Environmental Management and Sustainability

Recognizing salinity threats in the climate crisis. L CE, Downey K, Colby RS, Freire CA, Nichols S, Burgess MN, Judy KJ. Integr Comp Biol. 2022 May 31:icac069.

  • Climate change is causing habitat salinity to transform at unprecedented rates across the globe. While much of the research on climate change has focused on rapid shifts in temperature, far less attention has focused on the effects of changes in environmental salinity.
  • Consequently, predictive studies on the physiological, evolutionary, and migratory responses of organisms and populations to the threats of salinity change are relatively lacking. This omission represents a major oversight, given that salinity is among the most important factors that define biogeographic boundaries in aquatic habitats.
  • In this perspective paper, researchers briefly touch on responses of organisms and populations to rapid changes in salinity occurring on contemporary time scales. They also discuss factors that might confer resilience to certain taxa, enabling them to survive rapid salinity shifts. Lastly, the researchers identify additional data that are needed to make better predictions in the future. Future studies on climate change should account for the multiple environmental factors that are rapidly changing, especially habitat salinity.

A 130-year global inventory of methane emissions from livestock: trends, patterns, and drivers. Zhang L, Tian H, Shi H, Pan S, Chang J, Dangal SRS, Qin X, Wang S, Tubiello FN, Canadell JG, Jackson RB. Glob Chang Biol. 2022.

  • Livestock contributes approximately one-third of global anthropogenic methane (CH4) emissions. Quantifying the spatial and temporal variations of these emissions is crucial for climate change mitigation. Although country-level information is reported regularly through national inventories and global databases, spatially-explicit quantification of century-long dynamics of CH4 emissions from livestock has been poorly investigated.
  • Using the Tier 2 method adopted from the 2019 Refinement to 2006 IPCC guidelines, researchers estimated CH4emissions from global livestock at a spatial resolution of 0.083° (~9 km at the equator) during the period 1890-2019.
  • The study showed that global CH4emissions from livestock increased from 31.8 Tg CH4 yr-1 in 1890 to 131.7 Tg CH4 yr-1 in 2019, a fourfold increase in the past 130 years. The growth in global CH4 emissions mostly occurred after 1950 and was mainly attributed to the cattle sector.
  • This estimate shows faster growth in livestock CH4emissions as compared to the previous Tier 1 estimates and is ~20% higher than the estimate from FAOSTAT for the year 2019. Regionally, South Asia, Brazil, North Africa, China, the United States, Western Europe, and Equatorial Africa shared the majority of the global emissions in the 2010s.
  • South Asia, tropical Africa, and Brazil have dominated the growth in global CH4emissions from livestock in the recent three decades. Changes in livestock CH4 emissions were primarily associated with changes in population and national income and were also affected by the policy, diet shifts, livestock productivity improvement, and international trade.
  • The new geospatial information on the magnitude and trends of livestock CH4emissions identifies emission hotspots and spatial-temporal patterns, which will help to guide meaningful CH4 mitigation practices in the livestock sector at both local and global scales.

Enteric methane mitigation interventions. Fouts JQ, Honan MC, Roque BM, Tricarico JM, Kebreab E. Transl Anim Sci. 2022;6(2):txac041.

  • Mitigation of enteric methane (CH4) presents a feasible approach to curbing agriculture’s contribution to climate change. One intervention for reduction is dietary reformulation, which manipulates the composition of feedstuffs in ruminant diets to redirect fermentation processes toward low CH4
  • Examples include reducing the relative proportion of forages to concentrates, determining the rate of digestibility and passage rate from the rumen, and dietary lipid inclusion. Feed additives present another intervention for CH4abatement and are classified based on their mode of action.
  • Through inhibition of key enzymes, 3-nitrooxypropanol (3-NOP) and halogenated compounds directly target the methanogenesis pathway. Rumen environment modifiers, including nitrates, essential oils, and tannins, act on the conditions that affect methanogens and remove the accessibility of fermentation products needed for CH4 Low CH4-emitting animals can also be directly or indirectly selected through breeding interventions, and genome-wide association studies are expected to provide efficient selection decisions.
  • Overall, dietary reformulation and feed additive inclusion provide immediate and reversible effects, while selective breeding produces lasting, cumulative CH4emission reductions.

Impact of anaerobic digestion on reactive nitrogen gas emissions from dairy slurry storage. Wang Y, Liang L, Liu J, Guo D, Zhu Z, Dong H. J Environ Manage. 2022 May 17;316:115306.

  • Biogas digesters are commonly used to treat animal manure/slurry, and abundant digested slurry is generated during the digestion process. Gas emissions from digested and raw slurry may vary with the change in slurry parameters after digestion, but the mechanism is not well understood.
  • For this study, gas emissions from raw dairy slurry and digested dairy slurry during 98 days of storage were investigated in this study to evaluate the effects of anaerobic digestion on reactive nitrogen emissions from slurry storage.
  • Results showed that much higher N2O and NO emission and lower NH3emission was achieved in digested slurry than in raw slurry. The mean gaseous emission of raw slurry and digested slurry accounted for 27.8% and 17.1% of the initial TN for NH3, 0.1% and 3.5% of the initial TN for N2O, and 0.0% and 0.2% of the initial TN for NO, respectively.
  • Among all detected N2O-forming and reducing microbial genes, the abundance of amoA genes was the most closely related to N2O flux (p < 0.01). More aerobic conditions occurred in digested slurry, and dissolved oxygen increased to 0.4-1.6 mg L-1after 35 days because the low organic matter of digested slurry resulted in good infiltration of surface air into the slurry.
  • The increased dissolved oxygen stimulated the growth of Nitrosomonas and the increase in amoA gene copies and contributed to the high N2O and NO emissions in digested slurry through the nitrification process. Vulcanibacillus, Thauera, Castellaniella, and Thermomonas were the major denitrifying bacteria that occurred in digested slurry and caused an incomplete denitrification process, which could be another reason for the increase in N2O and NO emissions from digested dairy slurry.
  • This study indicated that anaerobic digestion reduced the organic matter content of the slurry and caused an active microbial environment that facilitated the transformation of slurry N to N2O in digested slurry storage, thus lowering the NH3emission compared with raw slurry storage. Therefore, aside from NH3, N2O should also be preferentially mitigated during digested slurry storage because N2O is a greenhouse gas with high global warming potential.

Efficacy of a vermifilter at mitigating greenhouse gases and ammonia emissions from dairy wastewater. Miito GJ, Ndegwa PM, Alege FP, Coulibaly SS, Harrison J. J Environ Qual. 2022 May 4.

  • Dairy effluent is a potential source of gaseous pollutants associated with global warming and soil acidification. Mitigating such emissions during handling and storage requires substantial financial and labor input.
  • This study evaluated a low-cost technology for mitigating gaseous emissions from dairy wastewater.
  • For nine months, a pilot-scale vermifilter system installed on a commercial dairy farm was studied. Bimonthly samples of the dairy wastewater influent and effluent from the vermifilter system were collected. These samples’ potential gas emissions (ammonia-NH3, methane-CH4 , carbon dioxide-CO2 , & nitrous oxide-N2 O) were measured using a closed-loop dynamic flux chamber method.
  • Results indicated the following reductions in emissions of these gases by the vermifilter system: 84 to 100% for NH3; 58 to 82% for CO2 ; and 95 to 100% for CH4 . Nitrous oxide emissions were mainly below our instrument detection limits and were thus not reported.
  • The vermifilter showed the potential of reducing the GWP from the dairy wastewater by up to 100%. This study further indicated that higher ambient temperatures led to higher emissions of CH4(R2 = 0.56) and NH3 (R2 = 0.53) from untreated dairy wastewater.
  • Overall, the vermifilter system has potential to mitigate gaseous emissions from dairy wastewater.

Animal Health and Food Safety

Dairy cows value an open area for lying down. Shewbridge Carter L, Haskell MJ, Ball D, Gibbons J, Harris WE, Rutter SM. PLoS One. 2022 May 27;17(5):e0268238.

  • As dairy cows are being housed for longer periods, with all-year-round housing growing in popularity, it is important to ensure housed environments are meeting the needs of cows. Dairy cows are motivated to access open lying areas, although previous motivation studies on this topic have confounded surface type and location (i.e. pasture outdoors vs cubicles indoors).
  • This study measured cow motivation for lying down on an indoor open mattress (MAT; 9 m x 5 m) compared to indoor mattress-bedded cubicles, thus removing the confounding factor of surface type and location. This was repeated for an identically sized indoor deep-bedded straw yard (ST), to investigate whether surface type affected motivation for an open lying area.
  • Thirty Holstein-Friesian dairy cows were housed in groups of 5 (n = 5 x 6) in an indoor robotic milking unit with access to six mattress-bedded cubicles. To assess motivation, cows were required to walk increasing distances via a one-way indoor raceway to access the open lying areas: Short (34.5 m), followed by Medium (80.5 m) and Long (126.5 m). Cows could choose to walk the raceway, leading to the MAT or ST, to lie down or they could lie down on the cubicles for ‘free’.
  • Overall, cows lay down for longer on the open lying areas at each distance compared to the cubicles, with cows lying down slightly longer on ST than MAT, although lying times on the open lying areas did decrease at the Long distance. However, cows were still lying for >60% of their lying time on the open lying areas at the Long distance.
  • This study demonstrates that cows had a high motivation for an open lying area, the provision of which could better cater for the behavioral needs of housed dairy cows and improve housed dairy cow welfare.

Impact of adopting non-antibiotic dry-cow therapy on the performance and udder health of dairy cows. Lavery A, Craig AL, Gordon AW, Ferris CP. Vet Rec. 2022 May 28:e1731.

  • On dairy farms, the prophylactic use of antibiotics at drying-off is being increasingly challenged.
  • The objective of this study was to examine the effect of antibiotic dry-cow therapy (DCT) or non-antibiotic DCT on dairy cow performance and udder health.
  • 285 Holstein cows with low risk of intramammary infection (<200,000 cells/ml) were assigned to one of two treatments, either antibiotic DCT (A + TS; antibiotic treatment in combination with internal and external teat sealants) or non-antibiotic DCT (TS; internal and external teat sealant only).
  • There was no statistically significant difference between treatments for mean cow milk yield, composition or energy corrected milk yield. Mean somatic cell count was 0.16 logehigher in the TS treatment compared to A + TS treatment, which was significant. A 50% increase in the number of mastitis cases was observed in the A + TS treatment compared to TS treatment (odds ratio = 1.5), although this was not significant. There was no statistical evidence that treatment had any effect on colostrum quality and composition.
  • In conclusion, theresults indicate that non-antibiotic DCT can be adopted in ‘low-risk’ cows who were offered grass silage-based diets in cubicle accommodation, with low risk of adverse effects on performance or udder health.

Identifying associations between management practices and antimicrobial resistances of sentinel bacteria recovered from bulk tank milk on dairy farms. McLaughlin D, Bradley A, Dottorini T, Giebel K, Leach K, Hyde R, Green M.Prev Vet Med. 2022 May 10;204:105666.

  • There is increasing emphasis on the need to reduce antimicrobial use (AMU) on dairy farms to reduce the emergence of resistant bacteria which could compromise animal health and impact human medicine. In addition to AMU, the role of farm management is an area of growing interest and represents an alternative route for possible interventions.
  • The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of farm management practices and AMU on resistances of sentinel bacteria in bulk milk.
  • Dairy farms from two, geographically separate locations within the British Isles were recruited as part of two study groups. Farm management data from study group 1 (n = 125) and study group 2 (n = 16) were collected by means of a face-to-face questionnaire with farmers carried out during farm visits. For study group 2, additional data on AMU was collated from veterinary medicine sales records. Sentinel bacterial species (Enterococcus spp. and E. coli), which have been reported to be of value in antimicrobial resistance (AMR) studies, were isolated from bulk tank milk to monitor antimicrobial susceptibilities by means of minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs).
  • Practices which were found to be of importance with respect to Enterococcus spp. included management of slurry, external entry of livestock to the dairy herd, use of bedding materials and conditioners, cubicle cleaning routines and antibiotic practices, including use of β-lactams and fluoroquinolones.
  • Practices deemed to be of importance for E. coli MICs included cubicle and bedding management practices, teat preparation routines at milking and the milking procedure itself.
  • The researchers concluded that a variety of routine farm management practices are associated with MICs of sentinel bacteria in bulk milk. Amendment of these practices offers additional possible routes of intervention, alongside alterations to AMU, to mitigate the emergence and dissemination of AMR on dairy farms.

Dynamic changes in fecal bacterial microbiota of dairy cattle across the production line. Zhao L, Li X, Atwill ER, Aly SS, Williams DR, Su Z. BMC Microbiol. 2022 May 14;22(1):132.

  • Microbiota play important roles in the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of dairy cattle as the communities are responsible for host health, growth, and production performance.
  • However, a systematic characterization and comparison of microbial communities in the GIT of cattle housed in different management units on a modern dairy farm are still lacking.
  • In this study, researchers used 16S rRNA gene sequencing to evaluate the fecal bacterial communities of 90 dairy cattle housed in 12 distinctly defined management units on a modern dairy farm.
  • The researchers found that cattle from management units 5, 6, 8, and 9 had similar bacterial communities while the other units showed varying levels of differences. Hutch calves had a dramatically different bacterial community than adult cattle, with at least 10 genera exclusively detected in their samples but not in non-neonatal cattle.
  • Moreover, the researchers compared fecal bacteria of cattle from every pair of the management units and detailed the number and relative abundance of the significantly differential genera. Lastly, they identified 181 pairs of strongly correlated taxa in the community, showing possible synergistic or antagonistic relationships.
  • Overall,this study assesses the fecal microbiota of cattle from 12 distinctly defined management units along the production line on a California dairy farm. The results highlight the similarities and differences of fecal microbiota between cattle from each pair of the management units. Especially, the data indicate that the newborn calves host very different gut bacterial communities than non-neonatal cattle, while non-neonatal cattle adopt one of the two distinct types of gut bacterial communities with subtle differences among the management units.
  • In conclusion, the gut microbial communities of dairy cattle change dramatically in bacterial abundances at different taxonomic levels along the production line. The findings provide a reference for research and practice in modern dairy farm management.

Ruminal bacterial community is associated with the variations of total milk solid content in Holstein lactating cows. Liu K, Zhang Y, Huang G, Zheng N, Zhao S, Wang J.Anim Nutr. 2022 Jan 22;9:175-183.

  • Total milk solid (TMS) content directly reflects the quality of milk. Rumen bacteria ferment dietary components, the process of which generates the precursors for the synthesis of milk solid, therefore, the variation in rumen bacterial community could be associated with milk solid in dairy cows.
  • In this study, 45 healthy mid-lactation Holstein dairy cows with the similar body weight, lactation stage, and milk yield were initially used for the selection of 10 cows with high TMS (HS) and 10 cows with low TMS (LS). All those animals were under the same feeding management, and the individual milk yield was recorded for 14 consecutive days before milk and rumen fluid were sampled. Rumen fluid was used to determine bacterial community by 16S rRNA gene sequencing technique.
  • The HS cows had significantly greater feed intake and milk TMS, fat, protein content than LS cows (P< 0.05). Among the volatile fatty acids (VFA), propionic acid and valeric acid concentrations were significantly greater in HS cows than those in LS cows (P < 0.05). There was no significant difference in the concentrations of acetate, butyrate, isobutyrate, valerate, and the total VFA (P > 0.05), nor was the acetate-to-propionate ratio, pH value, ammonia nitrogen and microbial crude protein concentrations (P > 0.05).
  • Significant differences in the relative abundances of some bacterial genera were found between HS and LS cows. Spearman’s rank correlation analysis revealed that TMS content was correlated positively with the abundances of RuminococcaceaeUCG-014, Ruminococcaceae NK4A214 group, Prevotellaceae UCG-001, Butyrivibrio 2, Prevotellaceae UCG-003, Candidatus SaccharimonasRuminococcus 2, Lachnospiraceae XPB1014 group, probable genus 10, Eubacterium ventriosum group, but negatively correlated with Pyramidobacte. In addition, Ruminococcaceae UCG-014, Ruminococcus 2, Ruminococcaceae UCG001, probable genus 10 and Eubacterium ventriosum group might boost the total VFA production in the rumen.
  • In conclusion, the dry matter intake of dairy cows and some special bacteria in rumen were significantly associated with TMS content, which suggests the potential function of rumen bacteria contributing to TMS content in dairy cows.

Human Nutrition and Health

 Dose-Dependent Effect of Intake of Fermented Dairy Foods on the Risk of Diabetes: Results From a Meta-analysis. Zhang K, Bai P, Deng Z. Can J Diabetes. 2022;46(3):307-312.

  • Diabetes mellitus (DM) is one of the largest epidemics the world has faced. Given the morbidity and mortality burden of DM, it is important to identify modifiable factors that affect the natural course of the disease.
  • Researchers carried out this meta-analysis of published studies to estimate the overall DM risk of intake of fermented dairy foods, and to reveal the dose-dependent effect on DM risk. They searched the PubMed, Embase and China National Knowledge Infrastructure databases for all articles published between the years 1980 to 2020 on the association between fermented dairy foods intake and DM risk.
  • Fifteen studies met the inclusion criteria for the study, including a total of 485,992 participants and 20,207 incidences of diabetes. Overall, statistical evidence of significantly decreased diabetes risk was found to be associated with higher intake of fermented dairy foods. In a subgroup analysis, higher yogurt consumption was significantly associated with decreased DM risk (OR, 0.828; 95% CI, 0.729 to 0.941).
  • This meta-analysis shows that intake of fermented dairy foods is associated with decreased DM risk, and the effect may be dose-dependent.

Dairy product consumption and calcified atherosclerotic plaques in the coronary arteries: The NHLBI Family Heart Study. Neisius U, Zhou G, Ward RE, Ellison RC, Gaziano JM, Djoussé L. Clin Nutr ESPEN. 2022;49:517-521.

  • Diet modification is a major component of non-pharmacological coronary heart disease (CHD) prevention. Few studies have examined the association between consumption of different dairy products with subclinical coronary artery disease.
  • Therefore, researchers sought to examine whether milk, yogurt, or cheese consumption is associated with calcified atherosclerotic plaques in the coronary arteries (CAC).
  • Researchers cross-sectionally examined 2278 participants from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study. Mean age of participants was 58 ± 13 years. Dairy consumption was assessed by a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire.
  • The researchers observed an inverse association of cheese consumption with prevalent CAC: odds ratio of 0.63 when comparing cheese intake of ≥5 servings/week with <1/week, adjusting for sex, age, body mass index, cigarette pack years, presence of CHD, family income, and education. In contrast, there was no association between yogurt or milk consumption and CAC.
  • Surprisingly, thesedata suggest that cheese consumption but not yogurt or milk is associated with a lower odds of CAC in men and women.

Intensified training in adolescent female athletes: a crossover study of Greek yogurt effects on indices of recovery. McKinlay BJ, Wallace PJ, Klentrou P, et al. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2022 Mar 22;19(1):17-33.

  • During a period of intensified exercise (e.g. training/identification camps), often undertaken by competitive youth athletes, the maintenance of muscle function and peak performance can become challenging due to an accumulation of fatigue. The provision of post-exercise dairy protein in adults has been previously shown to accelerate recovery; however, its efficacy in youth athletes is currently unknown.
  • Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the effects of increased dairy protein consumption with plain Greek yogurt (GY) on performance and recovery indices during an intensified soccer training camp in adolescent female soccer players.
  • Thirteen players (14.3 ± 1.3 years) participated in a randomized, double blinded, crossover design study where they received 3 servings/day of either GY (~115 kcal, 17 g protein, ~11.5 g carbohydrates) or an isoenergetic carbohydrate control (CHO, ~115 kcal, 0.04 g protein, ~28.6 g carbohydrates) during two 5-day soccer-specific training camps. Performance was assessed before and after each training camp.
  • Training led to decrements in counter-movement jump, broad jump and aerobic capacity, with no effect of GY. A significant increase in anti-inflammatory cytokine IL10 was observed from pre- to post-training in GY (+26% [p= 0.008]) but not in CHO (p = 0.89).
  • CRP and CK increased (+65% [p= 0.005] and +119% [p ≤ 001], respectively), while IGF-1 decreased (-34% [p ≤ 0.001]) from pre- to post-training with no difference between conditions.
  • These results demonstrate that consumption of GY did not offer any added recovery benefit with respect to measures of performance and in the attenuation of exercise-induced muscle damage above that achieved with energy-matched carbohydrate in this group of young female soccer players. However, regular consumption of GY may assist with the acute anti-inflammatory response during periods of intensified training in adolescent athletes.

Total Dairy Consumption Is Not Associated With Likelihood of a First Clinical Diagnosis of Central Nervous System Demyelination. Dieu DYR, Dunlop E, Daly A, Lucas RM, Probst Y, Black LJ. Front Neurol. 2022 May 13;13:888559.  

  • Background: The evidence associating consumption of dairy products and risk of MS is contradictory and inconclusive.
  • The objective of this study was to test associations between dairy consumption and the likelihood of a first clinical diagnosis of central nervous system demyelination (FCD), a common precursor to MS.
  • Researchers used data from the 2003-2006 Ausimmune Study, a population-based Australian, multicenter, matched case-control study (272 cases, 519 controls). Total dairy consumption (servings/day) was calculated by summing consumption of milk, cheese and yogurt. The researchers conducted sensitivity analyses in the subset of participants who had had a classic first demyelinating event (FDE), defined as a single, first episode of symptoms suggestive of CNS demyelination.
  • The results showed no statistically significant associations between total dairy consumption (per one serving/day) and FCD. However, yogurt consumption (vs. no yogurt consumption) was associated with an 11% decreased likelihood of FDE.
  • In conclusion, total dairy consumption was not associated with FCD in this Australian case-control study, while yogurt consumption was associated with reduced likelihood of FDE.

Acute Effects of Milk vs. Carbohydrate on Bone Turnover Biomarkers Following Loading Exercise in Young Adult Females. Prowting JL, Skelly LE, Kurgan N, Fraschetti EC, Klentrou P, Josse AR. Front Nutr. 2022 Apr 29;9:840973.

  • Dairy products and impact exercise have previously been identified to be independently beneficial for bone mineral properties, however, it is unknown how the combination of these two osteogenic interventions may alter acute bone turnover.
  • Using a randomized crossover design, we compared the acute effects of consuming milk vs. an isoenergetic carbohydrate control beverage on bone biomarkers following loading exercise.
  • Thirteen healthy female participants (Age = 20.3 ± 2.3 years) consumed either 550 mL of 0% skim white milk (MILK) or 52.7 g of maltodextrin in 550 mL of water (CHO), both 5 min and 1 hour following completion of a combined plyometric (198 impacts) and resistance exercise bout.
  • Venous blood samples were obtained pre-exercise, and 15 min, 75 min, 24 h and 48 h post-exercise to assess serum concentrations of bone resorption biomarkers, specifically carboxyl-terminal crosslinking telopeptide of type I collagen, receptor activator nuclear factor kappa-β ligand (RANKL), and sclerostin (SOST), as well as bone formation biomarkers, specifically osteoprotegerin (OPG) and osteocalcin (OC).
  • When absolute biomarker concentrations were examined, there were no interaction or group effects for any biomarker, however, there were main time effects (p< 0.05) for RANKL, SOST, and OC, which were lower, and the OPG: OPG/RANKL ratio, which was higher at 75 min post-exercise compared with baseline in both conditions.
  • This analysis showed that the relative post-exercise type I collagen response was significantly lower in the MILK compared to the CHO condition (p= 0.03), with no differences observed in the other biomarkers. These results show that while milk does not appear to alter absolute concentrations of bone biomarkers compared to CHO, it may attenuate relative post-exercise bone resorption (i.e., blunt the usual catabolic response to exercise).

Innovation, Economics, and Dairy Alternatives

Green Revolution to Gene Revolution: Technological Advances in Agriculture to Feed the World. Hamdan MF, Mohd Noor SN, Abd-Aziz N, Pua TL, Tan BC. Plants (Basel). 2022 May 12;11(10):1297.

  • Technological applications in agriculture have evolved substantially to increase crop yields and quality to meet global food demand. Conventional techniques, such as seed saving, selective breeding, and mutation breeding (variation breeding), have dramatically increased crop production, especially during the ‘Green Revolution’ in the 1990s.
  • However, newer issues, such as limited arable lands, climate change, and ever-increasing food demand, pose challenges to agricultural production and threaten food security. In the following ‘Gene Revolution’ era, rapid innovations in the biotechnology field provide alternative strategies to further improve crop yield, quality, and resilience towards biotic and abiotic stresses.
  • These innovations include the introduction of DNA recombinant technology and applications of genome editing techniques, such as transcription activator-like effector (TALEN), zinc-finger nucleases (ZFN), and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats/CRISPR associated (CRISPR/Cas) systems.
  • However, the acceptance and future of these modern tools rely on the regulatory frameworks governing their development and production in various countries. Herein, we examine the evolution of technological applications in agriculture, focusing on the motivations for their introduction, technical challenges, possible benefits and concerns, and regulatory frameworks governing genetically engineered product development and production

Drought adaptive microbes as bioinoculants for the horticultural crops. Kour D, Khan SS, Kaur T, Kour H, Singh G, Yadav A, Yadav AN. Heliyon. 2022 May 19;8(5):e09493.

  • Drought stress is among the most destructive stresses for agricultural productivity. It interferes with normal metabolic activities of the plants resulting, a negative impact on physiology and morphology of the plants. The management of drought stress requires various adaptive and alleviation strategies in which stress adaptive microbiomes are exquisite bioresources for plant growth and alleviation of drought stress.
  • Diverse drought adaptive microbes belonging to genera Achromobacter, Arthrobacter, Aspergillus, Bacillus, Pseudomonas, Penicilliumand Streptomyces have been reported worldwide. These bioresources exhibit a wide range of mechanisms such as helping plant in nutrient acquisition, producing growth regulators, lowering the levels of stress ethylene, increasing the concentration of osmolytes, and preventing oxidative damage under water deficit environmental conditions.
  • Horticulture is one of the potential agricultural sectors to speed up the economy, poverty and generation of employment for livelihood. The applications of drought adaptive plant growth promoting (PGP) microbes as biofertilizers and biopesticides for horticulture is a potential strategy to improve the productivity and protection of horticultural crops from abiotic and biotic stresses for agricultural sustainability.

The Early Prediction of Common Disorders in Dairy Cows Monitored by Automatic Systems with Machine Learning Algorithms. Zhou X, Xu C, Wang H, Xu W, Zhao Z, Chen M, Jia B, Huang B. Animals (Basel). 2022 May 12;12(10):1251.

  • In this study, researchers used multidimensional data from automated monitoring systems and milking systems to predict disorders of dairy cows by employing eight machine learning algorithms.
  • The data included the season, days in milking, parity, age at the time of disorders, milk yield (kg/day), activity (unitless), six variables related to rumination time, and two variables related to the electrical conductivity of milk.
  • The researchers analyzed 131 sick cows and 149 healthy cows with identical lactation days and parity; all data are collected on the same day, which corresponds to the diagnosis day for disordered cows.
  • For disordered cows, each variable, except the ratio of rumination time from daytime to nighttime, displays a decreasing/increasing trend from d-7 or d-3 to d0 and/or d-1, with the d0, d-1, or d-2 values reaching the minimum or maximum. The test data sensitivity for three algorithms exceeded 80%, and the accuracies of the eight algorithms ranged from 65.08% to 84.21%. The area under the curve (AUC) of the three algorithms was &gt;80%. Overall, Rpart best predicts the disorders with an accuracy, precision, and AUC of 81.58%, 92.86%, and 0.908, respectively.
  • The findings indicate that machine learning algorithms may be an appropriate and powerful decision support and monitoring tool to detect herds with common health disorders.

Plant-Based Dairy Alternatives: Consumers’ Perceptions, Motivations, and Barriers-Results from a Qualitative Study in Poland, Germany, and France. Adamczyk D, Jaworska D, Affeltowicz D, Maison D. Nutrients. 2022 May 23;14(10):2171.

  • Plant-based dairy substitutes have been gaining popularity in recent years, but consumer perspective on these products is still relatively unexplored.
  • The purpose of the study was to investigate the potential of plant-based dairy alternatives, including consumers’ motives and the barriers to embracing this food category.
  • A qualitative study (24 focus groups, 154 respondents) was conducted in three countries: Poland, Germany, and France.
  • The study allowed researchers to describe the reasons for using dairy substitutes (curiosity, health reasons, influence of others), their perceived advantages, and the barriers to their use.
  • The study also showed that the role of dairy differs between the surveyed countries and is related to culinary traditions. As a result, attitudes towards and motives for using dairy substitutes differ in the different countries.

Application of Edible Insects as Novel Protein Sources and Strategies for Improving Their Processing. Kim TK, Cha JY, Yong HI, Jang HW, Jung S, Choi YS. Food Sci Anim Resour. 2022 May;42(3):372-388.

  • Insects have long been consumed by humans as a supplemental protein source, and interest in entomophagy has rapidly increased in recent years as a potential sustainable resource in the face of environmental challenges and global food shortages.
  • However, food neophobia inhibits the widespread consumption of edible insects, despite their high nutritional and functional value. The own characteristics of edible insect protein such as foaming properties, emulsifying properties, gelling properties and essential amino acid ratio can be improved by drying, defatting, and extraction.
  • Although nutritional value of some protein-enriched bread, pasta, and meat products, especially essential amino acid components was increased, replacement of conventional food with edible insects as a novel food source has been hindered owing to the poor cross-linking properties of edible insect protein. This deterioration in physicochemical properties may further limit the applicability of edible insects as food.
  • Therefore, strategies must be developed to improve the quality of edible insect enriched food with physical, chemical, and biological methods. It was presented that an overview of the recent advancements in these approaches and highlight the challenges and prospects for this field. Applying these strategies to develop insect food in a more familiar form can help to make insect-enriched foods more appealing to consumers, facilitating their widespread consumption as a sustainable and nutritious protein source.

Surmounting the off-flavor challenge in plant-based foods. Leonard W, Zhang P, Ying D, Fang Z. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2022 May 23:1-22.

  • Plant-based food products have been receiving an astronomical amount of attention recently, and their demand will most likely soar in the future. However, their unpleasant, intrinsic flavor and odor are the major obstacles limiting consumer’s acceptance. These off-flavors are often described as “green,” “grassy,” “beany,” “fatty” and “bitter.”
  • This review highlights the presence and formation of common off-flavor volatiles (aldehydes, alcohols, ketones, pyrazines, furans) and nonvolatiles (phenolics, saponins, peptides, alkaloids) from a variety of plant-based foods, including legumes (e.g. lentil, soy, pea), fruits (e.g. apple, grape, watermelon) and vegetables (e.g. carrot, potato, radish).
  • These compounds are formed through various pathways, including lipid oxidation, ethanol fermentation and Maillard reaction (and Strecker degradation). The effect of off-flavor compounds as received by the human taste receptors, along with its possible link of bioactivity (e.g. anti-inflammatory effect), are briefly discussed on a molecular level.
  • Generation of off-flavor compounds in plants is markedly affected by the species, cultivar, geographical location, climate conditions, farming and harvest practices. The effects of genome editing (i.e. CRISPR-Cas9), various processing technologies, such as antioxidant supplementation, enzyme treatment, extrusion, fermentation, pressure application, and different storage and packaging conditions, have been increasingly studied in recent years to mitigate the formation of off-flavors in plant foods.
  • The information presented in this review could be useful for agricultural practitioners, fruits and vegetables industry, and meat and dairy analogue manufacturers to improve the flavor properties of plant-based foods.

Perspectives from healthcare professionals on the nutritional adequacy of plant-based dairy alternatives: results of a mixed methods inquiry. Clark BE, Pope L, Belarmino EH. BMC Nutr. 2022 May 12;8(1):46.

  • Healthcare professionals are important sources of nutrition and health information for Americans. As plant-based (PB) dairy alternative products increase in popularity, concerns have been raised about their nutritional adequacy, and whether consumers understand nutritional differences to dairy.
  • Healthcare professionals directly advise consumers on dietary choices, therefore researchers sought to examine their understanding and opinions of PB dairy alternatives.
  • For this paper, researchers analyzed comments submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by health professionals (n = 191) in 2018-2019 in response to a request for public comment on the nutrition of PB dairy alternatives and the use of dairy terms like “milk”, “cheese”, and “yogurt” on their labels.
  • Survey data from healthcare professionals (n = 417) was collected in 2020-2021. The results showed that three-fourths of health professionals believe consumers are confused about the nutritional differences between dairy and PB dairy alternatives. Over half (53%) do not believe either product is nutritionally superior to the other. Many believe dairy products have higher nutrient value, but also believe PB dairy alternatives can be part of a healthful diet.
  • Compared to other types of health professionals, dietetics professionals demonstrated a more accurate understanding of the nutritional value of both products and were more likely to believe nutrients like protein and vitamin D may be nutrients of concern for PB dairy alternative consumers. They were also more likely to believe consumers are confused about these products. Health professionals who submitted comments to the FDA showed stronger opinions in favor of PB dairy alternatives.
  • In conclusion, although PB dairy alternatives have nutritional value in certain diets, responses from health professionals suggest that changing their labeling to be different than dairy may reduce confusion. Improved nutrition education among health professionals may also be necessary.

The impacts of bovine milk, soy beverage, or almond beverage on the growing rat microbiome. Cakebread J, Wallace OAM, Henderson H, Jauregui R, Young W, Hodgkinson A. PeerJ. 2022 May 10;10:e13415.

  • Milk, the first food of mammals, helps to establish a baseline gut microbiota. In humans, milk and milk products are consumed beyond infancy, providing comprehensive nutritional value. Non-dairy beverages, produced from plant, are increasingly popular as alternatives to dairy milk.
  • The nutritive value of some plant-based products continues to be debated, whilst investigations into impacts on the microbiome are rare. Researchers previously showed soy and milk supplemented rats had similar bone density whereas the almond supplemented group had compromised bone health.
  • The aim of this study was to compare the impact of bovine milk, soy and almond beverages on the rat gut microbiome.
  • Three-week-old male Sprague Dawley rats were randomly assigned to five groups (n= 10/group) and fed ad libitum for four weeks. Two control groups were fed either standard diet (AIN-93G food) or AIN-93G amino acids (AA, containing amino acids equivalent to casein but with no intact protein) and with water provided ad libitum. Three treatment groups were fed AIN-93G AA and supplemented with either bovine ultra-heat treatment (UHT) milk or soy or almond UHT beverages as their sole liquid source.
  • Almost all phyla (91%) differed significantly in relative abundance according to treatment and there were distinct differences seen in community structure between treatment groups at this level. At family level, forty taxa showed significantly different relative abundance (FDR < 0.05). Bacteroidetes (Bacteroidaceae) and Firmicutes populations (Lactobacillaceae, (Clostridiaceaeand Peptostreptococcaceae) increased in relative abundance in the AA almond supplemented group. Supplementation with milk resulted in increased abundance of Actinobacteria (Coriobacteriaceae and Bifidobacteriaceae) compared with other groups. Soy supplementation increased abundance of some Firmicutes (Lactobacilliaceae) but not Actinobacteria, as previously reported by others.
  • In conclusion,supplementation with milk or plant-based drinks has broad impacts on the intestinal microbiome of young rats. Changes induced by cow milk were generally in line with previous reports showing increased relative abundance of Bifidobacteriacea, whilst soy and almond beverage did not. Changes induced by soy and almond drink supplementation were in taxa commonly associated with carbohydrate utilization.