Environmental Management and Sustainability

Implications of changes in climate and human development on 21st-century global drought risk. Elkouk A, Pokhrel Y, Satoh Y, Bouchaou L. J Environ Manage. 2022;317:115378.

  • Climate change is expected to exacerbate drought conditions over many global regions. However, the future risk posed by droughts depends not only on the climate-induced changes but also on the changes in societal exposure and vulnerability to droughts.
  • In this paper, researchers illustrate how the consideration of human vulnerability alters global drought risk associated with runoff (hydrological) and soil moisture (agriculture) droughts during the 21st-century. The researchers combine the changes in drought frequency, population growth, and human development as a proxy of vulnerability to project global drought risk under plausible climate and socioeconomic development pathways.
  • Results indicate that the shift toward a pathway of high greenhouse gas emissions and socioeconomic inequality leads to i) increased population exposure to runoff and soil moisture droughts by 81% and seven folds, respectively, and ii) a stagnation of human development. These consequences are more pronounced for populations living in low than in very high human development countries.
  • In particular, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where the majority of the world’s less developed countries are located, fare the worst in terms of future drought risk. The disparity in risk between low and very high human development countries can be substantially reduced in the presence of a shift toward a world of rapid and sustainable development that actively reduces social inequality and emissions.
  • These results underscore the importance of rapid human development in hotspots of drought risk where effective adaptation is most needed to reduce future drought impacts.

Climate Change and Cascading Risks from Infectious Disease. Semenza JC, Rocklöv J, Ebi KL. Infect Dis Ther. 2022.

  • Climate change is adversely affecting the burden of infectious disease throughout the world, which is a health security threat. Climate-sensitive infectious disease includes vector-borne diseases such as malaria, whose transmission potential is expected to increase because of enhanced climatic suitability for the mosquito vector in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and South America.
  • Climatic suitability for the mosquitoes that can carry dengue, Zika, and chikungunya is also likely to increase, facilitating further increases in the geographic range and longer transmission seasons, and raising concern for expansion of these diseases into temperate zones, particularly under higher greenhouse gas emission scenarios.
  • Early spring temperatures in 2018 seem to have contributed to the early onset and extensive West Nile virus outbreak in Europe, a pathogen expected to expand further beyond its current distribution, due to a warming climate. As for tick-borne diseases, climate change is projected to continue to contribute to the spread of Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis, particularly in North America and Europe.
  • Schistosomiasis is a water-borne disease and public health concern in Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia; climate change is anticipated to change its distribution, with both expansions and contractions expected. Other water-borne diseases that cause diarrheal diseases have declined significantly over the last decades owing to socioeconomic development and public health measures but changes in climate can reverse some of these positive developments.
  • Weather and climate events, population movement, land use changes, urbanization, global trade, and other drivers can catalyze a succession of secondary events that can lead to a range of health impacts, including infectious disease outbreaks. These cascading risk pathways of causally connected events can result in large-scale outbreaks and affect society at large. In this paper, researchers review climatic and other cascading drivers of infectious disease with projections under different climate change scenarios.

Current global efforts are insufficient to limit warming to 1.5°C. Matthews HD, Wynes S. Science. 2022 Jun 24;376(6600):1404-1409.

  • Human activities have caused global temperatures to increase by 1.25°C, and the current emissions trajectory suggests that we will exceed 1.5°C in less than 10 years.
  • Though the growth rate of global carbon dioxide emissions has slowed and many countries have strengthened their emissions targets, current midcentury net zero goals are insufficient to limit global warming to 1.5°C above preindustrial temperatures.
  • The primary barriers to the achievement of a 1.5°C-compatible pathway are not geophysical but rather reflect inertia in our political and technological systems. Both political and corporate leadership are needed to overcome this inertia, supported by increased societal recognition of the need for system-level and individual lifestyle changes.
  • The available evidence does not yet indicate that the world has seriously committed to achieving the 1.5°C goal.

Symposium review: Development of a funding program to support research on enteric methane mitigation from ruminants. Tricarico JM, de Haas Y, Hristov AN, Kebreab E, Kurt T, Mitloehner F, Pitta D. J Dairy Sci. 2022 Jun 7:S0022-0302(22)00328-9.

  • Enteric methane is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions from milk production systems. Two organizations based in the United States, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and the Dairy Research Institute, have developed a collaborative program to align resources and fund projects to identify, develop, and validate new and existing mitigation options for enteric methane emissions from dairy and beef cattle.
  • This collaborative program is called the Greener Cattle Initiative. The program will develop requests for proposals and award grants on projects that address challenges within, but not limited, to the following research areas: dairy and beef cattle nutrition, rumen microbiome, dairy and beef cattle genetics, sensing and data technology for enteric methane measurement and prediction, and socioeconomic analysis of enteric methane mitigation practices.
  • The program is structured as a consortium with closed participation and a flat governance collaboration model. The Greener Cattle Initiative program will continue incorporating participants from the food and agriculture industry, commodity groups, and nonprofit organizations who share common objectives and contribute in-kind and matching funds to the program, up to a total of 10 organizations. Research findings will be communicated broadly, after a waiting period for exclusive access to program participants, to create shared knowledge on enteric methane mitigation.
  • The Greener Cattle Initiative is expected to award up to $5 million in research grant funding in a 5-year period, which will contribute to advancing the voluntary greenhouse gas reduction goals established by both the United States and global dairy sectors.

Quantification of methane emitted by ruminants: A review of methods.
Tedeschi LO, Abdalla AL, Kebreab E, et al. J Anim Sci. 2022 Jun 3:skac197.

  • The contribution of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ruminant production systems varies between countries and between regions within individual countries. The appropriate quantification of GHG emissions, specifically methane (CH4), has raised questions about the correct reporting of GHG inventories and, perhaps more importantly, how best to mitigate CH4 emissions.
  • This review documents existing methods and methodologies to measure and estimate CH4 emissions from ruminant animals and the manure produced therein over various scales and conditions.
  • Measurements of CH4 have frequently been conducted in research settings using classical methodologies developed for bioenergetic purposes, such as gas exchange techniques (respiration chambers, headboxes). While very precise, these techniques are limited to research settings as they are expensive, labor-intensive, and applicable only to a few animals.
  • Head-stalls, such as the GreenFeed system, have been used to measure expired CH4 for individual animals housed alone or in groups in confinement or grazing. This technique requires frequent animal visitation over the diurnal measurement period and an adequate number of collection days.
  • The tracer gas technique can be used to measure CH4 from individual animals housed outdoors, as there is a need to ensure low background concentrations. Micrometeorological techniques (e.g., open-path lasers) can measure CH4 emissions over larger areas and many animals, but limitations exist, including the need to measure over more extended periods.
  • Measurement of CH4 emissions from manure depends on the type of storage, animal housing, CH4 concentration inside and outside the boundaries of the area of interest, and ventilation rate, which is likely the variable that contributes the greatest to measurement uncertainty.
  • For large-scale areas, aircraft, drones, and satellites have been used in association with the tracer flux method, inverse modeling, imagery, and lidar, but research is lagging in validating these methods.
  • Bottom-up approaches to estimating CH4 emissions rely on empirical or mechanistic modeling to quantify the contribution of individual sources (enteric and manure). In contrast, top-down approaches estimate the amount of CH4 in the atmosphere using spatial and temporal models to account for transportation from an emitter to an observation point. While these two estimation approaches rarely agree, they help identify knowledge gaps and research requirements in practice.

Manure management strategies are interconnected with complexity across U.S. dairy farms. Niles MT, Wiltshire S, Lombard J, Branan M, Vuolo M, Chintala R, Tricarico J. PLoS One. 2022 Jun 3;17(6):e0267731.

  • Among one of the key challenges in dairy production is the management of manure in a way that is beneficial for agricultural production, with minimal environmental and public health impacts. Manure management systems (MMS)-the entire system of handling, storage, and application of manure-are diverse in countries with developed dairy industries such as the United States, enabled by a number of different technologies.
  • The ways in which dairy farmers manage manure is driven by varying tradeoffs, including economic, social, and environmental; however, existing research has not examined the relationships between components of MMS.
  • In this paper, researchers use data from the National Animal Health Monitoring System’s Dairy 2014 study to explore the ways in which manure handling, storage, and application are related, using a series of logistic regression models and network associations.
  • They found significant associations between how manure is handled, stored, and applied, especially driven by the consistency of manure. For solid manure, they found highly heterogeneous systems, where farmers may have a suite of alternative manure management strategies available to them, and substitution is viable. Conversely, farms using liquid manure systems have very few substitutes in their MMS, suggesting greater investment in certain infrastructures, which are not easily changed. Such findings have important implications for shifting farmers towards management practices with minimal environmental and public health impacts, demonstrating that not all farm systems are easily changed.
  • The researchers highlight these results in light of current policies, which may not fully capture the relationships across the MMS, and suggest that greater financing may be necessary to shift MMS on some farms. Furthermore, they suggest that different MMS have varying tradeoffs across environmental, social, and economic aspects, which demonstrates that MMS are highly individualized to a given farm’s goals and priorities.

A comprehensive review on enhancing nutrient use efficiency and productivity of broadacre (arable) crops with the combined utilization of compost and fertilizers. Oyetunji O, Bolan N, Hancock G. J Environ Manage. 2022;317:115395.

  • Broadacre (arable) crops generally require a relatively higher nutrient input toward yield targets. The efficient use of nutrients in arable farmlands is very vital to this endeavor. It minimizes fertilizer input and adverse soil and environmental implications that may arise from the incremental use of fertilizers.
  • It is understood that enhancing the natural capacity of the soil (i.e., the soil’s physical, chemical, and biological quality), may effectively improve soil nutrient dynamics, availability, and efficient use by crops. The adoption of integrated nutrient management (INM) approaches such as the organic amendment of the soil in addition to fertilizer use has shown positive impacts on maintaining and recovering soil quality, hence lowering excessive fertilizer use in farmlands.
  • Therefore, this review contextualized the effect of compost and fertilizer on nutrient use efficiency (NUE) and productivity of broadacre crops. The use of compost as an organic soil amendment material has shown some inherently unique advantages and beneficial impacts on soil health and fertility such as improved soil structure, nutrient retention, mobilization, and bioavailability.
  • Several studies have explored these comparative advantages by either blending compost with chemical fertilizer before soil application or a co-application and have noted the observed amelioration of unfavorable soil conditions such as low porosity, high bulk density, low organic matter (OM), unfavorable pH, and cation exchange capacity (CEC), low biological activities with different doses of compost. Consequently, the co-utilization of composts and chemical fertilizers may become viable substitutes for chemical fertilizers in maintaining soil fertility, improving NUE, and crop yield in farmlands.
  • The review further described the comparative environmental and economic implications of adopting the combined utilization of compost and fertilizers in farmlands.

Animal Health and Food Safety

Extending Lactation Length: Consequences for Cow, Calf and Farmer. van Knegsel ATM, Burgers EEA, Ma J, Goselink RMA, Kok A. J Anim Sci. 2022 Jun 20:skac220.

  • Traditionally, a 1-year calving interval is advised to farmers from an economical point of view, to realize a yearly peak in milk yield. A 1-year calving interval, however, implies a yearly event of drying-off, calving and start of lactation, which are all associated with an increased risk for diseases and disorders.
  • Deliberately extending the lactation length by extending the voluntary waiting period for first insemination (VWP) reduces the frequency of these challenging events. This reduction in frequency of calvings can be beneficial for cow health and fertility, but also can be of interest to reduce the number of surplus calves and labor associated with drying off, calving and disease treatments.
  • Current concerns with respect to an extended lactation are that milk yield is too low in late lactation, which might be associated with an increased risk of fattening of cows in late lactation, and compromised economic returns at herd level. In addition, limited knowledge is available with respect to consequences for cow performance in the subsequent lactation and for calves born to cows with an extended lactation.
  • Moreover, response of dairy cows to an extended VWP depend on individual cow characteristics like parity, milk yield level or body condition. A customized strategy based on individual cow characteristics can be a future approach to select high-producing cows with persistent lactation curves for an extended lactation to limit the risk for fattening and milk yield reduction at the end of the lactation while benefitting from a reduction in challenging events around calving.

Short Communication: The effects of heat stress on milk production and the grazing behavior of dairy Holstein cows milked by an automatic milking system. Morales-Piñeyrúa JT, Damián JP, Banchero G, Sant Anna AC. J Anim Sci. 2022 Jun 23:skac225.

  • Heat stress exerts a substantial effect on dairy production. Higher temperatures lower milk output and reduce the percentages of fat, solids, lactose, and protein in milk.
  • The objective of the present study was to evaluate the productive performance and grazing behavior of 25 primiparous and 44 multiparous Holstein cows in a pasture-based automatic milking system (AMS) while experiencing heat stress (defined as a temperature-humidity index-THI ≥ 68).
  • Productive traits were analyzed according to the THI from days 0, -1, -2, and -3 in relation to the milking day, and grazing behaviors (expressed as the % of daily observation time) were related to the average THI only on the day of observation.
  • Milk yield was not associated with the THI on day 0, but a significant linear relationship was found with the THI on the three previous days, decreasing approximately 0.18 kg (primiparous) and 0.40 kg (multiparous) per THI unit increment. In contrast, for multiparous cows only, the milking frequency was positively associated with the THI on the day of evaluation but not on the previous days, increasing 0.01 milking/THI unit increments.
  • Additionally, for each unit of THI increment, cows spent 0.14% more time standing, whereas they exhibited a decrease in grazing, lying, and ruminating behaviors time by 0.30%, 0.04%, and 0.70%, respectively, for both parities.
  • In conclusion, milk loss was related to heat stress conditions from the previous days, but not milking frequency, which increased with the THI of the same milking day. Lower grazing, lying, and ruminating activities and greater standing behavior were observed due to heat stress.

Exploring the Evacuation of Dairy Cattle at Night in Collaboration with the Fire Brigade: How to Prepare Openings for Swift Rescue in Case of Barn Fire. Diel F, Rauch E, Palme R, Sauter-Louis C, Zeiler E. Animals (Basel). 2022 May 25;12(11):1344.

  • The evacuation of farm animals out of a barn is a rarely considered subject. Especially in case of fire, there is a need for functional emergency exits as well as concepts of rescue for swift evacuation, since both the harmful smoke and the danger of collapsing roofs call for urgency.
  • Field reports of firefighters and affected farmers state that barn animals hesitate to leave their familiar surroundings and rather try to withdraw to their known housing, which they deem as safe. Thus, it is not sufficient to simply open the doors and gates hoping for self-rescue of the animals.
  • As there is a lack of guidelines on the design of emergency exits, researchers conducted an evacuation exercise of year-round housed dairy cattle, in cooperation with the fire brigade by night, to inspect the animals’ behavior.
  • The aim of this study was to investigate the influencing factors of successfully rescuing year-round housed cattle in case of a barn fire. Empirical research indicates the reluctance of cattle to leave their familiar barn. Subsequent retreat back to the perceived safety inside, which stands in contrast to the unknown and thus adversary elements outside, for example, the fire brigade, is to be expected.
  • The researchers examined the evacuation of 69 dairy cattle, split into three groups, to an adjacent pasture by night and inspected the animals’ acceptance of two differently designed escape routes and the effect of preceding training. Along with the time needed for evacuating all animals, researchers measured fecal cortisol metabolites and daily milk yield to assess stress in the animals.
  • The preliminary assumption was that cattle trained for pasture would have a decisive advantage over untrained cattle. However, adapting the exits to the sensory physiology of the cattle resulted in an extensive impact on the animals’ readiness to leave the familiar housing, as the evacuation of the cattle non-habituated to the exit was comparatively quick and successful.
  • The researchers consider this study instructional for fire brigades and farmers, encouraging them to develop a customized concept for rescuing their cattle in case of an emergency.

Effects of wildfire smoke exposure on innate immunity, metabolism, and milk production in lactating dairy cows. Anderson A, Rezamand P, Skibiel AL. J Dairy Sci. 2022 Jun 15:S0022-0302(22)00345-9.

  • Wildfires are particularly prevalent in the Western United States, home to more than 2 million dairy cows that produce more than 25% of the nation’s milk. Wildfires emit fine particulate matter (PM5) in smoke, which is a known air toxin and is thought to contribute to morbidity in humans by inducing inflammation. The physiological responses of dairy cows to wildfire PM2.5are unknown.
  • In this study, researchers assessed the immune, metabolic, and production responses of lactating Holstein cows to wildfire PM5inhalation.
  • Cows (primiparous, n = 7; multiparous, n = 6) were monitored across the wildfire season from July to September 2020. Cows were housed in freestall pens and thus were exposed to ambient air quality. Air temperature, relative humidity, and PM5were obtained from a monitoring station 5.7 km from the farm. Animals were considered to be exposed to wildfire PM2.5 if daily average PM2.5 exceeded 35 µg/m3 and wildfire and wind trajectory mapping showed that the PM2.5 derived from active wildfires.
  • Based on these conditions, cows were exposed to wildfire PM5for 7 consecutive days in mid-September. Milk yield was recorded daily and milk components analysis conducted before, during, and after exposure. Blood was taken from the jugular vein before, during, and after exposure and assayed for hematology, blood chemistry, and blood metabolites.
  • Exposure to elevated PM5from wildfire smoke resulted in lower milk yield during exposure and for 7 days after last exposure and higher blood CO2 concentration, which persisted for 1 day following exposure.
  • The researchers observed a positive PM5by THI interaction for eosinophil and basophil count and a negative PM2.5 by THI interaction for red blood cell count and hemoglobin concentration after a 3-day lag. Neutrophil count was also lower with a combination of higher THI and PM2.5. There was no discernable effect of PM2.5 on haptoglobin concentration.
  • Effects of PM5and THI on metabolism were contingent on day of exposure. On lag day 0, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) was reduced with higher combined THI and PM2.5, but on subsequent lag days, THI and PM2.5 had a positive interaction on BUN. Conversely, THI and PM2.5 had a positive interacting effect on non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) on lag day 0 but subsequently caused a reduction in circulating NEFA concentration.
  • These results suggest that exposure to high wildfire-derived PM5, alone or in concert with elevated THI, alters systemic metabolism, milk production, and the innate immune system.

Effect of milking environment enrichment through music on production performance and behaviour in cattle. Kochewad SA, Gaur GK, Maurya VP, Bharti PK, Sahoo NR, Pandey HO, Singh M, Verma MR. Trop Anim Health Prod. 2022 Jun 28;54(4):219.

  • Enrichment of milking environment through music has been proposed to help animals to cope with divergent stressors.
  • In sight of the above, a study was conducted to evaluate the effect of Indian instrumental music-based environmental enrichment played in yaman raga on milk production performance and behavior in cattle.
  • A total of 21 lactating dairy cattle (Vrindavani crossbred cows) having similar parity and stage of lactation were selected in three groups – T1, T2 and T3, each consisting of seven animals. The T1 and T2 groups were exposed to instrumental flute and sitar, respectively, 10 min prior to the start of milking and continued till completion of milking; while the T3 group served as control. Musical enrichment of the environment was done using recorded-tape of flute and sitar was played in yamen raga at 40-60 (dB) decibel intensity.
  • The results revealed a non-significant difference in milk yield, rectal temperature, respiration rate, T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine) hormones.
  • However, the cows exhibited a significant (p < 0.05) difference in milking time, milking speed, cortisol hormones and behavioral parameters such as milk let-down in the animals exposed to music compared to the control group.
  • Thus, the results have significant implications relating to the behavioral fitness and welfare of dairy animals and reducing residual milk.

A calm companion lowers fear in groups of dairy cows. Stenfelt J, Yngvesson J, Rørvang MV. J Dairy Sci. 2022 Jun 9:S0022-0302(22)00339-3.

  • Dairy cows are generally calm and compliant, but some management procedures can make cows fearful or stressed. Not only are fearful cattle a threat to human safety, but fear is also detrimental to animal welfare and productivity.
  • This study aimed to test whether fear in small groups of dairy cattle could be attenuated by the presence of a calm and experienced companion.
  • Twenty-seven dairy cows from a Swedish agricultural school participated in the study. The study included a standardized fear-eliciting stimulus, which was 3 sudden, repetitive openings of a red and white umbrella. Demonstrator cows (n = 9) were selected based on age to ensure that all demonstrators were older than the naïve test cows (n = 18). Of these 9 demonstrator cows, 6 were selected as untrained (i.e., habituated to the presence of the test person) and 3 were selected as trained demonstrators (i.e., additionally habituated to the fear-eliciting stimulus).
  • The remaining 18 test cows comprised 6 test-cow groups of 3 cows each, which were their own controls, resulting in a crossover design; 3 groups were tested with a trained demonstrator first and then with an untrained demonstrator, and vice versa for the other 3 groups, resulting in a total of 12 trials (4 sub-treatments).
  • Response variables were heart rate increase from baseline, behavioral reaction indicative of fear, and latency to resume feeding after exposure to the fear-eliciting stimulus.
  • The study found a calming effect of a trained demonstrator on test cows’ heart rate but not on latency to resume feeding or behavioral reaction. Post hoc analyses revealed a carryover effect on latency, indicating that test cows who were accompanied by an untrained demonstrator first had longer latencies than cows in all other sub-treatments.
  • Adding a calm, experienced cow to groups of dairy cattle may mitigate fear and thereby improve welfare and safety.

WHNRC – DAVIS RESEARCH A Low-Starch and High-Fiber Diet Intervention Impacts the Microbial Community of Raw Bovine Milk. Coates LC, Storms D, Finley JW, Fukagawa NK, Lemay DG, Kalscheur KF, Kable ME. Curr Dev Nutr. 2022 Apr 21;6(6):nzac086.

  • A more sustainable dairy cow diet was designed that minimizes use of feed components digestible by monogastric animals by increasing the quantity of forages.
  • This study determined if feeding lactating cows the more sustainable, low-starch and high-fiber (LSHF) diet was associated with changes in raw milk microbiota composition and somatic cell count (SCC).
  • In a crossover design, 76 lactating Holstein cows were assigned to an LSHF diet or a high-starch and low-fiber (HSLF) diet, similar to common dairy cow diets in the United States, for 10 weeks then placed on the opposite diet for 10 weeks. The LSHF diet contained greater quantities of forages, beet pulp, and corn distillers’ grain, but contained less canola meal and no high-moisture corn compared with the HSLF diet.
  • Raw milk samples were collected from each cow 4-5 days before intervention and 5 weeks into each diet treatment. The microbial community was determined. After quality filtering, 53 cows remained.
  • Raw milk microbial communities differed by diet and time. Taxa associated with fiber consumption, such as LachnospiraceaeLactobacillusBacteroides, and Methanobrevibacter, were enriched with the LSHF diet. Meanwhile, taxa associated with mastitis, such as PseudomonasStenotrophomonas, and Enterobacteriaceae, were enriched with the HSLF diet. Relatedly, an interaction of diet and time was found to impact SCC.
  • In raw milk, consumption of an LSHF diet compared with an HSLF diet was associated with changes in abundance of microbes previously associated with fiber consumption, udder health, and milk spoilage. Further research is needed to determine if an LSHF diet indeed leads to lower rates of mastitis and milk spoilage, which could benefit the dairy industry.

UC DAVIS RESEARCH Dietary Fiber to Starch Ratio Affects Bovine Milk Oligosaccharide Profiles. Durham SD, Lemay DG, Wei Z, Kalscheur KF, Finley JW, Fukagawa NK, Barile D. Curr Dev Nutr. 2022 Mar 7;6(6):nzac033.

  • Bovine milk oligosaccharides (BMOs) have several demonstrated and hypothesized benefits including roles in cognitive development and antipathogenic activities, making them promising ingredients for infant formulas and nutraceutical applications. BMO extraction from bovine milk is challenged by low concentrations relative to nonbioactive simple sugars like lactose.
  • BMO abundances are known to vary with a cow’s lactation stage, breed, and parity, but these characteristics are difficult to modify in existing dairy herds. In contrast, diet modification is an accessible target, and is already known to influence milk yield, lipid content, protein levels, and monosaccharide compositions.
  • The objective of this study was to determine the impact of a low starch high fiber versus a high starch low fiber diet on overall BMO profiles and individual BMO abundances in Holstein dairy cattle.
  • Milk samples were collected from 59 mid-lactation Holsteins in a crossover study featuring dietary modification with either a low starch high fiber or high starch low fiber feed.
  • A total of 19 BMOs were identified across the sample set, including 4 large fucosylated compounds. Seven BMOs were found to have significantly more positive percent changes in yield-adjusted abundance from the pre-experiment baseline period for milk samples collected during feeding with the low starch high fiber diet compared with the high starch low fiber diet.
  • In conclusion, consuming the low starch high fiber diet promoted greater overall BMO production than the high starch low fiber diet in a population of mid-lactation Holsteins.

Human Nutrition and Health

UC DAVIS RESEARCH Milk: A Scientific Model for Diet and Health Research in the 21st Century. German JB, Lebrilla C, Mills DA. Front Nutr. 2022 Jun 10;9:922907.

  • The origin of lactation and the composition, structures and functions of milk’s biopolymers highlight the Darwinian pressure on lactation as a complete, nourishing and protective diet.
  • Lactation, under the driving pressure to be a sustainable bioreactor, was under selection pressure of its biopolymers with diverse functions acting from the mammary gland through the digestive system of the infant. For example, milk is extensively glycosylated and the glycan structures and their functions are now emerging.
  • Milk contains free oligosaccharides; complex polymers of sugars whose stereospecific linkages are not matched by glycosidic enzymes within the mammalian infant gut. These glycan polymers reach the lower intestine undigested. In this microbe-rich environment, bacteria compete to release and ferment the sugars viadifferent hydrolytic strategies.
  • One specific type of bacteria, Bifidobacterium longuminfantis, (B. infantis) is uniquely equipped with a repertoire of genes encoding enzymes capable of taking up, hydrolyzing and metabolizing the complex glycans of human milk. This combination of a distinct food supply and unique genetic capability shapes the composition and metabolic products of the entire microbial community within the lower intestine of breast fed infants.
  • The intestinal microbiome dominated by  infantis, shields the infant from the growth of gram negative enteropathogens and their endotoxins as a clear health benefit.
  • The world is facing unprecedented challenges to produce a food supply that is both nourishing, safe and sustainable. Scientists need to guide the future of agriculture and food in response to these 21st century challenges. Lactation provides an inspiring model of what that future research strategy could be.

School Meal Programs Require Higher Vitamin D Fortification Levels in Milk Products and Plant-based Alternatives: Evidence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES 2001-18). Calvo MS, Whiting SJ. Adv Nutr. 2022 Jun 7:nmac068.

  • Poor vitamin D status impairs bone growth and immune defense in school-aged children and adolescents, particularly in minorities. Vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency increases risk of acute viral respiratory infection underscoring the need for adequate vitamin D intakes during school sessions when viral exposure may be greatest.
  • Researchers studied available vitamin D-related survey data and published findings based on NHANES (2001-2018) to assess the dependency of vitamin D status (25-hydroxyvitamin D, 25(OH)D nmol/L) on vitamin D intake (µg/d) in elementary school-aged children (4-8 y), middle school (9-13 y) and high school adolescents (14-18 y). The researchers sought evidence supporting the need for school programs to facilitate vitamin D adequacy.
  • Usual vitamin D intakes from food and beverages by children/adolescents (NHANES 2015-2018) examined at the 50th percentile intake by race/ethnicity (Non-Hispanic White, NHW; Non-Hispanic Black, NHB; Hispanic, HIS) showed all age groups consumed less than half of the Estimated Average Requirement for vitamin D (EAR, 10 µg/d) independent of race/ethnicity.
  • NHANES (2001-2010) analyses show evidence of lower vitamin D status in school-aged children that is linked to lower intakes of fortified-milk varying over race/ethnicity and age. Adolescents had lower D status and milk intake than children. 22-44% of vitamin D intakes occurred away from home and larger percentages of total intakes at breakfast and lunch, times consistent with school meals.
  • Ever-present inadequate vitamin D intakes with a large percent eaten away from home together with well-established benefits to growth, bone, and immune defense from vitamin D-fortified milk school intervention trials provide strong justification to require enriched D-fortified foods in school meals.
  • An easy to implement plan for improving vitamin D intakes is possible through FDA’s amendment allowing higher vitamin D fortification levels of dairy and plant-based milk alternatives that could increase vitamin D intakes beyond the EAR with just two daily servings.

Association between Intake of Total Dairy and Individual Dairy Foods and Markers of Folate, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12 Status in the U.S. Population. Cifelli CJ, Agarwal S, Fulgoni Iii VL. Nutrients. 2022 Jun 13;14(12):2441.

  • Vitamin B6, B12and folate are required for energy metabolism and have been identified as nutrients of concern for certain population groups.
  • This study examined the cross-sectional association between the consumption of dairy (total dairy, milk, yogurt and cheese) and biomarkers and adequacy for these nutrients in a nationally representative sample.
  • Twenty-four-hour dietary recall data and concentrations of RBC folate (ng/mL), serum folate (ng/mL), and serum vitamins B6(nmol/L) and B12 (pg/mL) were obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2018 (n = 72,831) and were analyzed by linear and logistic regression after adjusting for demographic variables.
  • Mean intakes of total dairy were 2.21, 2.17, 1.83 and 1.51 cups eq among consumers aged 2-8, 9-18, 19-50 and 51+ years, respectively. Higher intakes of total dairy as well as individual dairy foods (especially milk and yogurt) were positively associated with serum and RBC folate, serum vitamin B6and serum B12, and generally, with 9-57% lower risk of inadequate or deficient levels of these vitamins.
  • These findings suggest that encouraging dairy consumption may be an effective strategy for improving micronutrient status and provide continued evidence to support the current dietary recommendations for dairy and dairy products.

Vitamin B-12 Intake from Dairy But Not Meat is Associated with Decreased Risk of Low Vitamin B-12 Status and Deficiency in Older Adults from Quebec, Canada. Huang HH, Cohen AA, Gaudreau P, Auray-Blais C, Allard D, Boutin M, Reid I, Turcot V, Presse N.J Nutr. 2022 Jun 23:nxac143.

  • Vitamin B-12 deficiency can result in irreversible neurological damages. It is most prevalent among older adults (∼5-15%), mainly due to impaired absorption. Vitamin B-12 bioavailability varies between food sources, so their importance in preventing deficiency may also vary.
  • Using the NuAge Database and Biobank, we examined the associations between vitamin B-12 intake – total and by specific food groups – and low vitamin B-12 status and deficiency in older adults.
  • NuAge included 1753 adults aged 67-84 years followed 4 years. Analytic samples comprised 1230 to 1463 individuals. Dietary vitamin B-12 intake was assessed annually using three 24-hour dietary recalls. Vitamin B-12 status was assessed annually as low serum vitamin B-12 (<221 pmol/L), elevated urinary methylmalonic acid (MMA)/creatinine ratio (>2 µmol/mmol), and a combination of both (deficiency). Vitamin B-12 supplement users were excluded. Multilevel logistic regressions, adjusted for relevant confounders, were used.
  • Across all study years, 21.8-32.5% of participants had low serum vitamin B-12, 12.5-17.0% had elevated urine MMA/creatinine, and 10.1-12.7% had deficiency. Median [IQR] total vitamin B-12 intake was 3.19 µg/day. Main sources were “dairy” and “meat, poultry and organ meats”. The ORs in the fifth compared to first quintile of total vitamin B-12 intake for low serum vitamin B-12, elevated urine MMA/creatinine and vitamin B-12 deficiency respectively were 0.52, 0.63, and 0.38.
  • Similarly, ORs in the fourth compared to first quartile of dairy-derived vitamin B-12 intake were 0.46, 0.51, and 0.35. No associations were observed with vitamin B-12 from “meat, poultry and organ meats”.
  • Higher dietary vitamin B-12 intake, especially from dairy, was associated with decreased risk of low vitamin B-12 status and deficiency in older adults. Food groups might contribute differently at reducing risk of deficiency in older populations.

Fermented Dairy Food Intake and Risk of Colorectal Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Liang Z, Song X, Hu J, Wu R, Li P, Dong Z, Liang L, Wang J. Front Oncol. 2022;12:812679.

  • It is highly controversial whether fermented dairy foods protect against colorectal cancer (CRC) because of conflicting results from current human epidemiologic studies.
  • Therefore, researchers conducted this meta-analysis based on the case-control and cohort studies to estimate the holistic analyses.
  • A total of seven case-control studies and ten cohort studies comprising a total of >20,000 cases were incorporated in the quantitative synthesis.
  • Statistical evidence of significantly decreasing CRC risk in case-control studies was found to be associated with cheese intake (OR = 0.89). In a subgroup analysis, cheese intake was correlated with lower colon cancer (OR = 0.89) and rectal cancer (OR = 0.86) risk in case-control studies.
  • Furthermore, the researchers also found that the higher intake of yogurt may lower the risk of rectal cancer (OR = 0.75) in cohort studies. The consumption of fermented dairy foods may be relevant to decrease CRC risk in this meta-analysis.

Dairy foods, calcium intakes, and risk of incident prostate cancer in Adventist Health Study-2.Orlich MJ, Mashchak AD, Jaceldo-Siegl K, Utt JT, Knutsen SF, Sveen LE, Fraser GE. Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 Jun 8:nqac093.

  • Prostate cancer is the most common noncutaneous cancer in American males. Causal links between dairy, or dietary calcium, and this cancer are considered suggestive but limited.
  • The objective of this study was to evaluate these associations in a large North American cohort, including many with no (or very low) dairy intake and much calcium from nondairy sources.
  • A prospective cohort study of 28,737 Seventh-day Adventist men in the United States and Canada, of whom 6389 were of black ethnicity. Incident cancers were mainly found by matching with cancer registries.
  • In total, 1254 (190 advanced) incident prostate cancer cases were found during an average 7.8 years of follow-up. Men at the 90th percentile of dairy intake (430 gram/day) compared with the 10th percentile (20.2 gram/day) had higher prostate cancer risk (HR: 1.27). Similar findings, comparing the same gram/day intakes, were demonstrated for advanced prostate cancers (HR: 1.38), for nonadvanced cases (HR: 1.27), in black participants (HR: 1.24), and when excluding vegan participants (HR: 1.22).
  • Calibrated dairy (gram/day) regressions (all participants and all prostate cancers), adjusting for dietary measurement error, found a HR of 1.75. Comparing 90th percentile intake to zero intakes (uncalibrated), the HR was 1.62. There was no evidence of an effect of higher (905 mg/day) compared with lower (349 mg/day) intakes of nondairy calcium (HR: 1.16).
  • Men with higher intake of dairy foods, but not nondairy calcium, had a higher risk of prostate cancer compared with men having lower intakes. Associations were nonlinear, suggesting greatest increases in risk at relatively low doses.

Individualized high dairy protein + walking program supports bone health in pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. Perreault M, Mottola MF, Atkinson SA; BHIP study team. Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 Jun 27:nqac182.

  • Pregnancy induces bone mineral mobilization, which may be further compromised if diet and physical activity are sub-optimal.
  • Therefore, researchers aimed to determine the effects of a Nutrition + Exercise intervention during pregnancy on maternal calciotropic and bone biomarker profiles throughout pregnancy and the postpartum.
  • In the Be Healthy in Pregnancy (BHIP) RCT, 203/225 participants who consented to the bone health sub-study were randomized (12-17 weeks gestation) and received either usual care (control) or a structured and monitored Nutrition + Exercise plan (intervention) providing individualized high dairy protein diet and a walking program throughout pregnancy.
  • Maternal serum total procollagen type 1N-terminal propeptide (P1NP; bone formation), C-terminal telopeptide of type 1 collagen (CTX; bone resorption), and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and vitamin D metabolites were measured at early and late pregnancy, six months postpartum, and in cord blood.
  • In 187 participants completing all measures, significantly higher intakes were observed in the intervention versus control group for total protein, protein intake from dairy foods, and calcium, while vitamin D intake was similar between treatment groups in both the second and third trimesters.
  • The intervention group had significantly lower serum CTX at end of pregnancy and in cord serum. Serum concentrations of P1NP rose significantly from early pregnancy to 6 months postpartum for the intervention group only. Serum 25(OH)D status was > 50 nmol/L for 97% of all participants.
  • Higher maternal dietary protein and calcium intakes compared to usual care in concert with normal vitamin D status minimized bone resorption and maintained bone formation and may protect bone health during pregnancy.

Non-Fermented Dairy Intake, But Not Fermented Dairy Intake, Associated with a Higher Risk of Depression in Middle-Age and Older Finnish Men. Hockey M, Hoare E, Ruusunen A, et al. J Nutr. 2022 Jun 2:nxac128.

  • Despite the putative health benefits of fermented dairy products, evidence on the association between fermented dairy and non-fermented dairy intake and depression incidence is limited.
  • This study examined cross-sectional and prospective associations between total dairy, fermented dairy, and non-fermented dairy intake with 1) the presence of elevated depressive symptoms and 2) the risk of a future hospital discharge or outpatient diagnosis of depression.
  • Data from 2603 Finnish men (aged 42-60 years), recruited as part of the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study, were included.
  • In cross-sectional analyses, fermented dairy intake in the highest (vs lowest) tertile was associated with lower odds for having elevated depressive symptoms (adjusted-OR 0.70). Each 100g increase in non-fermented dairy intake was associated with higher odds for having elevated depressive symptoms (adjusted-OR 1.06).
  • During a mean follow-up time of 24 years, 113 males received a diagnosis of depression. After excluding cheese intake, higher fermented dairy intake was associated with a lower risk of depression diagnosis (adjusted-HR 0.62), which was strengthened after excluding those with elevated depressive symptoms at baseline (adjusted-HR 0.55). Whereas non-fermented dairy intake in the highest tertile was associated with a two-fold higher risk of depression (adjusted-HR 2.02).
  • Fermented dairy and non-fermented dairy intake were differentially associated with depression outcomes when examined cross-sectionally and over a mean period of 24 years. These findings suggest that dairy fermentation status may influence the association between dairy intake and depression in Finnish men.

Probiotics and dairy products in dentistry: A bibliometric and critical review of randomized clinical trials. Farias da Cruz M, Baraúna Magno M, Maia L, et al. Food Res Int. 2022;157:111228.

  • The oral environment is an essential part of the human microbiome. The consumption of probiotic products may improve the oral microbiota and reduce the risk of diseases.
  • This paper presents a bibliometric and critical review of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) that used probiotics to analyze oral parameters in humans.
  • RCTs carried out with no age, gender, and ethnicity restrictions and published in the pre-COVID-19 period were included. Furthermore, the utilization of probiotic dairy products to improve oral health is discussed.
  • The bibliometric review demonstrated that ‘Microbiology,’ ‘Dental caries,’ and ‘Streptococcus mutants’ were the most highlighted keywords. Furthermore, Sweden and India have the highest number of publications. The most prevalent outcomes were ‘salivary parameters,’ ‘periodontal disease,’ and ‘dental caries.’ The most used vehicles for probiotic administration were pharmaceutical formulas and dairy products.
  • The administration of probiotic dairy products could modify the oral microbiota (reductions in S. mutans counts), influence the caries development and periodontal disease in children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly, and improve gingival health. The main probiotic dairy products investigated were milk, fermented milk, yogurt, kefir, curd, and cheese. Lacticaseibacillus paracasei SD1 was the most used probiotic culture.
  • The studies demonstrated that the probiotic effect lasted 2-4 weeks after discontinuing consumption. However, the results depended on the subject type, study design, probiotic strain and concentration, and dairy product type. In conclusion, probiotic dairy products are promising alternatives to improve oral health.

Antibodies against spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 variants in bovine whey IgG enriched fraction. Oshiro S, Mizutani N, Tada T, Sekiguchi JI, Takahashi M, Kirikae T. Int Dairy J. 2022 Jun 10:105436.

  • Bovine whey IgG enriched fraction contains IgG antibodies against bacterial and viral pathogens, including antibodies against the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan strain (2019-nCoV WHU01).
  • To date, 13 SARS-CoV-2 variants have been identified, including gamma, delta, kappa, and omicron, which contain 10, eight, seven, and over 30 mutations in the spike protein, respectively.
  • Researchers investigated whether bovine whey IgG enriched fraction contains antibodies against spike proteins of these variants, specifically recombinant partial length spike proteins of these variants.
  • Direct enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays revealed bovine whey IgG enriched fraction contained antibodies against all recombinant spike proteins of these variants with highest reactivity against aa 177-512 region of omicron spike protein.
  • These results indicate bovine whey IgG enriched fraction contains antibodies against spike proteins of several SARS-CoV-2 variants, including omicron.

Innovation, Economics, and Dairy Alternatives

Fortification/enrichment of milk and dairy products by encapsulated bioactive ingredients. Adinepour F, Pouramin S, Rashidinejad A, Jafari SM. Food Res Int. 2022 Jul;157:111212.

  • Bioactive compounds (bioactives) derived from plants and animals, are effective in increasing the safety and health of society through the treatment and prevention of diseases such as cancer. Fortifying conventional foods with bioactives is an accepted strategy by scientists, food manufacturers, and consumers.
  • Milk and dairy products are among the most important foods used in our daily diet and can be a suitable option to deliver bioactives to the body, but there are challenges towards using these compounds in their original unprotected/free form. They can be degraded before reaching the target location in the body and interact with milk compounds, resulting in a negative impact on the quality characteristics of the corresponding foods.
  • Thus, a suitable encapsulation technique can help to protect these sensitive compounds from environmental stresses and the process they encounter during the manufacture of food. This also prevents adverse interactions of bioactives with compounds in milk.
  • This article aimed to review the recent literature about the addition of encapsulated bioactives such as vitamins, essential fatty acids, phenolic compounds, minerals, and enzymes into milk and dairy products, with a focus on common applied bioactives, methods of encapsulation, the interaction of bioactives with milk components, and the challenges facing the use of this technology in the dairy industry.

WPI Hydrogels with a Prolonged Drug-Release Profile for Antimicrobial Therapy. Plastun VO, Prikhozhdenko ES, Gusliakova OI, Raikova SV, Douglas TEL, Sindeeva OA, Mayorova OA. Pharmaceutics. 2022 Jun 4;14(6):1199.

  • Infectious sequelae caused by surgery are a significant problem in modern medicine due to their reduction of therapeutic effectiveness and the patients’ quality of life. Recently, new methods of local antimicrobial prophylaxis of postoperative sequelae have been actively developed. They allow high local concentrations of drugs to be achieved, increasing the antibiotic therapy’s effectiveness while reducing its side effects.
  • Researchers have developed and characterized antimicrobial hydrogels based on an inexpensive and biocompatible natural substance from the dairy industry-whey protein isolate-as matrices for drug delivery.
  • The release of cefazolin from the pores of hydrogel structures directly depends on the amount of the loaded drug and occurs in a prolonged manner for three days. Simultaneously with the antibiotic release, hydrogel swelling and partial degradation occurs.
  • The WPI hydrogels absorb solvent, doubling in size in three days and retaining cefazolin throughout the duration of the experiment. The antimicrobial activity of cefazolin-loaded WPI hydrogels against Staphylococcus aureusgrowth is prolonged in comparison to that of the free cefazolin.
  • The overall cytotoxic effect of cefazolin-containing WPI hydrogels is lower than that of free antibiotics. Thus, our work shows that antimicrobial WPI hydrogels are suitable candidates for local antibiotic therapy of infectious surgical sequelae.

Scalable Milk-Derived Whey Protein Hydrogel as an Implantable Biomaterial. Hu Z, Cao W, Ren D, et al. ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2022 Jun 15.

  • There are limited naturally derived protein biomaterials for the available medical implants. High cost, low yield, and batch-to-batch inconsistency, as well as intrinsically differing bioactivity in some of the proteins, make them less beneficial as common implant materials compared to their synthetic counterparts.
  • Here, researchers present a milk-derived whey protein isolate (WPI) as a new kind of natural protein-based biomaterial for medical implants. The WPI was methacrylated at 100 g bench scale, >95% conversion, and 90% yield to generate a photo-cross-linkable material. WPI-MA was further processed into injectable hydrogels, monodispersed microspheres, and patterned scaffolds with photo-cross-linking-based advanced processing methods including microfluidics and 3D printing.
  • In vivo evaluation of the WPI-MA hydrogels showed promising biocompatibility and degradability. Intramyocardial implantation of injectable WPI-MA hydrogels in a model of myocardial infarction attenuated the pathological changes in the left ventricle.
  • These results indicate a possible therapeutic value of WPI-based biomaterials and give rise to a potential collaboration between the dairy industry and the production of medical therapeutics.

Resveratrol production for the valorization of lactose-rich wastes by engineered industrial Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Costa CE, Romaní A, Teixeira JA, Domingues L. Bioresour Technol. 2022 Jun 13;359:127463.

  • The dairy industry generates tons of lactose-rich wastes, which can be a carbon source. Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an industrial workhorse for biotechnological processes, being unable to naturally metabolize lactose.
  • Here, an S. cerevisiae strain was engineered for de novo production of resveratrol from lactose. Resveratrol is an antioxidant with applications in the food and cosmetic industries. Its biosynthesis can side the hindrances of its extraction from plants.
  • A resveratrol titer of 210 mg/L from 100 g/L of lactose in synthetic media was achieved. Process optimization increased by 35% the production by a two-stage process, one favoring ethanol production and a subsequent one with stronger agitation favoring ethanol and lactose consumption with conversion into resveratrol. Resveratrol production from cheese whey was further attained.
  • To the best knowledge of the authors, this is the first report on resveratrol production from lactose, relevant in dairy wastes, establishing grounds for future resveratrol-producing lactose-based processes.

Economic analysis of biosecurity adoption in dairy farming: Evidence from Ireland. Osawe OW, Läpple D, Mee JF.J Anim Sci. 2022 Jun 14:skac218.

  • Given the significant negative impact of livestock disease outbreaks on animal and public health, preventing disease spread through biosecurity practices is important.
  • In this study, researchers used a nationally representative dataset that included information on biosecurity practices of almost 300 Irish dairy farmers.
  • The researchers applied parametric and non-parametric estimation methods to assess the economic implications of adopting the following biosecurity measures: vaccination, bulk tank milk testing for diseases, and not pooling colostrum.
  • The researcher found mixed evidence of biosecurity practices on economic outcomes, measured as gross margins per cow. Specifically, they found that vaccination and testing bulk tank milk for diseases were significantly associated with better economic outcomes for dairy farms. However, they found no significant association with the economic performance of not pooling colostrum from more than one animal.
  • These findings have important policy implications required for targeting support for the adoption of biosecurity practices in dairy herds.

Biofertilizer: The Future of Food Security and Food Safety. Daniel AI, Fadaka AO, Gokul A, Bakare OO, Aina O, Fisher S, Burt AF, Mavumengwana V, Keyster M, Klein A. Microorganisms. 2022 Jun 14;10(6):1220.

  • There is a direct correlation between population growth and food demand. As the global population continues to rise, there is a need to scale up food production to meet the food demand of the population. In addition, the arable land over time has lost its naturally endowed nutrients.
  • Hence, alternative measures such as fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides are used to fortify the soil and scale up the production rate. As efforts are being made to meet this food demand and ensure food security, it is equally important to ensure food safety for consumption.
  • Food safety measures need to be put in place throughout the food production chain lines. One of the fundamental measures is the use of biofertilizers or plant growth promoters instead of chemical or synthesized fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides that poise several dangers to human and animal health.
  • Biofertilizers competitively colonize plant root systems, which, in turn, enhance nutrient uptake, increase productivity and crop yield, improve plants’ tolerance to stress and their resistance to pathogens, and improve plant growth through mechanisms such as the mobilization of essential elements, nutrients, and plant growth hormones.
  • Biofertilizers are cost-effective and ecofriendly in nature, and their continuous usage enhances soil fertility. They also increase crop yield by up to about 10-40% by increasing protein contents, essential amino acids, and vitamins, and by nitrogen fixation.
  • This review therefore highlighted different types of biofertilizers and the mechanisms by which they elicit their function to enhance crop yield to meet food demand. In addition, the review also addressed the role of microorganisms in promoting plant growth and the various organisms that are beneficial for enhancing plant growth.

How to develop strategies to use insects as animal feed: digestibility, functionality, safety, and regulation. Lee JH, Kim TK, Cha JY, Jang HW, Yong HI, Choi YS. J Anim Sci Technol. 2022 May;64(3):409-431.

  • Various insects have emerged as novel feed resources due to their economical, eco-friendly, and nutritive characteristics. Fish, poultry, and pigs are livestock that can feed on insects.
  • Several studies have shown a reduced apparent digestibility coefficient (ADC) when insects were supplied as a replacement for commercial meals related to chitin. Although the expression of chitinase mRNA was present in several livestock, indigestible components in insects, such as chitin or fiber, could be a reason for the reduced ADC. However, various components can positively affect livestock health.
  • Although the bio-functional properties of these components have been verified in vitro, they show positive health-promoting effects owing to their functional expression when directly applied to animal diets. Changes in the intestinal microbiota of animals, enhancement of immunity, and enhancement of antibacterial activity were confirmed as positive effects that can be obtained through insect diets.
  • However, there are some issues with the safety of insects as feed. To increase the utility of insects as feed, microbial hazards, chemical hazards, and allergens should be regulated. The European Union, North America, East Asia, Australia, and Nigeria have established regulations regarding insect feed, which could enhance the utility of insects as novel feed resources for the future.

A comparison of the nutritional content and price between dairy and non-dairy milks and cheeses in UK supermarkets: A cross sectional analysis. Glover A, Hayes HE, Ni H, Raikos V. Nutr Health. 2022 Jun 12:2601060221105744.

  • Non-Dairy (ND) food consumption is rapidly increasing in the UK and for many consumers plant-based diets are presumed to be healthier than standard diets. ND alternatives have different nutritional compositions, and their consumption could present challenges on a public-health level.
  • The aim of this study was to compare the price and nutritional composition of dairy and ND milks and cheeses in UK supermarkets.
  • Macro and micronutrient data was recorded from Alpro’s website and the 6 leading UK grocers for their own-label ND milks and cheeses. For missing micronutrient values the McCance & Widdowson’s dataset was used.
  • 99 total products were extracted: 57 ND milks, 7 dairy milks, 10 dairy cheeses and 25 ND cheeses. Dairy milk and cheese were used as control against which all ND products were compared.
  • Soya and coconut milks had lower values of carbohydrates, sugars, calcium, iodine, and potassium (p< 0.01) than dairy. Almond milk had lower values of carbohydrates (p = 0.01), sugars, calcium, iodine, and potassium (p < 0.01) compared to dairy milk. Protein was significantly (p < 0.01) lower for all ND except soya.
  • Dairy cheeses had higher values for energy, protein, iodine, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and calcium (p< 0.01) than ND.
  • Median prices were similar between dairy and ND milks, whereas ND cheeses were significantly more expensive compared to dairy (p< 0.01).
  • In conclusion, ND alternatives fall short in several key nutrients compared to dairy. Fortification, accurate labeling and nutrition education are needed to help consumers make healthy and informed choices.

Alternative proteins for meat and dairy replacers: Food safety and future trends. Banach JL, van der Berg JP, Kleter G, van Bokhorst-van de Veen H, Bastiaan-Net S, Pouvreau L, van Asselt ED. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2022 Jun 27:1-18.

  • Traditionally, meat and dairy products have been important protein sources in the human diet. Consumers are eating more plant-based proteins, which is reflected in current market trends. Assessing how alternative proteins are processed and their impact on food safety helps realize market opportunities while ensuring food safety.
  • In this review, an analysis of the food safety hazards, along with current industry trends and processing methods associated with alternative proteins for meat and dairy products for the European Union market is described.
  • Understanding the effects of processing and safety alternative proteins is paramount to ensuring food safety and understanding the risks to consumers. However, the data here is limited. With the expected further increase in protein alternatives in consumers’ diets, the risk of food allergens is apparent.
  • The occurrence of processing contaminants in plant-based alternatives may occur, along with anti-nutritional compounds, which interfere with the absorption of nutrients. Further, typical food safety hazards related to the plant, the product itself, or processing are relevant. Although hazards in insects and seaweed are being addressed, other protein alternatives like cultured meat and SCPs warrant attention.
  • These findings can aid industry and governmental authorities in understanding current trends and prioritizing hazards for future monitoring.

Physician and Parent Perceptions on Plant-Based Beverages as Substitutes for Cow’s Milk. A Single City Survey. Fifi AC, Pagan DN, Chakraborty P, Mahajan N, Axelrod C, Bayes LY, Katz DT. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2022 Jun 1.

  • This study assessed physician and parent perceptions regarding plant-based beverage consumption in children.
  • Researchers surveyed 128 physicians and 215 parents of patients at University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospital.
  • Among physicians 52% recommended plant-based beverages, typically soy (33%), for cow’s milk allergy (32%). Only 40% of physicians knew the typical protein content of plant-based beverages compared to cow’s milk. Most physicians (54%) did not discuss potential health risks of plant-based beverages with patients.
  • Among parents, 48% had children <2years old and 22% purchased a plant-based beverage, most commonly almond beverage (39%), due to perceived health benefits (54%). 85% of parents believed that plant-based beverages are nutritionally superior or equivalent to cow’s milk. Most parents (52%) depended on physicians for information on plant-based beverages.
  • Overall, less than one third of physicians and parents believed that plant-based beverages should be called milk. There is a lack of knowledge among physicians and parents regarding plant-based beverage use as a dairy substitute in children. Despite parents relying on physicians for health information, physicians are not routinely counseling parents.
  • Removing the label “milk” from plant-based beverages may improve consumer awareness of their nutritional differences and circumvent potential associated health risks in children.