Environmental Management and Sustainability

Assessing the environmental impact of resource recovery from dairy manure. Glover CJ, McDonnell A, Rollins KS, Hiibel SR, Cornejo PK. J Environ Manage. 2023 Jan 4;330:117150.

  • Manure management is a major contributor to environmental impacts from large-scale dairy production.
  • In this study, technologies for recovering energy, nutrients, and water from dairy manure were evaluated using life cycle assessment (LCA) and compared to conventional practices on California dairy farms.
  • Six scenarios were evaluated: conventional manure management practices, anaerobic digestion (AD) for biogas recovery, and four scenarios for nutrients, energy, and water integrated recovery, called NEWIR. The NEWIR system consists of hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) for energy recovery via hydrochar, algae cultivation in the HTC aqueous product for nutrient recovery and production of protein-rich cattle feed, and water recovery from algae pond effluent via membrane distillation.
  • Four NEWIR scenarios were evaluated, each with a different species of algae. Based on the results of the LCA, AD improves GHG emissions relative to conventional practices by 82%, but has similar eutrophication impacts, posing similar concerns for nutrient management as current practices.
  • Results for the NEWIR system are highly dependent on the algae species used. Three of the four species evaluated (Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, Chlorella vulgaris, and Scenedesmus obliquus) improve GHG emissions by 420-500 kg CO2-eq. per functional unit, while net water consumption is increased by approximately 75% over AD and conventional practices Spirulina maxima requires more water and chemical inputs for cultivation than the other species, resulting in higher water use (21 times higher than baseline), though GHG emissions are still reduced by 85 kg CO2-eq. per functional unit relative to conventional practices.
  • All NEWIR scenarios improve eutrophication impacts relative to AD and conventional practices by 16-46% for marine eutrophication and 18-99% for freshwater eutrophication, depending on the algae species used.
  • The results suggest integrated resource recovery through NEWIR is a promising treatment method for manure to mitigate GHG emissions and improve nutrient management on large-scale farms. In addition, carbon and nutrient trading policies are discussed in relation to resource recovery technologies and their potential to incentivize producers to recover products from dairy manure.

Nitrification rate in dairy cattle urine patches can be inhibited by changing soil bioavailable Cu concentration. Matse DT, Jeyakumar P, Bishop P, Anderson CWN. Environ Pollut. 2023 Jan 17;320:121107.

  • Ammonia oxidation to hydroxylamine is catalyzed by the ammonia monooxygenase enzyme and copper (Cu) is a key element for this process.
  • Researchers investigated the effect of soil bioavailable Cu changes induced through the application of Cu-complexing compounds on nitrification rate, ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and archaea (AOA) amoA gene abundance, and mineral nitrogen (N) leaching in urine patches using the Manawatu Recent soil.
  • Further, researchers evaluated the combination of organic compound calcium lignosulphonate (LS) with a growth stimulant Gibberellic acid (GA). Treatments were applied in May 2021 as late-autumn treatments: control (no urine), urine-only at 600 kg N ha-1, urine + dicyandiamide (DCD), urine + co-poly-acrylic-maleic acid (PA-MA), urine + LS, urine + split-application of LS (2LS), and urine + combination of GA plus LS (GA + LS).
  • In addition, another four treatments were applied in July 2021 as mid-winter treatments: control, urine-only at 600 kg N ha-1, urine + GA, and urine + GA + LS. Soil bioavailable Cu and mineral N leaching were examined during the experimental period.
  • Changes in soil bioavailable Cu across treatments correlated with nitrification rate and AOB amoA abundance in late-autumn while the AOA amoA abundance did not change. The reduction in soil bioavailable Cu induced by the PA-MA and 2LS was linked to significant (P < 0.05) reduction in mineral N leaching of 16 and 30%, respectively, relative to the urine-only.
  • The LS did not induce a significant effect on either bioavailable Cu or mineral N leaching relative to urine-only. The GA + LS reduced mineral N leaching by 10% relative to LS in late-autumn, however, there was no significant effect in mid-winter.
  • This study demonstrated that reducing soil bioavailable Cu can be a potential strategy to reduce N leaching from urine patches.

Effects of microbial inoculant and additives on pile composting of cow manure. Yang Q, Zhang S, Li X, Rong K, Li J, Jiang L. Front Microbiol. 2023 Jan 5;13:1084171.

  • Composting is an effective method of recycling organic solid waste, and it is the key process linking planting with recycling.
  • To explore the reuse of agricultural organic solid waste as a resource in the Yellow River Delta, the effects of microbial inoculant and different additives (calcium superphosphate, biochar, tomato straw, rice husk, and sugar residue) on pile composting of cow dung were studied to obtain the best composting conditions.
  • The results showed that microbial inoculant and additives all played positive roles in the process of aerobic composting, and the experimental groups outperformed the control groups without any additives.
  • For discussion, the microbial inoculant promoted rapid pile body heating more than the recovery materials alone, and the effects on aerobic composting were related to the organic matter of substrates and biochar. After being composted, all the materials were satisfactorily decomposed. Degradation of additives into humic acid might serve as electron shuttles to promote thorough organic matter decomposition.
  • These results provide a scientific basis data for industrial composting of organic solid waste processed by on-site stacking, and provide a reference for researcher and practitioners for studying the applications of microbial inoculant on aerobic composting.

Long-Term Manure Amendment Sustains Black Soil Biodiversity by Mitigating Acidification Induced by Chemical N Fertilization. Sun L, Yu Y, Petropoulos E, Cui X, Wang S. Microorganisms. 2022 Dec 25;11(1):64.

  • The long-term use of chemical N fertilization may have a negative impact upon soil fertility and quality. On the contrary, organic fertilization is considered a sustainable development agricultural strategy. However, the remediation effect of organic fertilization on agroecosystems remains unclear.
  • This study was conducted in a long-term (1979-2020) field experiment to investigate the influence of organic and chemical fertilizers on the soil microbiome assembly processes.
  • The experiment consisted of six treatments: chemical N fertilization (N), double N fertilization (N2), organic fertilization (M), organic and N fertilization (MN), double organic and N fertilization (M2N2), and unfertilized control.
  • The chemical N fertilization (N and N2) treatments significantly decreased soil microbial diversity, as well as soil pH, compared to the Control treatments. MN and M2N2 treatments increased microbial diversity compared to that of N and N2 treatments. The combination of organic and chemical N fertilizer recovered the decreased microbial diversity to the level of the Control and M treatments, but the application of double organic fertilizer (M2N2) still showed a significantly lower microbial diversity than that of the Control and M treatments.
  • From the results of the microbial community assembly processes, it was found that environmental filtering was induced by N fertilization, while organic fertilization developed a stochastic process and mitigated the role of environmental filtering in the community assembly process. An ecological network analysis showed that the decrease in Acidobacteriain organic fertilization treatments played a key role in mitigating the soil acidification induced by 40-year chemical N fertilization. It indicated that organic fertilizer could mitigate the decrease in soil fertility induced by chemical N fertilization.
  • Higher environmental filtering effects in M2N2 than those in MN treatments suggested that the mitigation effect of organic fertilizer was weakened when double chemical N fertilization was applied in black soils. These results are helpful for a unified understanding of the ecological processes for microbial communities in the development of sustainable agriculture.

Animal manure as a biostimulant in bioremediation of oil-contaminated soil: the role of earthworms. Adewoyin JA, Arimoro FO. Environ Monit Assess. 2023 Jan 12;195(2):293.

  • The dire need for environmental sustainability has triggered researchers to seek out organic substrates as an alternative to synthetic fertilizers in order to enhance bioremediation. Presently, nitrogen-rich organic substrate not only proffered the solution but also have proven useful in enhancing the rate of bioremediation.
  • Animal manure is a nitrogen-rich organic substrate which has been found very effective for stimulating plant growth. Some of the animal manure used by researchers are poultry droppings, cow manure, goat manure, and pig manure.
  • In all the papers reviewed, it was gathered that animal manure enhances bioremediation by providing nutrients favoring microbial growth and activities responsible hydrocarbon degradation. However, of the four commonly used animal manures, poultry droppings was reported to be a better biostimulant. Also, animal manure when sun-dried and pulverized yielded better results.
  • It was observed that animal manure serves as substrates for earthworms which further accelerates the potential of the earthworms to remediate the soil. Also, the pollution of soil by crude oil causes a surge in its carbon content which may slow down microbial growth and activities. Thorough review of literatures, however, indicates that animal manure is capable of providing appropriate nutrient concentrations to offset such imbalance.
  • Studies continue to lay credence to the efficacy of animal manure in enhancing microbial growth and activities responsible for the biodegradation of hydrocarbons contained in crude oil. Furthermore, the co-application of animal manure with other bioremediation strategies, such as phytoremediation and vermiremediation, should be combined for effective bioremediation of oil-contaminated environment.

Synergistic effect of biochar amendment in milk processing industry sludge and cattle dung during the vermiremediation. Dutta R, Angmo D, Singh J, Bala Chowdhary A, Quadar J, Singh S, Pal Vig A. Bioresour Technol. 2023 Jan 11;371:128612.

  • The effective and sustainable management of fast growing and large quantities of industrial waste is a serious issue.
  • The purpose of the present study was to assess the synergistic effect of biochar (BC) amended in milk processing industry sludge (MS) mixed with cattle dung (CD) in different ratios through vermiremediation.
  • The MS25and MS25BC10 (25:75 + 10 % BC) showed the least mortality and greatest earthworm growth and development.
  • The final product from all feed mixtures recorded a decrease in pH, total organic carbon and C/N ratio. Other parameters viz., electrical conductivity, total available phosphorus, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, total sodium, total potassium and ash content was observed to be increased after vermicomposting.
  • Significantly lower heavy metal content was found in all biochar amended feed mixtures than in mixtures without biochar. The germination index of Trigonella foenum-graecum showed a value ranging from 89.14 to 131.46 % for mixtures without BC and 115.18-153.47 % for biochar amended mixtures.


Animal Health and Food Safety

Is AMR in Dairy Products a Threat to Human Health? An Updated Review on the Origin, Prevention, Treatment, and Economic Impacts of Subclinical Mastitis. Paramasivam R, Gopal DR, Muthupandian S, et al. Infect Drug Resist. 2023 Jan 6;16:155-178.

  • Bovine mastitis is the most frequent and costly illness impacting dairy herds worldwide. The presence of subclinical mastitis in dairy cows has an impact on the decreased output of milk and milk quality, culling of affected cows, mortality rate, as well as mastitis-related treatment expenses, generating significant financial loss to the dairy industry.
  • The pathogenic bacteria invade through the mammary gland, which then multiply in the milk-producing tissues causing infection, and the presence of pathogenic bacteria in milk is concerning, jeopardizes human health, and also has public health consequences. Intervention to promote herd health is essential to protect public health and the economy.
  • This review attempts to provide an overview of subclinical mastitis, including mastitis in different species, the effect of mastitis on human health and its pathogenic mechanism, the prevalence and incidence of subclinical mastitis, and current preventive, diagnostic, and treatment methods for subclinical mastitis. It also elaborates on the management practices that should be followed by the farms to improve herd immunity and health.
  • This review brings the importance of the threat of antimicrobial resistance organisms to the dairy industry. Furthermore, this review gives a glimpse of the economic consequences faced by the farmers and a futuristic mastitis market analysis in the dairy industry.

Gestational and health outcomes of dairy cows conceived by assisted reproductive technologies compared to artificial insemination. Lafontaine S, Cue RI, Sirard MA. Theriogenology. 2023 Jan 4;198:282-291.

  • Herd gestation and health management are key aspects of effective dairy farm operations and animal welfare improvement. Unfortunately, very little is known about the developmental divergences induced by assisted reproduction technologies (ART) and their consequences once the animal is mature.
  • In this study, the intergenerational impacts of ART conception were assessed by looking at the gestation and health outcomes of a large cohort of cows (n = 284,813) for which the conception methods were known.
  • These results showed that cows conceived by multiple ovulation embryo transfer (MOET) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) displayed longer gestations: +0.37 ± 0.079 and +0.65 ± 0.21 day compared to cows conceived by artificial insemination (AI).
  • Surprisingly, animals conceived by all methods experienced a similar 1-day decline in average gestation length from 2012 to 2019.
  • Cows conceived by IVF were not more likely to experience stillbirths but were affected by common diseases such as ovarian cysts, mastitis, and uterine diseases in different proportions compared to cows conceived by other methods.
  • This study provides new and unique information on ART animals regarding perinatal mortality and general health outcomes.

Effects of monensin supplementation on lactation performance of dairy cows: a systematic review and dose-response meta‑analysis. Rezaei Ahvanooei MR, Norouzian MA, Piray AH, Vahmani P, Ghaffari MH. Sci Rep. 2023 Jan 11;13(1):568.

  • The inclusion of feed additives such as antibiotics (ionophores or non-ionophores) to the diet to alter the fermentation pattern in the rumen is one of the nutritional strategies used since the 1950s to improve feed efficiency in ruminants. Carboxylic ionophores, including lasalocid, monensin, salinomycin, narasin, and maduramycin, are used as growth stimulants in ruminants, with monensin being the most commonly used agent.
  • Monensin disrupts transmembrane movement and intracellular balance of ions in certain classes of bacteria and protozoa found in the gastrointestinal tract and triggers a selection mechanism for certain types of microorganisms, which may be beneficial to the host. However, the use of monensin can lead to resistance of certain bacterial strains to various antimicrobial agents, which is a major public health concern.
  • The aim of this study was to conduct a comprehensive review with meta-analysis to determine the effects of the dose-response relationship between monensin supplementation and dairy cow performance and milk composition.
  • Results from 566 full-text articles and 48 articles with 52 studies showed that Monensin supplementation up to 23 ppm increased milk production, with the optimal dose being 12.6 ppm.
  • Monensin supplementation at doses ranging from 16 to 96 ppm increased milk production in the prepartum phase (- 28 to 0 day relative to calving). From 60 to 150 days in milk, monensin supplementation up to 21 ppm had a significant positive effect on this outcome, while supplementation in the 37 to 96 ppm range caused a decrease in this variable. At 0 to 60 and > 150 day in milk, monensin supplementation had no effect on milk yield.
  • At dosages of 22 to 96 ppm, 12 to 36 ppm, and below 58 ppm and 35 ppm, respectively, monensin supplementation resulted in significant decreases in dry matter intake, milk protein percentage, milk fat percentage, and milk fat yield.
  • Overall, based on the results of this meta-analysis and considering all variables, the recommended optimal dose of monensin could be about 16 ppm.

Low-cost, on-farm intervention to reduce spores in bulk tank raw milk benefits producers, processors, and consumers. Evanowski RL, Murphy SI, Wiedmann M, Martin NH. J Dairy Sci. 2023 Jan 27:S0022-0302(23)00031-0.

  • Bacterial spores, which are found in raw milk, can survive harsh processing conditions encountered in dairy manufacturing, including pasteurization and drying. Low-spore raw milk is desirable for dairy industry stakeholders, especially those who want to extend the shelf life of their product, expand their distribution channels, or reduce product spoilage.
  • A recent study showed that an on-farm intervention that included washing towels with chlorine bleach and drying them completely, as well as training milking parlor employees to focus on teat end cleaning, significantly reduced spore levels in bulk tank raw milk. As a follow up to that previous study, here researchers calculate the costs associated with that previously described intervention as ranging from $9.49 to $13.35 per cow per year, depending on farm size.
  • A Monte Carlo model was used to predict the shelf life of high temperature, short time fluid milk processed from raw milk before and after this low-cost intervention was applied, based on experimental data collected in a previous study.
  • The model predicted that 18.24% of half-gallon containers of fluid milk processed from raw milk receiving no spore intervention would exceed the pasteurized milk ordinance limit of 20,000 cfu/mL by 17 d after pasteurization, while only 16.99% of containers processed from raw milk receiving the spore intervention would reach this level 17 d after pasteurization (a reduction of 1.25 percentage points and a 6.85% reduction).
  • Finally, a survey of consumer milk use was conducted to determine how many consumers regularly consume fluid milk near or past the date printed on the package (i.e., code date), which revealed that over 50% of fluid milk consumers surveyed continue to consume fluid milk after this date, indicating that a considerable proportion of consumers are exposed to fluid milk that is likely to have high levels spore-forming bacterial growth and possibly associated quality defects (e.g., flavor or odor defects).
  • This further highlights the importance of reducing spore levels in raw milk to extend pasteurized fluid milk shelf life and thereby reducing the risk of adverse consumer experiences. Processors who are interested in extending fluid milk shelf life by controlling the levels of spores in the raw milk supply should consider incentivizing low-spore raw milk through premium payments to producers.

Struggling to improve farm biosecurity: Do free advice and subsidies hit the target? Preite L, Barroso P, Romero B, Balseiro A, Gortázar C.Prev Vet Med. 2023 Jan 8;212:105839.

  • Biosafety measures (BSMs) often aim at reducing the likelihood of cross-species interactions at the wildlife-livestock interface. Examples include means to segregate wild ungulates from cattle at waterholes or at feeders.
  • Subsidies or incentives for BSM implementation are expected to contribute to improved BSM acceptance. However, several recent experiences led us to write a cautionary commentary on the variable success of incentives in farm biosafety promotion.
  • In this article, the authors list examples where, after offering farm-specific biosecurity action plans for free or subsidizing 100% of the cost of a given BSM, 25-40% of the farmers remained unwilling to invest efforts in farm biosafety and BSM maintenance.
  • The authors suggest seeking a better understanding of farmers’ motivations through social science research, to train farm veterinarians on biosecurity and on how to tailor biosafety communication, and to set up formal regional risk mitigation programs including financial, logistical, and educational assistance, as well as monitoring plans, through public-private collaboration.


Human Health and Nutrition

Dairy Food Consumption Is Associated with Reduced Risk of Heart Disease Mortality, but Not All-Cause and Cancer Mortality in US Adults. Papanikolaou Y, Fulgoni VL 3rd. Nutrients. 2023 Jan 12;15(2):394.

  • Previous evidence has linked animal protein intake, including dairy foods, with an increased risk in mortality from all-causes and certain chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
  • The objective of the current analysis was to examine associations between total dairy consumption with mortality from all-causes, cancer, and heart disease.
  • Data for adults (≥19 y; n= 54,830) from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and NHANES 1999-2014 were linked with mortality data through 2015. Individual usual intake for dairy foods were estimated using the National Cancer Institute method.
  • No associations were seen between dairy food intake and mortality risk from all-causes [HR = 0.97], and cancer [HR = 0.95] when comparing the lowest quartile to the highest quartile of consumption. Dairy food consumption was associated with a 26% reduced risk for heart disease mortality when comparing the lowest quartile to the highest quartile [HR = 0.74].
  • Further analyses in different age groups showed that dairy food consumption was associated with 39% and 31% reduced risk for heart disease mortality in older adults 51-70 and ≥51 years old, respectively.
  • These results contradict previous findings that have linked dairy foods to increased mortality risk. Further, dairy foods as part of a healthy dietary pattern, may help lower heart disease mortality risk.

Milk consumption and risk of twelve cancers: A large-scale observational and Mendelian randomization study. Lumsden AL, Mulugeta A, Hyppönen E. Clin Nutr. 2023 Jan;42(1):1-8.

  • Milk consumption is a modifiable lifestyle factor that has been associated with several cancer types in observational studies. Limited evidence exists regarding the causality of these relationships.
  • Using a genetic variant (rs4988235) near the lactase gene (LCT) locus that proxies milk consumption, researchers conducted a comprehensive survey to assess potential causal relationships between milk consumption and 12 types of cancer.
  • The analyses were conducted using white British participants of the UK Biobank (n = up to 255,196), the FinnGen cohort (up to 260,405), and available cancer consortia. The study included cancers with previous evidence of an association with milk consumption in observational studies, as well as cancers common in both UK Biobank and FinnGen populations (>1000 cases).
  • In Mendelian randomization (MR) meta-analyses, case numbers for cancers of breast, ovary, uterus, cervix, prostate, bladder and urinary tract, colorectum, and lung ranged between 6,000 and 148,000 cases, and between 780 and 1342 cases for cancers of the liver, mouth, stomach and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
  • In observational analyses, milk consumption was associated with higher risk of bladder and urinary tract cancer (OR 1.23), but not with any other cancer. This association was not confirmed in the MR analysis, and genetically predicted milk consumption showed a significant association only with lower risk of colorectal cancer (OR 0.89, per additional 50 g/day).
  • In the MR analyses conducted among individual cohorts, genetically predicted milk consumption provided evidence for an association with lower colorectal cancer in the FinnGen cohort (OR 0.85), and in the UK Biobank greater risk of female breast cancer (OR 1.12), and uterine cancer in pre-menopausal females (OR 3.98).
  • In a comprehensive survey of milk-cancer associations, we confirm of a protective role of milk consumption for colorectal cancer. Our analyses also provide some suggestion for higher risks of breast cancer and premenopausal uterine cancer, warranting further investigation.

Supplementation with Whey Protein, but Not Pea Protein, Reduces Muscle Damage Following Long-Distance Walking in Older Adults. Spoelder M, Koopmans L, Hartman YAW, Bongers CCWG, Schoofs MCA, Eijsvogels TMH, Hopman MTE. Nutrients. 2023 Jan 10;15(2):342.

  • Adequate animal-based protein intake can attenuate exercise induced-muscle damage (EIMD) in young adults.
  • Therefore, researchers examined the effects of 13 days plant-based (pea) protein supplementation compared to whey protein and placebo on EIMD in active older adults.
  • 47 Physically active older adults (60+ years) were randomly allocated to the following groups: (I) whey protein (25 g/day), (II) pea protein (25 g/day) or (III) iso-caloric placebo.
  • Blood concentrations of creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and skeletal muscle mass, muscle strength and muscle soreness were measured prior to and 24 h, 48 h and 72 h after a long-distance walking bout (20-30 km).
  • The whey group showed a significant attenuation of the increase in EIMD at 24 hours post-exercise compared to the pea and placebo group (CK concentration: 175 ± 90 versus 300 ± 309 versus 330 ± 165).
  • No differences in LDH levels, muscle strength, skeletal muscle mass and muscle soreness were observed across groups.
  • In conclusion, 13 days of pea protein supplementation (25 g/day) does not attenuate EIMD in older adults following a single bout of prolonged walking exercise, whereas the whey protein supplementation group showed significantly lower post-exercise CK concentrations.

Acute Benefits of Acidified Milk Drinks with 10-g and 15-g Protein on Shifting and Updating Performances in Young Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nouchi R, Butler LT, Lamport D, Nouchi H, Kawashima R. Nutrients. 2023 Jan 13;15(2):431.

  • Accumulating evidence has shown that protein-rich milk drinks can rapidly improve cognitive performance. However, the optimum doses of milk protein that are needed to improve cognitive function remain to be investigated.
  • This study aimed to determine whether acidified milk drinks with 10-g and 15-g milk protein have acute benefits on key cognitive functions in healthy young adults.
  • In this double-blinded randomized control trial, 66 young adults were randomly assigned to one of three groups (0-g, 10-g, and 15-g milk protein groups). Key cognitive functions (processing speed, inhibition, shifting, updating, and working memory capacity) were assessed before and 15 and 60 min after the drink intake.
  • The researchers found that the shifting performance improved at 15 min after intake of the acidified 10-g and 15-g milk protein drinks compared to intake of the 0-g milk protein drink, and this acute effect of the acidified 15-g milk protein drink lasted for 60 min. In addition, updating performance improved at 60 min after intake of the acidified 10-g and 15-g milk protein drinks compared to intake of the 0-g milk protein drink.
  • These findings suggest that the acidified 10-g and 15-g milk protein drinks have an acute benefit on shifting and updating performance in healthy young adults.

A Cross Sectional Study of Respiratory and Allergy Status in Dairy Workers. Carmona J, deMarcken M, Rabinowitz P, et al. J Agromedicine. 2023 Jan 27.

  • Workers on dairy farms face exposures to organic dusts and endotoxin. At the same time, a number of studies of farmers have reported a lower prevalence of asthma in farmworkers compared to persons without farm contact.
  • The “hygiene hypothesis” suggests that early life exposures on farms could be protective against allergic disease and asthma. Such protective relationships are less well studied in adult farm workers.
  • Therefore,a cross-sectional analysis of respiratory function and allergy status was performed in a sample of dairy farm workers (n=42) and community controls (n=40). Measures of respiratory status (spirometry, exhaled nitric oxide FeNO, self-reported symptoms) and levels of total and bovine-specific IgE were compared between the groups.
  • Prevalence of self-reported asthma and most respiratory symptoms was similar in the two groups, with the exception of increased report of dyspnea among dairy workers. In the dairy workers, level of lung function was not reduced and FeNO was not increased. In unadjusted and adjusted models, dairy work was not associated with reduced lung function or increased airway inflammation.
  • Mean IgE levels did not differ significantly between workers and controls, but elevated bovine-specific IgE was detected only among dairy workers, with an apparent association between elevated bovine IgE and increased FeNO.
  • In conclusion,while dairy workers did not demonstrate increased asthma prevalence compared to controls, sensitization to bovine antigen in several workers appeared to be associated with airway inflammation. Occupational health programs for dairy workers should consider the risk of animal allergy as part of respiratory health protection efforts.

Building Global Consensus on Nutrition Metrics to Support Food System Transformation: A Dairy Case Study. Miller GD, McMahan J, Ragalie-Carr J, Maisano M, Brown K. Nutrition Today. 2023 Jan 2; 58(1): p 39-36.

  • A new assessment, conducted by nutrition and environmental scientists within the dairy sector, underscores the need to improve the characterization and reporting of nutrition and health outcomes in the context of food system transformation.
  • To date, global stakeholders have more narrowly prioritized the environmental aspects of sustainable food production and diets. The urgent next step is to draw from established nutrition/health-focused frameworks to align global stakeholders around a consistent set of metrics and indicators that are measurable and evidence-based and accurately reflect benefits and harms to public nutrition and health.
  • More than 3000 companies and financial institutions have rallied around the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) to consistently measure and demonstrate progress toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Can a similar and complementary effort be undertaken to bring uniformity to the measurement of progress against nutrition and health targets?
  • There is currently great variation in how this domain is measured. Yet, in an era of food system transformation, what—and how—progress is measured matters. “Sustainability” is not measured in isolation: making decisions based on one aspect of food systems, such as the environment, without accounting for other domains, such as nutrition and health, may result in unintended consequences.
  • It is essential that considerations for diet quality, diversity and nutrient density, food security, affordability, and accessibility, noncommunicable disease risk reduction and outcomes, and other health-related topics be addressed by quantitative, consistent metrics that motivate efforts in the pursuit of food system transformation.


Innovation, Economics, and Dairy Alternatives

Enzymatic production of a suite of human milk oligosaccharides directly in milk.
Perna VN, Meier S, Meyer AS. Enzyme Microb Technol. 2023 Jan 13;165:110196. 

  • Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) denote specific glycans in human breast milk. They function as prebiotics, immune modulating, and antimicrobial agents in the gut of breastfed infants, and certain HMOs even promote the cognitive development of the baby.
  • HMOs are virtually absent in cow’s milk and hence in infant formula, which provides a huge incentive for identifying ways in which HMOs can be produced to improve infant formulas.
  • Here, researchers show that different sialylated and fucosylated HMOs can be generated in cow’s milk via different simultaneous enzymatic transglycosylation reactions catalyzed by an engineered sialidase (EC, from Trypanosoma rangeli) and an 1,2-α-L-fucosidase (EC, from Tannerella forsinthia) acting on the lactose in the milk and on casein glycomacropeptide, two types of commercially available HMOs, i.e. 2′-fucosyllactose and lacto-N-neotetraose, added to the milk.
  • The researchers also outline the details of the individual reactions in aqueous systems, demonstrate that the enzymatic reactions can be accomplished at 5 °C, and validate the products formed by LC-MS and NMR analysis.
  • Enzymatic production of HMOs directly in milk provides opportunities for enriching milk and infant formulas and extends the use of enzymatic transglycosylation reactions to synthesis of HMOs in milk and eventually in other beverages.

Whey Protein Films for Sustainable Food Packaging: Effect of Incorporated Ascorbic Acid and Environmental Assessment. Etxabide A, Arregi M, Cabezudo S, Guerrero P, de la Caba K. Polymers (Basel). 2023 Jan 11;15(2):387.

  • The management of food waste and by-products has become a challenge for the agri-food sector and an example are whey by-products produced in dairy industries. Seeking other whey valorization alternatives and applications, whey protein films for food packaging applications were developed in this study.
  • Films containing different amounts (0, 5, 10, and 15 wt%) of ascorbic acid were manufactured via compression-molding and their physicochemical, thermal, barrier, optical, and mechanical properties were analyzed and related to the film structure.
  • Additionally, the environmental assessment of the films was carried out to analyze the impact of film manufacture.
  • Regarding physicochemical properties, both Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and water uptake analyses showed the presence of non-covalent interactions, such as hydrogen bonding, between whey protein and ascorbic acid as band shifts at the 1500-1700 cm-1region as well as a water absorption decrease from 380% down to 240% were observed.
  • The addition of ascorbic acid notably improved the UV-Vis light absorbance capacity of whey protein films up to 500 nm, a relevant enhancement for protecting foods susceptible to UV-Vis light-induced lipid oxidation.
  • In relation to the environmental assessment, it was concluded that scaling up film manufacture could lead to a reduction in the environmental impacts, mainly electricity consumption.

Green solvent processing: Effect of type of solvent on extraction and quality of protein from dairy and non-dairy expired milk products. Kamal H, Ali A, Le CF. Food Chem. 2023 Jan 30;400:133988.

  • Dairy products have high quality protein but a short shelf life, hence expired products are often disposed due to lack of methods to recover valuable protein.
  • Solvent extraction is conventionally used in protein extraction as a complete process or as an essential pre-requisite and is indispensable. The proper selection of solvent not only affects the yield but the quality of extracted protein too.
  • The present study was designed to study the effect of green solvent processing: (i) to extract valuable protein from dairy and non-dairy expired milk products, and (ii) to compare extraction efficiency and quality of extracted protein using conventional (CS) and green solvents (GS). The overall purpose was to highlight the commercial valorization potential of recycled protein as co-products in production of food and non-food products.
  • Ethyl acetate, ethanol, isopropanol, n-heptane and cyclopentyl methyl ether (CPME) were selected as the GS for the possible substitution of hexane and ethyl ether.
  • For each respective solvent, protein recovery, structural and functional modifications were studied. Protein yield was extracted most effectively by GS n-heptane in dairy milk (5.33 ± 0.01%) with a protein purity of 39.73 ± 0.90%.
  • The results highlighted, higher protein recovery from GS than CS. However, the overall protein recovery was low. Microstructure revealed major changes in the structural characterization of extracted protein. GS extracted protein was found to be less detrimental in structural changes co-relating to functional properties. Lastly, in comparison to non-treated samples, extracted proteins showed diminished functional stability.
  • Overall, non-dairy milk and product had similar protein yield when treated with CS and GS. However, structural and functional modifications across all samples showed GS solvents were statistically more effective, less toxic, and had a lower carbon footprint than CS.

Simultaneous dairy wastewater treatment and bioelectricity production in a new microbial fuel cell using photosynthetic Synechococcus. Khodadi S, Karbassi A, Tavakoli O, Baghdadi M, Zare Z. Int Microbiol. 2023 Jan 21.

  • Photosynthetic microbial fuel cell (PMFC) is a novel technology, which employs organic pollutants and organisms to produce electrons and biomass and capture CO2by bio-reactions.
  • In this study, a new PMFC was developed based on Synechococcus sp. as a biocathode, and dairy wastewater was used in the anode chamber.
  • Different experiments including batch feed mode, semi-continuous feed mode, Synechococcus feedstock to the anode chamber, Synechococcus-Chlorella mixed system, the feedstock of treated wastewater to the cathode chamber, and use of extra nutrients in the anodic chamber were performed to investigate the behavior of the PMFC system.
  • The results indicated that the PMFC with a semi-continuous feed mode is more effective than a batch mode for electricity generation and pollutant removal. Herein, maximum power density, chemical oxygen demand removal, and Coulombic efficiency were 6.95 mW/m2(450 Ω internal resistance), 62.94, and 43.16%, respectively, through mixing Synechococcus sp. and Chlorella algae in the batch-fed mode.
  • The maximum nitrate and orthophosphate removal rates were 98.83 and 68.5%, respectively, wherein treated wastewater in the anode was added to the cathode. No significant difference in Synechococcus growth rate was found between the cathodic chamber of PMFC and the control cultivation cell.
  • The heating value of the biocathode biomass at maximum Synechococcus growth rate (adding glucose into the anode chamber) was 0.2235 MJ/Kg, indicating the cell’s high ability for carbon dioxide recovery.
  • This study investigated not only simultaneous bioelectricity production and dairy wastewater in a new PMFC using Synechococcus sp. but also studied several operational parameters and presented useful information about their effect on PMFC performance.

Therapeutic uses and applications of bovine lactoferrin in aquatic animal medicine: an overview. Abdelnour SA, Ghazanfar S, Abdel-Hamid M, Abdel-Latif HMR, Zhang Z, Naiel MAE. Vet Res Commun. 2023 Jan 20.

  • Aquaculture is an important food sector throughout the globe because of its importance in ensuring the availability of nutritious and safe food for human beings. In recent years, this sector has been challenged with several obstacles especially the emergence of infectious disease outbreaks.
  • Various treatment and control aspects, including antibiotics, antiseptics, and other anti-microbial agents, have been used to treat farmed fish and shrimp against diseases. Nonetheless, these medications have been prohibited and banned in many countries because of the development of antimicrobial-resistant bacterial strains, the accumulation of residues in the flesh of farmed fish and shrimp, and their environmental threats to aquatic ecosystems.
  • Therefore, scientists and researchers have concentrated their research on finding natural and safe products to control disease outbreaks. From these natural products, bovine lactoferrin can be utilized as a functional feed supplement.
  • Bovine lactoferrin is a multi-functional glycoprotein applied in various industries, like food preservation, and numerous medications, due to its non-toxic and ecological features. Recent research has proposed multiple advantages and benefits of using bovine lactoferrin in aquaculture.
  • Reports showed its potential ability to enhance growth, reduce mortalities, regulate iron metabolism, decrease disease outbreaks, stimulate the antioxidant defense system, and recuperate the overall health conditions of the treated fish and shrimp.
  • Besides, bovine lactoferrin can be considered as a safe antibiotic alternative and a unique therapeutic agent to decrease the negative impacts of infectious diseases. These features can be attributed to its well-known antibacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory, immunostimulatory, and antioxidant capabilities.
  • This literature review will highlight the implications of bovine lactoferrin in aquaculture, particularly highlighting its therapeutic features and ability to promote immunological defensive pathways in fish. The information included in this article would be valuable for further research studies to improve aquaculture’s sustainability and the functionality of aquafeeds.

Nutritional Quality of Plant-Based Meat and Dairy Imitation Products and Comparison with Animal-Based Counterparts. Katidi A, Xypolitaki K, Vlassopoulos A, Kapsokefalou M. Nutrients. 2023 Jan 12;15(2):401.

  • While consumers are increasingly adopting plant-based meat and dairy imitation products, the nutritional quality and adequacy of those foods to act as a substitute is still under discussion.
  • The Greek Branded Food Composition Database (HelTH) was expanded to map currently available meat and dairy imitations in Greece. Their main ingredient used, nutritional composition, and promotion as a healthy, nutritious food were described, and their overall nutritional quality using the Nutri-Score algorithm was evaluated.
  • A total of n= 421 plant-based imitations were analyzed, made primarily of wheat or wheat mixes (83.5%) for meat imitations and grain (19.8%) or vegetable oil (17.1%) for dairy imitations.
  • All meat imitations were high in protein and fiber, while, for dairy, only yogurts carried a protein content claim (80.9%). Imitation sausages, milk, and yogurt products had lower total fat and saturated fat content compared to their animal-based counterparts.
  • All dairy imitations had lower protein content than animal-based dairy. The nutritional quality of imitation cheeses was graded as D-E, under the Nutri-Score system, compared to A-C for the animal-based cheese.
  • Plant-based imitations have variable composition based on their main ingredient, and the substitution of specific food groups with plant-based alternatives may not support an equivalent or improved diet.

Plant Protein versus Dairy Proteins: A pH-Dependency Investigation on Their Structure and Functional Properties. Tang Q, Roos YH, Miao S. Foods. 2023 Jan 12;12(2):368.

  • Plant proteins are constantly gaining attention as potential substitutes for dairy proteins, due to their suitable functionality and nutritional value.
  • This study was designed to compare the structural and functional responses of different plant protein isolates (soy, pea, lentil, and chickpea) with two commonly used dairy protein (whey protein isolates and sodium caseinate) under different pH treatments (pH 3.0, 5.0, 7.0, and 9.0).
  • The results showed that pH had a different alteration on the structural, surface properties and functional properties of plant and dairy proteins. Plant protein generally possessed a darker color, lower solubility, emulsifying properties, and foaming capacity, whereas their foaming stability and water holding capacity were higher than those of dairy proteins.
  • Soy protein isolates were characterized by its comparable proportion of β-turn and random coils, zeta-potential, emulsifying (30.37 m2/g), and water-holding capacity (9.03 g/g) at alkaline conditions and chickpea protein isolates showed good oil-holding capacity (3.33 g/g at pH 9) among plant proteins.
  • Further analysis confirmed that pH had a greater influence on the structural and functional properties of proteins as compared to protein sources, particularly at acidic conditions. Overall, this study might help processors select the appropriate plant protein as dairy alternatives for their target application in plant-based food products.

Nutritional Evaluation of Milk-, Plant-, and Insect-Based Protein Materials by Protein Digestibility Using the INFOGEST Digestion Method. Komatsu Y, Tsuda M, Wada Y, Shibasaki T, Nakamura H, Miyaji K. J Agric Food Chem. 2023 Jan 25.

  • The INFOGEST method is a valuable tool for understanding and monitoring food digestion as an alternative to in vivo assays. However, few studies have compared animal and alternative protein sources in terms of protein quality using the INFOGEST method.
  • This study aimed to evaluate the protein quality of milk-, plant-, and insect-based protein materials by in vitro protein digestibility and in vitro digestible indispensable amino acid score (DIAAS), following the INFOGEST method.
  • Milk-based protein materials had the highest protein digestibility (86.1-90.8%), followed by soy (85.1%) and wheat (82.3%). These materials had significantly higher protein digestibility compared with zein (65.1%), cricket (63.6%), and mealworm (69.5%).
  • Additionally, the mean values of in vitro DIAAS of milk-based protein materials (105.0-137.5) were higher than those of plant- and insect-based protein materials (1.9-91.0).
  • Milk-based protein materials have higher protein quality than plant- and insect-based protein materials by the nutritional evaluation following the INFOGEST digestion method.