Environmental Management and Sustainability

Quantifying the Impact of Different Dietary Rumen Modulating Strategies on Enteric Methane Emission and Productivity in Ruminant Livestock: A Meta-Analysis. Pepeta BN, Hassen A, Tesfamariam EH. Animals (Basel). 2024;14(5):763.

  • Livestock contribute to approximately 14.5% of global agricultural-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with ruminants being responsible for about 80% of these emissions. Enteric methane (CH4) emitted by ruminants from ruminal fermentation accounts for 2–12% of the energy loss from the diets they consume. In order to improve the energy utilization efficiency of ruminant diets and reduce their CH4emissions, it is necessary to adopt sustainable dietary strategies that are specifically designed to mitigate CH4
  • A meta-analysis was conducted with an aim to quantify the beneficial effects of nine different dietary rumen modulating strategies which includes: the use of plant-based bioactive compounds (saponin, tannins, oils, and ether extract), feed additives (nitrate, biochar, seaweed, and 3-nitroxy propanol), and diet manipulation (concentrate feeding) on rumen fermentation, enteric methane (CH4) production (g/day), CH4yield (g/kg dry matter intake) and CH4 emission intensity (g/kg meat or milk), and production performance parameters (the average daily gain, milk yield and milk quality) of ruminant livestock.
  • The dataset was constructed by compiling global data from 110 refereed publications on in vivo studies conducted in ruminants from 2005 to 2023 and analyzed using a meta-analytical approach.
  • Of these dietary rumen manipulation strategies, saponin and biochar reduced CH4production on average by 21%. Equally, CH4 yield was reduced by 15% on average in response to nitrate, oils, and 3-nitroxy propanol (3-NOP).
  • In dairy ruminants, nitrate, oils, and 3-NOP reduced the intensity of CH4emission (CH4 in g/kg milk) on average by 28.7%. Tannins and 3-NOP increased on average ruminal propionate and butyrate while reducing the acetate:propionate (A:P) ratio by 12%, 13.5% and 13%, respectively. Oils increased propionate by 2% while reducing butyrate and the A:P ratio by 2.9% and 3.8%, respectively.
  • Use of 3-NOP increased the production of milk fat (g/kg DMI) by 15% whereas oils improved the yield of milk fat and protein (kg/d) by 16% and 20%, respectively. On the other hand, concentrate feeding improved dry matter intake and milk yield (g/kg DMI) by 23.4% and 19%, respectively. However, feed efficiency was not affected by any of the dietary rumen modulating strategies.
  • Generally, the use of nitrate, saponin, oils, biochar and 3-NOP were effective as CH4mitigating strategies, and specifically oils and 3-NOP provided a co-benefit of improving production parameters in ruminant livestock. Equally concentrate feeding improved production parameters in ruminant livestock without any significant effect on enteric methane emission.
  • Therefore, it is advisable to refine further these strategies through life cycle assessment or modelling approaches to accurately capture their influence on farm-scale production, profitability and net greenhouse gas emissions. The adoption of the most viable, region-specific strategies should be based on factors such as the availability and cost of the strategy in the region, the specific goals to be achieved, and the cost-benefit ratio associated with implementing these strategies in ruminant livestock production systems.

A pilot study to capture methane from the exhausted air of dairy cows using a cryogenic approach. Pethani KB, Geick T, Kuhla B.J Environ Manage. 2024 Mar 21;356:120588.

  • In the agricultural sector, ruminants are the largest methane (CH4) emission source and many efforts have been undertaken to reduce these greenhouse gas emissions, while compromising animal health and physiology.
  • On the other hand, ruminal CH4, which is biomethane, is in high demand, especially in its liquid form that can be used as high energy density fuel. However, CH4released from a ruminant is immediately mixed with air and highly diluted (<0.1%), challenging CH4 capture technologies.
  • Here researchers aimed to construct a cryogenic pilot system to capture and liquefy enteric CH4released from dairy cows kept in respiration chambers.
  • To approach this aim, the outlet air from the chambers was directed through a two-step cooling trap to capture CO2(-120 to -130 °C) as a solid in the first and CH4 and O2 as liquids in the second cooler (-160 to -180 °C). Warming the second cooler resulted in the evaporation of O2, thereby separating O2 and CH4.
  • Liquid biomethane purity was in average 90% and was lowest at warming rates higher than 0.88 °C/min. The mean CH4capture efficiency was 92% and found to be independent of sequestration time and flow rate. However, an increase in CH4 concentration to 0.6%, as it occurs directly at the muzzle of a cow, reduced the sequestration time for CH4.
  • These results show that cryogenic technology can be used to obtain liquid biomethane from the air containing ultra-low CH4concentrations as it is found in cattle barns with high efficiency and purity.

Composition of the rumen microbiome and its association with methane yield in dairy cattle raised in tropical conditions. Fregulia P, Dias RJP, Campos MM, Tomich TR, Pereira LGR, Neves ALA. Mol Biol Rep. 2024 Mar 27;51(1):447.

  • Methane (CH4) emissions from rumen fermentation are a significant contributor to global warming. Cattle with high CH4emissions tend to exhibit lower efficiency in milk and meat production, as CH4 production represents a loss of the gross energy ingested by the animal.
  • The objective of this study was to investigate the taxonomic and functional composition of the rumen microbiome associated with methane yield phenotype in dairy cattle raised in tropical areas.
  • Twenty-two Girolando (F1 Holstein x Gyr) heifers were classified based on their methane yield (g CH4/ kg dry matter intake (DMI)) as High CH4 yield and Low CH4 Rumen contents were collected and analyzed using amplicon sequencing targeting the 16 and 18S rRNA genes.
  • The diversity indexes showed no differences for the rumen microbiota associated with the high and low methane yield groups. However, further analysis revealed different taxonomic profiles of prokaryotes related to High and Low CH4, but no difference was found for protozoa. The predicted functional profile of both prokaryotes and protozoa differed between High- and Low CH4
  • In conclusion, these results suggest differences in rumen microbial composition between CH4yield groups, with specific microorganisms being strongly associated with the Low (e.g. Veillonellaceae_UCG – 001) and High (e.g., Entodinium) CH4 Additionally, specific microbial functions were found to be more abundant in the Low CH4 group as opposed to the High CH4 group. This study reinforces that identifying the key functional niches within the rumen is vital to understanding the ecological interplay that drives methane production.

The bacterial and archaeal communities of flies, manure, lagoons, and troughs at a working dairy. Crippen TL, Kim D, Poole TL, Swiger SL, Anderson RC. Front Microbiol. 2024;14:1327841

  • Fundamental investigations into the location, load, and persistence of microbes, whether beneficial or detrimental, are scarce. Many questions about the retention and survival of microbes on various surfaces, as well as the load necessary for spread, exist. To answer these questions, we must know more about where to find various microbes and in what concentrations, the composition of the microbial communities, and the extent of dissemination between various elements.
  • This study investigated the diversity, composition, and relative abundance of the communities associated with manure, lagoons, troughs, house flies, and stable flies present at a dairy, implementing two different free-stall management systems: flow-through and cross-vent.
  • The results showed that there were significant difference in microbial composition between not only each of the dairy elements but also management styles. The primary exceptions were the microbiomes of the house fly and the stable fly. Their compositions heavily overlapped with one another, but interestingly, not with the other components sampled. Additionally, both species of flies carried more pathogens than the other elements of the dairy, indicating that they may not share these organisms with the other components, or that the environments offered by the other components are unsatisfactory for the survival of some pathogens.
  • In conclusion, the lack of overlapping pathogen profiles suggests a lack of transfer from flies to other dairy elements. Dairy health data, showing a low incidence of disease, suggests minimal sharing of bacteria by the flies at a level required for infection, given the health program of this dairy.
  • While flies did carry a multitude of pathogenic bacteria, the mere presence of the bacteria associated with the flies did not necessarily translate into high risk leading to morbidity and mortality at this dairy. Thus, using flies as the sole sentinel of dairy health may not be appropriate for all bacterial pathogens or dairies.

Relationship between Dairy Cow Health and Intensity of Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Džermeikaitė K, Krištolaitytė J, Antanaitis R. Animals (Basel). 2024 Mar 7;14(6):829.

  • The dairy industry is facing criticism for its role in exacerbating global GHG emissions, as climate change becomes an increasingly pressing issue. These emissions mostly originate from methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • Enhancing animal productivity via nutrition, feeding management, reproduction, or genetics can result in a decrease in CH4emissions per unit of meat or milk (e.g., per cow). This CH4 unit approach allows for a more accurate comparison of emissions across different animal production systems, considering variations in productivity.
  • Expressing methane emissions per unit allows for easier comparison between different sources of emissions. Additionally, expressing emissions per unit highlights the relative impact of these sources on the environment. By quantifying emissions on a per unit basis, it becomes easier to identify high-emission sources and target mitigation efforts accordingly.
  • By focusing on emissions per unit, policymakers and producers can work together to implement practices that lower emissions without sacrificing productivity. Expressing methane emissions in this way aligns with policy goals aimed at curbing overall greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Tackling cattle health issues can increase productivity, reduce GHG emissions, and improve animal welfare. Addressing livestock health issues can also provide favorable impacts on human health by reducing the prevalence of infectious illnesses in livestock, thereby mitigating the likelihood of zoonotic infections transmitting to humans.
  • The primary objective of veterinary medicine is to eradicate clinical infectious diseases in small groups of animals. However, as the animal population grows, the emphasis shifts towards proactive treatment to tackle subclinical diseases and enhance production.
  • Proactive treatment encompasses the consistent monitoring and implementation of preventive measures, such as vaccination and adherence to appropriate nutrition. Through the implementation of these measures, the livestock industry may enhance both animal well-being and mitigate the release of methane and nitrous oxide, thereby fostering environmental sustainability.
  • This review seeks to conduct a thorough examination of the correlation between the health condition of cattle, the composition of milk produced, and the emissions of methane gas. It aims to identify areas where research is lacking and to provide guidance for future scientific investigations, policy making, and industry practices. The goal is to address the difficulties associated with methane emissions in the cattle industry.

Animal Health and Food Safety

Comparisons of recycled manure solids and wood shavings/sawdust as bedding material -implications for animal welfare, herd health, milk quality and bedding costs in Swedish dairy herds. Jeppsson KH, Magnusson M, Bergsten C, et al. J Dairy Sci. 2024 Mar 28:S0022-0302(24)00630-1.

  • Increasing shortages and costs of common bedding materials have led dairy farmers in Sweden to consider using recycled manure solids, which are readily available and low-cost, as an alternative bedding material. The main risks are effects on udder health and milk quality, but RMS could also affect animal welfare and claw health.
  • The advantages and disadvantages of using recycled manure solids bedding have not been fully investigated, and findings in other countries cannot be directly applied to Swedish conditions and climate. Therefore, this observational cross-sectional study investigated the use of recycled manure solids as bedding regarding associations with certain aspects of animal welfare, herd health, milk quality, and bedding costs in Swedish dairy herds.
  • Thirty-four dairy farms using recycled manure solids or wood shavings/sawdust (each n = 17) were compared. Each farm was visited 2 times during the housing period 2020-2021, once in October-December and once in March-May. Dairy barns were observed, animal welfare was assessed, and free-stall dimensions were measured.
  • On each farm visit, composite samples of unused bedding outside the barn and used bedding material from the free stalls, respectively, were taken for total bacterial count and dry matter analysis. Samples of bulk tank milk for determination of total bacterial count were taken in connection to the visits. In addition, samples of unused and used bedding material and manure from alleys for analysis of 3 Treponema species associated with digital dermatitis were gathered and analyzed.
  • Total bacterial count was significantly higher in unused and used recycled manure solids bedding than in wood shavings/sawdust, but there were no significant differences in bulk milk total bacterial count or somatic cell count.
  • The aspects of animal welfare that were assessed did not differ significantly between the 2 bedding systems, while the prevalence of total claw disorders, dermatitis and sole ulcers were significantly lower in the recycled manure solids herds. Treponema spp. were not detected in unused recycled manure solids material, but all recycled manure solids herds had presence of digital dermatitis recorded at foot trimming.
  • An economic assessment based on the interview results and price level from winter 2021 revealed that the costs of recycled manure solids bedding varied with amount of recycled manure solids produced. Thus, recycled manure solids are a potential alternative bedding material for dairy cows in Sweden and can be a profitable option for large dairy herds. However, the high level of total bacteria in the material requires attention to bedding and milking routines as well as regular monitoring of herd health.

Inflammatory response in dairy cows caused by heat stress and biological mechanisms for maintaining homeostasis. Kim H, Jo JH, Lee HG, Park W, Lee HK, Park JE, Shin D.PLoS One. 2024 Mar 25;19(3):e0300719.

  • Climate change increases global temperatures, which is lethal to both livestock and humans. Heat stress is known as one of the various livestock stresses, and dairy cows react sensitively to high-temperature stress.
  • Researchers aimed to better understand the effects of heat stress on the health of dairy cows and observing biological changes. Individual cows were divided into normal (21-22 °C, 50-60% humidity) and high temperature (31-32 °C, 80-95% humidity), respectively, for 7-days.
  • The researchers performed metabolomic and transcriptome analyses of the blood and gut microbiomes of feces.
  • In the high-temperature group, nine metabolites including linoleic acid and fructose were downregulated, and 154 upregulated and 72 downregulated DEGs (Differentially Expressed Genes) were identified, and eighteen microbes including Intestinimonas and Pseudoflavonifractor in genus level were significantly different from normal group.
  • Linoleic acid and fructose have confirmed that associated with various stresses, and functional analysis of DEG and microorganisms showing significant differences confirmed that high-temperature stress is related to the inflammatory response, immune system, cellular energy mechanism, and microbial butyrate production.
  • These biological changes were likely to withstand high-temperature stress. Immune and inflammatory responses are known to be induced by heat stress, which has been identified to maintain homeostasis through modulation at metabolome, transcriptome and microbiome levels.
  • In these findings, heat stress condition can trigger alteration of immune system and cellular energy metabolism, which is shown as reduced metabolites, pathway enrichment and differential microbes.
  • In conclusion, high-temperature stress contributed to the reduction of metabolites, changes in gene expression patterns and composition of gut microbiota, which are thought to support dairy cows in withstanding high-temperature stress via modulating immune-related genes, and cellular energy metabolism to maintain homeostasis.

Ontario dairy producers’ and veterinarians’ perspectives: barriers to biosecurity implementation. Power GM, Renaud DL, Miltenburg C, Spence KL, Hagen BNM, Winder CB. J Dairy Sci. 2024 Mar 13:S0022-0302(24)00544-7.

  • Implementing biosecurity protocols is necessary to reduce the spread of disease on dairy farms. In Ontario, biosecurity implementation is variable among farms and barriers to biosecurity are unknown.
  • Thirty-five semi-structured interviews were conducted between July 2022 and January 2023 with dairy producers (n = 17) and veterinarians (n = 18). Participants also completed a demographic survey.
  • Thematic analysis was performed with constructivist and grounded theory paradigms. Thematic coding was done inductively using NVivo software.
  • Dairy producers’ understanding of the definition of biosecurity varied, with all understanding that it was to prevent the spread of disease. Furthermore, the most common perception was that biosecurity prevented the spread of disease onto the farm.
  • Both veterinarians and producers stated that closed herds were one of the most important biosecurity protocols.
  • Barriers to biosecurity implementation included a lack of resources, internal and external business influencers, individual perceptions of biosecurity, and a lack of industry initiative.
  • Understanding the barriers producers face provides veterinarians with the chance to tailor their communication to ensure barriers are reduced, or for other industry members to reduce the barriers.

Trends in Burdens of Disease by Transmission Source (USA, 2005-2020) and Hazard Identification for Foods: Focus on Milkborne Disease. Stephenson MM, Coleman ME, Azzolina NA.J Epidemiol Glob Health. 2024 Mar 28.

  • Robust solutions to global, national, and regional burdens of communicable and non-communicable diseases, particularly related to diet, demand interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary collaborations to effectively inform risk analysis and policy decisions.
  • S. outbreak data for 2005-2020 from all transmission sources were analyzed for trends in the burden of infectious disease and foodborne outbreaks.
  • Outbreak data from 58 Microsoft Access®data tables were structured using systematic queries and pivot tables for analysis by transmission source, pathogen, and date. Trends were examined using graphical representations. Hazard Identification was conducted based on the number and severity of illnesses.
  • The evidence does not support increasing trends in the burden of infectious foodborne disease, though strongly increasing trends were observed for other transmission sources. Morbidity and mortality were dominated by person-to-person transmission; foodborne and other transmission sources accounted for small portions of the disease burden.
  • Foods representing the greatest hazards associated with the four major foodborne bacterial diseases were identified. Fatal foodborne disease was dominated by fruits, vegetables, peanut butter, and pasteurized dairy.
  • The available evidence conflicts with assumptions of zero risk for pasteurized milk and increasing trends in the burden of illness for raw milk.
  • For future evidence-based risk management, transdisciplinary risk analysis methodologies are essential to balance both communicable and non-communicable diseases and both food safety and food security, considering scientific, sustainable, economic, cultural, social, and political factors to support health and wellness for humans and ecosystems.

Human Health and Nutrition

US food manufacturer can say that eating yogurt reduces risk of type 2 diabetes, says FDA. Tanne JH.BMJ. 2024 Mar 6;384:q569.

  • The US Food and Drug Administration has said that it will not object if the yogurt maker Danone North America claims that regularly eating yogurt reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • The decision means that Danone can say, “Eating yogurt regularly, at least 2 cups (3 servings) per week, may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. FDA has concluded that there is limited information supporting this claim” or, “Eating yogurt regularly, at least 2 cups (3 servings) per week, may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes according to limited scientific evidence.”
  • Technically, the FDA did not approve the yogurt claims, but it said in a 51 page letter that it would not object to the statements, which are called qualified health claims. “A qualified health claim is supported by scientific evidence but does not meet the more rigorous ‘significant scientific agreement standard’ required for an authorized health claim,” it said.
  • The FDA responded to a “qualified health claim petition” filed by Danone North America in 2019 that asked the FDA to review the use of a qualified health claim regarding the relation between consumption of all yogurts that met the FDA’s “standards of identity.” The petition noted that the evidence supported the health effects of yogurt as a food rather than any single nutrient or compound, thus being independent of fat or sugar content. It included a list of scientific studies including a review in the Journal of Dairy Science.
  • Dariush Mozaffarian, director of the Food as Medicine Institute at Tufts University in Boston, who assisted Danone in its petition, stated that food could not be marketed as preventing or curing a disease, as it would be considered a drug. He said, “I think that’s actually a significant problem both for the food industry and the FDA because now that we’re learning that food actually is medicine, and food can, in some cases, treat or cure disease, there’s no regulatory pathway to get there.”

The association between dairy intake in adolescents on inflammation and risk markers of type 2 diabetes during young adulthood: results of the DONALD study. Hohoff E, Jankovic N, Perrar I, Schnermann M, Herder C, Nöthlings U, Libuda L, Alexy U. Public Health Nutr. 2024 Mar 13;27(1):e91.

  • In most Western countries, dairy intake is an essential part of a healthy diet for children and adolescents because of its nutrient composition that is beneficial for healthy growth (e.g. protein or Ca content). Nevertheless, dairy intake has been linked with both positive and potential negative effects on human health.
  • The aim of this analysis was to investigate whether habitual intake of total dairy (TD) or different dairy types (liquid, solid, fermented, non-fermented, low-fat, high-fat, low-sugar and high-sugar dairy) during adolescence is associated with biomarkers of low-grade inflammation as well as risk factors of type 2 diabetes in young adulthood.
  • Multivariable linear regression analyses were used to investigate prospective associations between estimated TD intake as well as intake of different types of dairy and a pro-inflammatory score, based on high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, IL-6, IL-18, leptin and adiponectin, and insulin resistance assessed as Homeostasis Model Assessment Insulin Resistance in an open-cohort study.
  • Data from participants (n375) of the DOrtmund Nutritional and Anthropometric Longitudinally Designed (DONALD) study were included, for whom at least two 3-day weighed dietary records during adolescence (median age: 11 years) and one blood sample in young adulthood (>18 years) were available.
  • There was no statistically significant association between TD intake or intake of any dairy type and the pro-inflammatory score. TD intake as well as each dairy type intake and insulin resistance also showed no association.
  • The habitual intake of dairy or individual types of dairy during adolescence does not seem to have a major impact on low-grade systemic inflammation and insulin resistance in the long term. There was no indication regarding a restriction of dairy intake for healthy children and adolescents in terms of diabetes risk reduction.

Role of fermented dairy products in the health benefits of a mediterranean diet. Rizzoli R, Biver E. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2024 Mar 19;36(1):75.

  • Fermented dairy products, particularly yogurts and cheese, have been used for thousands of years to preserve milk, to make it more transportable, less perishable, readily available and more digestible, because of lactose breakdown during the fermentation process.
  • The Mediterranean diet includes fermented dairy products like yogurt and cheese. These foods provide calcium, phosphorus, fat, carbohydrates and protein, all nutrients influencing various systems including bone, cardiovascular system, intermediary metabolism, cancer, central nervous system, and inflammation.
  • In addition, they contain prebiotics and provide probiotics which are capable of modifiying microbiota composition and metabolism, potentially acting also indirectly on the various systems.
  • A large body of evidence indicates that fermented dairy products consumption significantly contributes to the beneficial effects of a Mediterranean diet on various systems’ health.
  • Through different mechanisms involving intakes of key nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, fat, carbohydrates and protein, as well as pre- and probiotics, FDP consumption like yogurts or cheese, which are part of Mediterranean diet, positively influence bone growth and bone homeostasis, cardiovascular health, cancer mortality, T2D risk and possibly cognitive function.
  • The various effects observed in fermented dairy food consumers resemble those observed in subjects adherent to a Mediterranean diet, indicating that fermented dairy products may contribute to the health benefits associated with a Mediterranean diet.

Maternal fermented food intake and infant neurodevelopment: The Japan Environment and Children’s Study. Tanaka T, Matsumura K, Inadera H, et al; Japan Environment and Children’s Study (JCES) Group. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2024 Mar;33(1):66-82.

  • Fermented foods play an important role in establishing intestinal bacterial flora, and the composition of the intestinal bacterial flora might be associated with neurodevelopment.
  • This study investigated the association between maternal intake of fermented foods during pregnancy and early neuro-development in offspring.
  • Data were analyzed for 73,522 pregnant women participating in the Japan Environment and Children’s Study. Their intake of four common fermented foods during pregnancy was assessed using a semi-quantitative FFQ. Neurodevelopment in their infants at 1 year of age was estimated using the Ages and Stages Questionnaires.
  • Maternal intake of fermented soybeans and cheese was each associated with a significantly reduced risk of delay in fine motor skills in the third and fourth quartiles.
  • For problem-solving, preventive associations were observed with maternal intake of fermented soybeans in the second and third quartiles and with maternal intake of cheese in the third and fourth quartiles.
  • Maternal intake of yogurt was associated with a significantly reduced risk of delay in personal-social skills in the third and fourth quartiles, while that of cheese was associated with a reduced risk in the third quartile.
  • These results suggest that fermented food intake during pregnancy may have beneficial associations with several areas of psychomotor development in children.

Anti-oral cancer properties of potential probiotic lactobacilli isolated from traditional milk, cheese, and yogurt. Nami Y, Tavallaei O, Kiani A, Moazami N, Samari M, Derakhshankhah H, Jaymand M, Haghshenas B. Sci Rep. 2024 Mar 16;14(1):6398.

  • Oral cancer stands as a prevalent malignancy, with an annual mortality rate of 177,757 cases and 377,713 new cases diagnosed worldwide each year. The etiology of oral cancer is multifactorial, with major contributing factors including dietary elements, infections, radiation exposure, papillomavirus, smoking, alcohol consumption, and genetics.
  • Probiotic bacteria are increasingly acknowledged for their health-promoting properties and therapeutic potential. Their significant anti-cancer capabilities are particularly noteworthy, as demonstrated in recent studies, showcasing the efficacy of specific probiotic strains, especially those derived from traditional dairy products, in inducing apoptosis and inhibiting proliferation in various cancer cell lines.
  • This study investigates the probiotic and anti-cancer effects of 21 isolated Lactobacillus strains from cheese, milk, and yogurt in Kermanshah, Iran, on oral cancer cell lines KB and OSCC.
  • Four selected isolates (Y33, M45, C5, and C28) displayed good viability and resistance to specific antibiotics. Notably, strains C28 and Y33 exhibited the best results, showing susceptibility or semi-susceptibility to five antibiotics. Y33, with high cell surface hydrophobicity (62%), demonstrated significant anti-pathogenic activity, inhibiting the growth of tested pathogens and displaying strong adhesion to human intestinal Caco-2 cells (52%).
  • Further assessments, including acridine orange/ethidium bromide staining and mRNA expression analysis, revealed four isolates (C5, C28, M45, and Y33) with promising probiotic properties. Particularly, Y33’s protein-based extract metabolites showed dose- and time-dependent inhibition of KB and OSCC cancer cell lines, inducing apoptosis without significant cytotoxic effects on normal cells.
  • Y33 (Lactiplantibacillus plantarum) exhibited the strongest probiotic potential, surpassing conventional anti-cancer drugs, suggesting its therapeutic potential for preventing oral cancer cell proliferation and improving survival rates in oral cancer patients.

Probiotic Properties of Lactococcus lactis Strains Isolated from Natural Whey Starter Cultures. De Chiara I, Marasco R, Della Gala M, Fusco A, Donnarumma G, Muscariello L. Foods. 2024 Mar 21;13(6):957

  • Lactococcus lactisis a lactic acid bacterium (LAB), generally recognized as safe, and has been widely used in the food industry, especially in fermented dairy products. Numerous studies have evaluated the technological and probiotic properties of lactococci; however, few studies have reported the probiotic characteristics of  lactis strains isolated from dairy products.
  • In this work, probiotic potential, including survival in simulated gastric juice, tolerance to bile salts, hydrophobicity, and auto- and co-aggregation, was evaluated in  lactisstrains from natural whey starter cultures.
  • The results highlighted the potential probiotic properties of some strains under study, which showed high values of hydrophobicity and auto-aggregation and low values of co-aggregation with the tested pathogenic strains.
  • In addition, studies of safety parameters, such as antibiotic susceptibility and haemolytic activity, confirmed the safety status of all strains under study. Finally, the four most promising strains were investigated for their ability to inhibit the enteroinvasive Escherichia coli(EIEC) and Salmonella Typhimurium adhesion to epithelial cells, using a model of co-cultured epithelial cells.
  • The results demonstrated that  lactisstrains A3-A5-I4-I7 showed the ability to compete with pathogens as well as the ability to exert a protective effect on cells previously infected with E. coli or S. Typhimurium. The identification of new probiotic LAB strains from dairy products aims to produce novel functional foods.

The impact of heat treatment of bovine milk on gastric emptying and nutrient appearance in peripheral circulation in healthy females: a randomized controlled trial comparing pasteurized and ultra-high temperature milk. Milan AM, Barnett MP, Mithen RF, et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2024 Mar 6:S0002-9165(24)00337-X.

  • Heat treatments of dairy, including pasteurization and ultra-high temperature (UHT) processing, alter milk macromolecular structures, and ultimately affect digestion. In vitro, animal, and human studies show faster nutrient release or circulating appearance after consuming UHT milk (UHT-M) compared with pasteurized milk (PAST-M), with a faster gastric emptying rate proposed as a possible mechanism.
  • The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of milk heat treatment on gastric emptying as a mechanism of faster nutrient appearance in blood. Researchers hypothesized that GE and circulating nutrient delivery following consumption would be faster for UHT-M than PAST-M.
  • In this double-blind randomized controlled cross-over trial, healthy female (n = 20) dairy consumers, consumed 500 mL of either homogenized bovine UHT-M or PAST-M. Gastric content volume (GCV) emptying half-time (T50) was assessed over 3 hours by magnetic resonance imaging subjective digestive symptoms, plasma amino acid, lipid and B vitamin concentrations, and gastric myoelectrical activity were measured over 5 hours.
  • Although GCV T50did not differ, GCV time to emptying 25% of the volume was 31% longer following UHT-M compared with PAST-M. Although GCV remained larger for a longer duration following UHT-M, plasma essential amino acid AUC was greater following UHT-M than PAST-M. Heat treatment did not impact gastric myoelectrical activity, plasma appetite hormone markers or subjective appetite scores.
  • In conclusion, contrary to expectations, gastric emptying was slower with UHT-M, yet, as anticipated, aminoacidemia was greater. The larger GCV following UHT-M suggests that gastric volume may poorly predict circulating nutrient appearance from complex food matrices. Dairy heat treatment may be an effective tool to modify nutrient release by impacting digestion kinetics.

Innovation, Economics, and Dairy Alternatives

Cohort profile: The FarmMERGE project-Merging human and animal databases to investigate the relationship between farmer and livestock health and welfare. The HUNT Study. Torske MO, Steen N, Ursin JT, Krokstad S, Nørstebø H, Muri K. PLoS One. 2024 Mar 28;19(3):e0301045.

  • Stockmanship is an important determinant for good animal welfare and health.
  • The goal of the FarmMERGE project is to investigate the associations between farmer health and work environment, and the health, productivity and welfare of their livestock.
  • Researchers merged several livestock industry databases with a major total population-based health study in Norway (The Trøndelag Health Study 2017-2019 (HUNT4)).
  • Researchers merged a list of HUNT4 participants (n = 56,042) whose self-reported main occupation was “farmer” (n = 2,407) with agricultural databases containing production and health data from sheep, swine, dairy and beef cattle from 2017-2020. The Central Coordinating Register for Legal Entities was used as an intermediary step to achieve a link between the farmer and farming enterprise data.
  • Researchers identified 816 farmers (89.5% male, mean age 51.3 years) who had roles in 771 farming enterprises with documented animal production. The cohort included 675 unique farmer-farm combinations in cattle production, 139 in sheep, and 125 in swine.
  • Researchers linked at least one HUNT4 participant to approximately 63% of the dairy farms, 53% of the beef cattle farms, 30% of the sheep farms, and 38% of the swine farms in Nord-Trøndelag County in the 2017-2019 period.
  • Using existing databases may be an efficient way of collecting large amounts of data for research, and using total population-based human health surveys may decrease response bias. However, the quality of the resulting research data will depend on the quality of the databases used, and thorough knowledge of the databases is required.

A living lab approach to understanding dairy farmers’ needs of technologies and data to improve herd health: Focus groups from 6 European countries. Doidge C, Ånestad LM, Kaler J, et al. J Dairy Sci. 2024 Mar 13:S0022-0302(24)00550-2.

  • For successful development and adoption of technology on dairy farms, farmers need to be included in the innovation process. However, the design of agricultural technologies usually takes a top-down approach with little involvement of end-users at the early stages.
  • Living Labs offer a methodology that involve end-users throughout the development process and emphasize the importance of understanding users’ needs.
  • Currently, exploration of dairy farmers’ needs of technologies has been limited to specific types of technology (e.g., smartphone apps) and adult cattle. The aim of this study was to use a Living Lab approach to identify dairy farmers’ needs of data and technologies to improve herd health and inform innovation development.
  • Eighteen focus groups were conducted with, in total, 80 dairy farmers from Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the UK. Data were analyzed using Template Analysis and 6 themes were generated which represented the fundamental needs of autonomy, comfort, competence, community and relatedness, purpose, and security.
  • Farmers favored technologies that provided them with convenience, facilitated their knowledge and understanding of problems on farm, and allowed them to be self-reliant. Issues with data sharing and accessibility, and usability of software were barriers to technology use.
  • Furthermore, farmers were facing problems around recruitment and management of labor and needed ways to reduce stress. Controlling aspects of the barn environment, such as air quality, hygiene, and stocking density, was a particular concern in relation to youngstock management.
  • In conclusion, the findings suggest that developers of farm technologies may want to include farmers in the design process to ensure a positive user experience and improve accessibility. The needs identified in this study can be used as a framework when designing farm technologies to strengthen need satisfaction and reduce any potential harm toward needs.

Phage cocktail superimposed disinfection: A ecological strategy for preventing pathogenic bacterial infections in dairy farms. Xue Y, Gao Y, Guo M, Zhang Y, Zhao G, Xia L, Ma J, Cheng Y, Wang H, Sun J, Wang Z, Yan Y. Environ Res. 2024 Mar 25:118720.

  • Bovine mastitis (BM) is mainly caused by bacterial infection that has a highly impact on dairy production, affecting both economic viability and animal well-being.
  • A cross-sectional study was conducted in dairy farms to investigate the prevalence and antimicrobial resistance patterns of bacterial pathogens associated with BM.
  • The analysis revealed that Staphylococcus (49%), Escherichia (16%), Pseudomonas (11%), and Klebsiella (6%) were the primary bacterial pathogens associated with mastitis. A significant proportion of Staphylococcus strains displayed multiple drug resistance.
  • The use of disinfectants is an important conventional measure to control the pathogenic bacteria in the environment. Bacteriophages (Phages), possessing antibacterial properties, are natural green and effective disinfectants. Moreover, they mitigate the risk of generating harmful disinfection byproducts, which are commonly associated with traditional disinfection methods.
  • Based on the primary bacterial pathogens associated with mastitis in the investigation area, a phage cocktail, named SPBC-SJ, containing seven phages capable of lysing S. aureus, E. coli, and P. aeruginosa was formulated.
  • SPBC-SJ exhibited superior bactericidal activity and catharsis effect on pollutants (glass surface) compared to chemical disinfectants. Clinical trials confirmed that the SPBC-SJ-based superimposed disinfection group (phage combined with chemical disinfectants) not only cut down the dosage of disinfectants used, but significantly reduced total bacterial counts on the ground and in the feeding trough of dairy farms.
  • Furthermore, SPBC-SJ significantly reduced the abundance of Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas in the environment of the dairy farm.
  • These findings suggest that phage-based superimposed disinfection is a promising alternative method to combat mastitis pathogens in dairy farms due to its highly efficient and environmentally-friendly properties.

Innovative applications of whey protein for sustainable dairy industry: Environmental and technological perspectives-A comprehensive review. El-Aidie SAM, Khalifa GSA. Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf. 2024 Mar;23(2):e13319.

  • Industrial waste management is critical to maintaining environmental sustainability. The dairy industry (DI), as one of the major consumers of freshwater, generates substantial whey dairy effluent, which is notably rich in organic matter and thus a significant pollutant. The effluent represents environmental risks due to its high biological and chemical oxygen demands.
  • Today, stringent government regulations, environmental laws, and heightened consumer health awareness are compelling industries to responsibly manage and reuse whey waste.
  • Therefore, this study investigates sustainable solutions for efficiently utilizing DI waste.
  • Employing a systematic review approach, the research reveals that innovative technologies enable the creation of renewable, high-quality, value-added food products from dairy byproducts.
  • These innovations offer promising sustainable waste management strategies for the dairy sector, aligning with economic interests. The main objectives of the study deal with, (a) assessing the environmental impact of dairy sector waste, (b) exploring the multifaceted nutritional and health benefits inherent in cheese whey, and (c) investigating diverse biotechnological approaches to fashion value-added, eco-friendly dairy whey-based products for potential integration into various food products, and thus fostering economic sustainability.
  • Finally, the implications of this work span theoretical considerations, practical applications, and outline future research pathways crucial for advancing the sustainable management of dairy waste.

Coupling dairy wastewaters for nutritional balancing and water recycling: sustainable heterologous 2-phenylethanol production by engineered cyanobacteria. Usai G, Cordara A, Mazzocchi E, Re A, Fino D, Pirri CF, Menin B. Front Bioeng Biotechnol. 2024 Mar 1;12:1359032.

  • Microalgae biotechnology is hampered by the high production costs and the massive usage of water during large-volume cultivations. These drawbacks can be softened by the production of high-value compounds and by adopting metabolic engineering strategies to improve their performances and productivity.
  • Today, the most sustainable approach is the exploitation of industrial wastewaters for microalgae cultivation, which couples valuable biomass production with water resource recovery. Among the food processing sectors, the dairy industry generates the largest volume of wastewaters through the manufacturing process.
  • These effluents are typically rich in dissolved organic matter and nutrients, which make it a challenging and expensive waste stream for companies to manage. Nevertheless, these rich wastewaters represent an appealing resource for microalgal biotechnology.
  • In this study, researchers propose a sustainable approach for high-value compound production from dairy wastewaters through cyanobacteria.
  • This strategy is based on a metabolically engineered strain of the model cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatusPCC 7942 (already published elsewhere) for 2-phenylethanol (2-PE). 2-PE is a high-value aromatic compound that is widely employed as a fragrance in the food and cosmetics industry thanks to its pleasant floral scent.
  • First, researchers qualitatively assessed the impact of four dairy effluents on cyanobacterial growth to identify the most promising substrates. Both tank-washing water and the liquid effluent of exhausted sludge resulted as suitable nutrient sources. Thus, the researchers created an ideal buffer system by combining the two wastewaters while simultaneously providing balanced nutrition and completely avoiding the need for fresh water.
  • The combination of 75% liquid effluent of exhausted sludge and 25% tank-washing water with a fine-tuning ammonium supplementation yielded 180 mg L-1of 2-PE and a biomass concentration of 0.6 gDW L-1 within 10 days. The mixture of 90% exhausted sludge and 10% washing water produced the highest yield of 2-PE (205 mg L-1) and biomass accumulation (0.7 gDW L-1), although in 16 days. Through these treatments, the phosphates were completely consumed, and nitrogen was removed in a range of 74%-77%.
  • Overall, this approach significantly valorized water recycling and the exploitation of valuable wastewaters to circularly produce marketable compounds via microalgae biotechnology, laying a promising groundwork for subsequent implementation and scale-up.

Metabolically engineered Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum for comprehensive conversion of acid whey into valuable biofuels and biochemicals. Ma Y, Guo N, Wang S, Wang Y, Jiang Z, Guo L, Luo W, Wang Y. Bioresour Technol. 2024 Mar 28:130640.

  • As a byproduct of dairy production, the disposal of acid whey poses severe environmental challenges.
  • Herein, an innovative solution involving metabolically engineering Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum to convert all carbon sources in acid whey into sustainable biofuels and biochemicals was presented.
  • By introducing several heterologous metabolic pathways relating to metabolisms of lactose, galactose, and lactate, the ultimately optimized strain, LM-09, exhibited exceptional performance by producing 15.1 g/L butanol with a yield of 0.33 g/g and a selectivity of 89.9%.
  • Through further overexpression of alcohol acyl transferase, 2.7 g/L butyl acetate along with 6.4 g/L butanol was generated, resulting in a combined yield of 0.37 g/g.
  • This study achieves the highest reported butanol titer and yield using acid whey as substrate in clostridia and marks pioneering production of esters using acid whey.
  • The findings demonstrate an innovative bioprocess that enhances renewable feedstock biotransformation, thereby promoting economic viability and environmental sustainability of biomanufacturing.

Exploring the Role of Lactic Acid Bacteria Blends in Shaping the Volatile Composition of Fermented Dairy and Rice-Based Beverages: A Step towards Innovative Plant-Based Alternatives. Diez-Ozaeta I, Vázquez-Araújo L, Estrada O, Puente T, Regefalk J. Foods. 2024;13(5):664.

  • Plant-based products are currently gaining consumers’ attention due mainly to the interest in reducing the consumption of foods of animal origin. A comparison of two fermentative processes utilizing dairy milk and a rice beverage was conducted in the present study, using a commercial lactic acid bacteria strain combination (CH) and a selected mixture of lactic acid bacteria from yogurt (LLV).
  • Cell viability and physicochemical characteristics (total soluble solids, pH, total acidity) were determined to describe the samples before and after fermentation, as well as the volatile composition (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) and the sensory profile (Rate-All-That-Apply test).
  • Results of the analyses showed significant differences among samples, with a clear effect of the raw material on the volatile profile and the sensory characterization, as well as a significant effect of the microbial combination used to ferment the matrices. In general, the selected LLV strains showed a greater effect on both matrices than the commercial combination.
  • Dairy samples were characterized by a volatile profile represented by different chemical families (ketones, lactones, acids, etc.), which contributed to the common descriptive attributes of milk and yogurt (e.g., dairy, cheese). In contrast, rice beverages were mainly characterized by the presence of aldehydes and alcohols (cereal, legume, nutty).

High Hydrostatic Pressure: Influences on Allergenicity, Bioactivities, and Structural and Functional Properties of Proteins from Diverse Food Sources. Braspaiboon S, Laokuldilok T. Foods. 2024 Mar 18;13(6):922.

  • High hydrostatic pressure (HHP) has gained prominence in the food processing industry over the last decade. In addition to the effectiveness of microbial and enzymatic inactivation, HHP directly impacts protein structures and properties.
  • Accordingly, this review article aims to consolidate relevant research findings elucidating the effects of HHP on protein structure, allergenicity, bioactivities, and functional properties across diverse protein sources. They encompass cereals, legumes, nuts, meat, poultry products, milk, eggs, seafood, algae, insects, seeds, and vegetables.
  • This review provides insights into the consistent trends of HHP effects on each protein source.
  • In conclusion, HHP induces alterations in non-covalent bonds within protein structures, leading to the unfolding of their interior regions and consequential changes in their properties. Remarkably, the allergenicity of cereals, legumes, and nuts decreases while their bioactivities and digestibility escalate.
  • The disruption of non-covalent bonds during HHP results in the exposure of the interior hydrophobic regions to the surface microenvironment, thereby enhancing the surface hydrophobicity of proteins, particularly those derived from seeds and vegetables.
  • HHP weakens the allergenicity and elevates the foaming properties of proteins from dairy products, including improving the gelling properties and antioxidant activities of egg proteins. Texture profiles of meat and poultry, particularly hardness, are enhanced.
  • Furthermore, HHP demonstrates the potential to diminish the allergenicity of seafood proteins and augment insect protein bioactivities. Lastly, HHP enhances the extraction of algal bioactive components, improving their nutritional quality.