 Feb 7;12(3):396.

  • Dairy barns with compost-bedded pack housing systems are relatively new in Europe. They have housing systems that are vastly different from traditional tie-stall or cubicle housing and provide possibilities for improved animal welfare. However, it is important to investigate how actual cow health is influenced.
  • The purpose of this study was to compare animal health in compost-bedded pack and cubicle housing systems using data from dairy herd improvement associations.
  • Thirty-two commercial dairy farms located in Austria, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Slovenia, and Sweden were included in the study. The researchers explored the following health indicators: somatic cell counts (SCC), high SCC, new high SCC, ketosis risk, prolonged calving intervals, dystocia, and stillbirth.
  • Udder health, as measured by SCC, was inferior in compost-bedded pack housing, although the means were low in both systems. The incidence of stillbirths was higher in compost-bedded pack, while prolonged calving intervals were fewer, indicating that there were fewer reproductive disorders. There were no differences in longevity between the systems, although compost-bedded pack had lower proportions of first calvers.
  • Overall, the researchers concluded that there were few and minor differences in health and longevity between the compost-bedded pack and cubicle housing systems in the European context.

Hay provision affects 24-hour performance of normal and abnormal oral behaviors in individually housed dairy calves. Downey BC, Jensen MB, Tucker CB. J Dairy Sci. 2022 Feb 15:S0022-0302(22)00098-4.

  • Dairy calves often perform abnormal repetitive behaviors (ARBs) including tongue rolling and nonnutritive oral manipulation (NNOM) when opportunities to perform feeding behaviors are restricted. Many US dairy farms limit access to milk, a well-studied risk factor for ARBs. However, farms also commonly do not feed forage to young calves, and the motor patterns of oral ARBs resemble those necessary for acquiring and chewing solid feed.
  • The study’s objective was to assess how access to hay from birth influenced time engaged in normal and abnormal oral behaviors across 24 hours.
  • Holstein heifer calves were housed individually on sand bedding and fed ad libitum water and grain (control, n = 11) or given additional access to hay (hay, n = 11) from birth. Calves were fed 5.7 to 8.4 L/day (step-up) of milk replacer via a teat. At the start of step-down weaning (50 ± 1 day), all calves were given access to a total mixed ration.
  • Grain, hay, and water intake increased over time in the preweaning period. During weaning, hay calves tended to consume increasingly more total mixed ration, significantly more water, and less grain than control calves. Access to hay led to more observations spent eating solid feed (7% vs. 5%, mean percentage of intervals) and ruminating (24% vs. 16%) during the preweaning period compared with calves fed only grain, though control calves appeared to ruminate in absence of forage to re-chew. Rumination occurred, to a large extent, overnight.
  • Hay calves also spent less time self-grooming (12% vs. 14%), tongue flicking (14% vs. 18%), and performing NNOM (17% vs. 21%) than control calves. Although NNOM peaked around milk feedings, all 3 behaviors were performed throughout the day. Tongue rolling was rare across treatments, as was panting, which occurred most frequently around 1400 h. There were no behavioral differences during weaning (week 8).
  • Overall, the researchers found that hay provision affected most oral behaviors that calves perform; it promoted natural feeding behaviors and reduced abnormal ones, suggesting hay should be provided. These results highlight the importance of considering all oral behaviors to better understand calf welfare.

The Rumen Microbiota Contributes to the Development of Mastitis in Dairy Cows. Hu X, Li S, Mu R, Guo J, Zhao C, Cao Y, Zhang N, Fu Y. Microbiol Spectr. 2022 Feb 23;10(1):e0251221.

  • Mastitis is a common and frequently occurring disease of humans and animals, especially in dairy farming, which has caused huge economic losses and brought harmful substance residues, drug-resistant bacteria, and other public health risks. The traditional viewpoint indicates that mastitis is mainly caused by exogenous pathogenic bacteria infecting the mammary gland, although previous studies have suggested that the gut microbiota plays an important role in the development of mastitis.
  • In this study, researchers assessed the effects and mechanisms of rumen microbiota on bovine mastitis based on the subacute rumen acidosis (SARA) model induced by feeding Holstein Frisian cows a high-concentrate diet for 8 weeks.
  • The inflammatory responses in the mammary gland and the bacterial communities of rumen fluid, feces, and milk were analyzed.
  • The results showed that SARA induced mastitis symptoms in the mammary gland; activated a systemic inflammatory response; and increased the permeability of the blood-milk barrier, gut barrier, and rumen barrier.
  • Further research showed that lipopolysaccharides (LPS), derived from the gut of SARA cows, translocated into the blood and accumulated in the mammary glands. Furthermore, the abundance of Stenotrophomonaswas increased in the rumen of SARA cows.
  • In conclusion, these findings suggested that mastitis is induced by exogenous pathogenic microorganisms as well as by endogenous pathogenic factors. Specifically, the elevated abundance of Stenotrophomonasin the rumen and LPS translocation from the rumen to the mammary gland were important endogenous factors that induced mastitis. This study provides a basis for novel therapeutic strategies that exploit the rumen microbiota against mastitis in cows.

Canadian Dairy Network for Antimicrobial Stewardship and Resistance (CaDNetASR): An On-Farm Surveillance System. Fonseca M, Heider LC, Sanchez J, et al. Front Vet Sci. 2022 Jan 12;8:799622.

  • Canada has implemented on-farm antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance systems for food-producing animals under the Canadian Integrated Program for Antimicrobial Resistance (CIPARS); however, dairy cattle have not been included in that program yet.
  • The objective of this manuscript was to describe the development and implementation of the Canadian Dairy Network for Antimicrobial Stewardship and Resistance (CaDNetASR).
  • An expert panel of researchers was created to lead the development of the dairy surveillance system. The panel initiated a draft document outlining the essential elements of the surveillance framework. This document was then circulated to a Steering Committee which provided recommendations used by the expert panel to finalize the framework.
  • CaDNetASR has the following components:
  1. a herd-level antimicrobial use quantification system;
  2. annually administered risk factor questionnaires;
  3. methods for herd-level detection of AMR in three sentinel enteric pathogens (generic Escherichia coli, Campylobacter, and Salmonellaspp.) recovered from pooled fecal samples collected from calves, heifers, cows, and the manure pit.
  • A total of 144 dairy farms were recruited in five Canadian provinces (British-Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Québec, and Nova-Scotia), with the help of local herd veterinarians and regional field workers. In September 2019, the surveillance system was launched. 97.1% of samples were positive for  coli, 63.8% of samples were positive for Campylobacterspp., and 5.0% of samples were positive for Salmonella spp., and these numbers were 94.4%, 49.1%, and 7.7% in  2020, respectively.
  • coliwas equally distributed among all sample types. However, it was more likely that Campylobacter spp. were recovered from heifer and cow samples. On the other hand, it was more common to isolate Salmonella spp. from the manure pit compared to samples from calves, heifers, or cows.
  • CaDNetASR will continue sampling until 2022 after which time this system will be integrated into CIPARS. CaDNetASR will provide online access to farmers and veterinarians interested in visualizing benchmarking metrics regarding AMU practices and their relationship to AMR and animal health in dairy herds. This will provide an opportunity to enhance antimicrobial stewardship practices on dairy farms in Canada.

Human Nutrition and Health

Modeling the Contribution of Milk to Global Nutrition. Smith NW, Fletcher AJ, Hill JP, McNabb WC. Front Nutr. 2022 Jan 13;8:716100.

  • Nutrient-rich foods play a major role in countering the challenges of nourishing an increasing global population. Milk is a source of high-quality protein and bioavailable amino acids, several vitamins, and minerals such as calcium.
  • Researchers used the DELTA Model, which calculates the delivery of nutrition from global food production scenarios, to examine the role of milk in global nutrition.
  • Of the 29 nutrients considered by the model, milk contributes to the global availability of 28. Milk is the main contributing food item for calcium (49% of global nutrient availability), Vitamin B2 (24%), lysine (18%), and dietary fat (15%), and contributes more than 10% of global nutrient availability for a further five indispensable amino acids, protein, vitamins A, B5, and B12, phosphorous, and potassium.
  • Despite these high contributions to individual nutrients, milk is responsible for only 7% of food energy availability, indicating a valuable contribution to global nutrition without necessitating high concomitant energy intakes.
  • Among the 98 food items considered by the model, milk ranks in the top five contributors to 23 of the 29 nutrients modeled. This quantification of the importance of milk to global nutrition in the current global food system demonstrates the need for the high valuation of this food when considering future changes to the system.

Ultra-processed food intake and animal-based food intake and mortality in the adventist health study-2. Orlich MJ, Sabaté J, Fraser GE, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 Feb 24:nqac0

  • Both ultra-processed foods and animal-derived foods have been associated with mortality in some studies.
  • In this observational prospective cohort study in North America, researchers aimed to examine the association of two dietary factors (ultra-processed foods and animal-based foods) adjusted for each other, with all-cause mortality.
  • The study recruited from Seventh-day Adventist Churches, yielding an analytic sample of 77,437 participants after exclusions. The exposure of interest was diet measured by food frequency questionnaire, in particular two dietary factors: 1) proportion of dietary energy from ultra-processed foods (other processing levels and specific substitutions in some models) and 2) proportion of dietary energy from animal-based foods (red meat, poultry, fish, and eggs/dairy separately in some models).
  • The main outcome was all-cause mortality. Mortality data through 2015 were obtained from the National Death Index. Analyses used proportional hazards regression.
  • Over the course of the study, there were 9293 deaths. In adjusted models of both dietary factors (ultra-processed and animal-based), the HR (hazard ratio) for 90th-to-10th percentiles of the proportion of dietary energy from ultra-processed food was 1.14; and the HR for animal-based food intake (meats, dairy, eggs) was 1.01. Among animal-based foods, only red meat intake was associated with mortality, (HR = 1.14).
  • In conclusion, greater consumption of ultra-processed foods was associated with higher all-cause mortality in this health-conscious Adventist population that included many vegetarians. The total of animal-based food consumption (meat, dairy, eggs) was not associated with mortality, but higher red meat intake was. These findings suggest that high consumption of ultra-processed foods may be an important indicator of mortality.

United States Dietary Trends Since 1800: Lack of Association Between Saturated Fatty Acid Consumption and Non-communicable Diseases. Lee JH, Duster M, Roberts T, Devinsky O. Front Nutr. 2022;8:748847.

  • The American diet changed radically since 1800 due to industrial and technological advances, geographic spread, urbanization, wars, cultural changes, as well as food industry conglomerates and globalization. Foods became progressively more processed, associated with a parallel but delayed rise in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the United States, other western nations, and more recently, in developing nations, as their diets and lifestyles westernized.
  • The aim of this study was to review data on the American diet from 1800 to 2019 to examine food availability and estimated consumption data using historical sources from the federal government and additional public data sources.
  • The results showed that processed and ultra-processed foods increased from <5 to >60% of foods. Large increases occurred for sugar, white and whole wheat flour, rice, poultry, eggs, vegetable oils, dairy products, and fresh vegetables. Saturated fats from animal sources declined while polyunsaturated fats from vegetable oils rose.
  • Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) rose over the twentieth century in parallel with increased consumption of processed foods, including sugar, refined flour and rice, and vegetable oils. Saturated fats from animal sources were inversely correlated with the prevalence of NCDs.
  • In conclusion, as observed from the food availability data, processed and ultra-processed foods dramatically increased over the past two centuries, especially sugar, white flour, white rice, vegetable oils, and ready-to-eat meals. These changes paralleled the rising incidence of NCDs, while animal fat consumption was inversely correlated.

Adequacy of total usual micronutrient intakes among pregnant women in the United States by level of dairy consumption, NHANES 2003-2016. Higgins KA, Bi X, Murphy MM, et al. Nutr Health. 2022 Feb 8:2601060211072325.

  • Dairy products are a rich source of nutrients of public health concern, though most women do not meet the recommended intake of 3 cup-eq/day.
  • The objective of this analysis was to examine micronutrient adequacy among pregnant women in the US by level of dairy consumption.
  • Pregnant women (n = 791) ages 20-44 years in NHANES 2003-2016 were categorized by level of dairy consumption (<1, 1 to <2, 2 to <3, and ≥3 cup-eq/day). Usual micronutrient intakes and prevalence of intakes below the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) were calculated from food alone and food plus dietary supplements using the National Cancer Institute method. Diet quality was assessed with the Healthy Eating Index 2015 (HEI-2015).
  • The results showed that pregnant women consuming ≥3 cup-eq/day of dairy were more likely to meet adequate intake levels potassium than women consuming lower levels. Compared to women consuming ≥3 cup-eq/day of dairy, women consuming <1 or 1 to <2 cup-eq/day were more likely to have inadequate intake of vitamin D, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin A from foods plus supplements.
  • Compared to women consuming ≥3 cup-eq/day of dairy, women consuming <1 cup-eq/day were more likely to have inadequate intake of calcium and riboflavin. Pregnant women consuming ≥3 cup-eq/day of dairy had the highest intake of sodium (mg/day) and saturated fat intake evaluated as a HEI-2015 component.
  • In conclusion, the consumption of recommended levels of dairy products may help pregnant women achieve adequate intakes of select micronutrients.

Dairy product consumption and incident prediabetes in Dutch middle-aged adults: the Hoorn Studies prospective cohort. Slurink IAL, den Braver NR, Soedamah-Muthu SS, et al. Eur J Nutr. 2022 Feb;61(1):183-196.

  • Prediabetes is a condition characterized by blood glucose levels that are above the normal range, but still fall below the diagnostic threshold for type 2 diabetes.The prevalence of prediabetes is rapidly rising worldwide from 374 million in 2019 to an expected 548 million in 2045.
  • The aim of this study was to investigate prospective associations of consumption of total dairy and dairy types with incident prediabetes in a Dutch population-based study.
  • Participants in the Dutch Hoorn Studies took part in this study, resulting in an analytic sample of 2262 participants without (pre-) diabetes at enrolment.
  • The results showed thatduring a mean 6.4 years of follow-up, 810 participants (35.9%) developed prediabetes. High fat fermented dairy, cheese and high fat cheese were associated with a 17%, 14% and 21% lower risk of incident prediabetes, respectively, in top compared to bottom quartiles, after adjustment for confounders.
  • High fat cheese consumption was continuously associated with lower prediabetes risk. Total dairy and other dairy types were not associated with prediabetes risk in adjusted models, irrespective of fat content. Replacing high fat cheese with alternative dairy types was not associated with prediabetes risk.
  • Overall, the highest intake of high fat fermented dairy, cheese and high fat cheese were associated with a lower risk of prediabetes, whereas other dairy types were not associated. Cheese seems to be inversely associated with type 2 diabetes risk, despite high levels of saturated fatty acids and sodium.

Associations of Total Protein or Animal Protein Intake and Animal Protein Sources with Risk of Kidney Stones: A Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis. Asoudeh F, Talebi S, Mohammadi H, et al. Adv Nutr. 2022 Feb 18:nmac013.

  • Higher protein intake is usually associated with issues for kidney health and function.
  • Researchers conducted the present systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the association of total protein, animal protein and animal protein sources with risk of kidney stones in the general population.
  • A literature search was performed on PubMed/Medline, Scopus and EMBASE up to July 2021. A total of 14 prospective cohort studies were included.
  • A positive association was observed between higher intake of non-dairy animal protein (11% higher risk), total meat and meat products (22% higher risk), and processed meat (29% higher risk) with risk of kidney stones. There was an inverse association between higher intake of dairy protein and risk of kidney stones (9% lower risk).
  • Moreover, each 100 gram increment of red meat intake was significantly associated with increased risk of kidney stones (39% higher risk). Further observational studies are needed to confirm present results.

Effect of Whey-Derived Lactopeptide β-Lactolin on Memory in Healthy Adults: An Integrated Analysis of Data from Randomized Controlled Trials. Fukuda T, Kanatome A, Ano Y, et al. J Nutr Health Aging. 2022;26(2):127-132.

  • Epidemiological studies have shown that consumption of dairy products reduces the risk of dementia and cognitive decline in older individuals.
  • Tryptophan-tyrosine-related β-lactopeptides and their representative β-lactolin of glycine-threonine-tryptophan-tyrosine tetra-peptide have been identified as agents in dairy products, which improve cognitive function as well as memory function via the activation of the dopaminergic system in a mouse model of amnesia.
  • Previous clinical trials have shown that supplementation with β-lactolin improves memory retrieval in healthy older adults. Specifically, β-lactolin improved the scores in some neuropsychological tests. However, the effects of β-lactolin on memory function have not been clarified.
  • The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of β-lactolin on memory function using
  • Three randomized controlled trials evaluating the effect of β-lactolin on memory in healthy adults were selected for the integrated analysis.
  • The results showed that the score of cued recall among the neuropsychological tests in the β-lactolin group was significantly higher than that in the placebo group. In addition, the total memory score was higher but this difference was not significant.
  • Taken together, these results suggest that supplementation with β-lactolin improves cued recall in healthy older adults.

Antioxidant Activity of Milk and Dairy Products. Stobiecka M, Król J, Brodziak A. Animals (Basel). 2022 Jan 20;12(3):245.

  • The aim of the study was to present a review of literature data on the antioxidant potential of raw milk and dairy products (milk, fermented products, and cheese) and the possibility to modify its level at the milk production and processing stage.
  • Based on the available reports, it can be concluded that the consumption of products that are a rich source of bioactive components improves the antioxidant status of the organism and reduces the risk of development of many civilization diseases.
  • Milk and dairy products are undoubtedly rich sources of antioxidant compounds. Research indicates differences in the total antioxidant capacity of milk between animal species, which result from the differences in the chemical compositions of their milk. The content of antioxidant components in milk and the antioxidant potential can be modified through animal nutrition (e.g., supplementation of animal diets with various natural additives (herbal mixtures, waste from fruit and vegetable processing)).
  • The antioxidant potential of dairy products is associated with the quality of the raw material as well as the bacterial cultures and natural plant additives used. Antioxidant peptides released during milk fermentation increase the antioxidant capacity of dairy products, and the use of probiotic strains contributes its enhancement.
  • Investigations have shown that the antioxidant activity of dairy products can be enhanced by the addition of plant raw materials or their extracts in the production process. Natural plant additives should therefore be widely used in animal nutrition or as functional additives to dairy products.

An investigation into the relationship between social support, stress, and psychological well-being in farmers. Deegan A, Dunne S.J Community Psychol. 2022 Feb 7.

  • This study investigated the stress-buffering effect of social support on psychological well-being and impact of demographic factors on stress in a sample of farmers.
  • One-hundred and ninety-six farmers completed an online questionnaire including measures of social support, stress, psychological well-being, and demographics.
  • Overall, after controlling for stress, increased social support was associated with higher psychological well-being. Family support had a significant relationship with financial and farm-related factors of stress but not with psychological well-being, while friend and significant other support had a much greater impact on psychological well-being than family support.
  • Membership of a farming organization was found to be protective against social stress while working on one type of farm only (e.g., dairy) was protective against financial stress. The findings highlight the potential utility of the stress-buffering model in understanding stress among farmers. Future interventions which facilitate social support, reduce stress, and boost psychological well-being among farmers are needed.


Innovation, Economics, and Dairy Alternatives

Future foods: Alternative proteins, food architecture, sustainable packaging, and precision nutrition. Liu F, Li M, , McClements DJ, et al. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2022 Feb 25:1-22.

  • There are numerous challenges facing the modern food and agriculture industry that urgently need to be addressed, including feeding a growing global population, mitigating and adapting to climate change, decreasing pollution, waste, and biodiversity loss, and ensuring that people remain healthy. At the same time, foods should be safe, affordable, convenient, and delicious. The latest developments in science and technology are being deployed to address these issues.
  • Some of the most important elements within this modern food design approach are encapsulated by the MATCHING model: Meat-reduced; Automation; Technology-driven; Consumer-centric; Healthy; Intelligent; Novel;and Globalization.
  • In this review article, researchers focus on four key aspects that will be important for the creation of a new generation of healthier and more sustainable foods:
  1. emerging raw materials;
  2. structural design principles for creating innovative products;
  3. developments in eco-friendly packaging;
  4. precision nutrition and customized production of foods.
  • The researchers also highlight some of the most important new developments in science and technology that are being used to create future foods, including food architecture, synthetic biology, nanoscience, and sensory perception.

Investigating dairy microbiome: an opportunity to ensure quality, safety and typicity. Ferrocino I, Rantsiou K, Cocolin L. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2022 Feb;73:164-170.

  • A detailed understanding of the microbiome of cheese and dairy products is key to the optimization of flavour, appearance, overall quality and safety. Microorganisms (including bacteria, yeasts, moulds and viruses, especially bacteriophages) from the environment can enter the dairy supply chain at multiple stages with several implications. The ability to track these microorganisms and to understand their function and interaction can be greatly enhanced by the use of high-throughput sequencing.
  • Depending on the specific production technology, dairy products can harbor several strains and antibiotic-resistance genes that can potentially interact with the gut microbiome, once the product is ingested. Milk-associated or cheese-associated microbial communities with their interaction, function and diversity are a key factor for the dairy industry. Multi-omics approaches have been seldom utilized in literature and they need to be further considered.
  • Studying the role, origin, diversity and function of the microbial species involved in the complex system of dairy production can help improve processes in several fields of application. Integrating an extensive sampling procedure with an extensive culture based methodology is necessary. To this end, local producers, and in general stakeholders, should be guided to discover and maintain their microbial diversity.
  • A better management of microbial resources through precision fermentation processes will in turn reduce overall food losses and increase the possibility to use the microbiome in order to increase the local producers’ income.

The recent advances of near-infrared spectroscopy in dairy production-a review. Yakubu HG, Kovacs Z, Toth T, Bazar G. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2022;62(3):810-831.

  • One of the major issues confronting the dairy industry is the efficient evaluation of the quality of feed, milk and dairy products. Over the years, the use of rapid analytical methods in the dairy industry has become imperative. This is because of the documented evidence of adulteration, microbial contamination and the influence of feed on the quality of milk and dairy products.
  • Because of the delays involved in the use of wet chemistry methods during the evaluation of these products, rapid analytical techniques such as near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) has gained prominence and proven to be an efficient tool, providing instant results. The technique is rapid, nondestructive, precise and cost-effective, compared with other laboratory techniques.
  • Handheld NIRS devices are easily used on the farm to perform quality control measures on an incoming feed from suppliers, during feed preparation, milking and processing of cheese, butter and yoghurt. This ensures that quality feed, milk and other dairy products are obtained. This review considers research articles published in reputable journals which explored the possible application of NIRS in the dairy industry. Emphasis was on what quality parameters were easily measured with NIRS, and the limitations in some instances.

Can recombinant milk proteins replace those produced by animals? Hettinga K, Bijl E. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2022;75:102690.

  • The consumption of animal proteins in general, and dairy proteins in particular, is associated with sustainability and animal welfare issues. Recombinant synthesis of milk proteins is therefore receiving increasing interest, with several studies showing synthesis of milk proteins using a wide range of expression systems.
  • Achieving a high yield and purity is essential for economic production. Besides the synthesis, also the construction of the specific structure in which milk proteins are present in animal milks, casein micelles, is needed. Finally, the production of animal-free dairy products also depends on legislation and societal acceptance.
  • Milk proteins produced using recombinant synthesis would be seen as novel food, and therefore require specific regulatory approval. Looking at the current state-of-the-art, the steps to produce recombinant dairy products are technically feasible, but whether it can be implemented at low cost, with the process being environmentally friendly, remains to be seen in the coming years.

Nutritional content, protein quantity, protein quality and carbon footprint of plant-based drinks and semi-skimmed milk in the Netherlands and Europe. Singh-Povel CM, van Gool MP, Hettinga KA, et al. Public Health Nutr. 2022 Feb 23:1-35.

  • Given the increasing consumption of plant-based drinks in children and adults, it is important to determine the nutritional impact of replacing bovine milk by these drinks.
  • The objective of this study was to compare the nutritional composition of bovine milk and several plant-based drinks with a focus on protein and essential amino acid content and to determine the ratio of essential amino acids to greenhouse gas emission.
  • Nutritional information on the label was extracted for semi-skimmed milk, soy, oat, almond, coconut and rice drink for the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Sweden. Protein and amino acids were measured, and carbon footprint was calculated for a selection of Dutch products. Protein quality was determined by calculating the contribution to the WHO essential amino acids requirements.
  • Nutritional label information was collected for 399 products. Milk naturally contains many micronutrients, e.g. vitamin B2, B12, and calcium. Approximately 50% of the regular plant-based drinks was fortified with calcium, whereas the organic plant-based drinks were mostly unfortified. Protein quantity and quality were highest in milk. Soy drink had the best protein quality to carbon footprint ratio and milk came in second.
  • In conclusion, the nutrition – climate change balance presented in this study, is in line with previous literature, which shows that semi-skimmed bovine milk and fortified soy drink deserve a place in a sustainable diet.

Plant and Dairy-Based Yogurts: A Comparison of Consumer Sensory Acceptability Linked to Textural Analysis. Gupta MK, Torrico DD, Cottrell JJ, et al. Foods. 2022 Feb 4;11(3):463.

  • Yogurt, readily available in plant and dairy-based formulations, is widely consumed and linked with health benefits.
  • This research is aimed to understand the sensory and textural spectrum of commercially available dairy and plant-based yogurts.
  • In a preliminary study, qualitative focus group discussions (4 groups; n= 32) were used to determine perceptions of 28 dairy and plant-based yogurts, identifying positive consumer perceptions of plant-based yogurts. A smaller subset of five spoonable and one drinkable yogurts-(Reference, Soy, Coconut, Cookies, Berry, and Drinkable) was subsequently selected for rheological and structural measurements, showing wide variations in the microstructure and rheology of selected yogurt samples.
  • A quantitative blind sensory tasting (n= 117) showed varying yogurt acceptability, with Berry being the least-liked and Cookies being the most-liked yogurt, in terms of overall liking. The multi-factor analysis confirmed that compositional and textural elements, including protein content, gel firmness, and consistency coefficient, displayed a positive relationship with overall liking. In contrast, fat, sugar, and calories were negatively correlated to the overall liking.
  • This research showed that texture and other compositional factors are significant determinants of the consumer acceptability of yogurt products and are essential properties to consider in product development.