Environmental Management and Sustainability

A large share of climate impacts of beef and dairy can be attributed to ecosystem services other than food production. von Greyerz K, Tidåker P, Karlsson JO, Röös E. J Environ Manage. 2022 Oct 18;325(Pt A):116400.

  • Domesticated ruminants supply nutrient-dense foods but at a large environmental cost. However, many ruminant production systems are multi-functional, providing ecosystem services (ES) other than direct provision of food. When quantifying the climate impact of ruminant products using life cycle assessment (LCA), provisioning ES (i.e. beef and milk) are generally considered the only valuable outputs and other ES provided are ignored, which risks overlooking positive contributions associated with ruminant production.
  • Non-provisioning ES can be included in LCA by economic allocation, using compensatory payments (through agri-environmental schemes) as a proxy for the economic value of ES. For example, farmers can receive payments for maintenance of pastures, which supports e.g. pollination. However, the association between different payment schemes, the ES provided, and livestock production is not always straightforward, and it can be difficult to determine which payment schemes to include in the allocation.
  • This study examined how accounting for ES in quantification of climate impact for beef and milk production on Swedish farms was affected by different ways of coupling ES to livestock production through payment schemes.
  • Quantification was done using LCA, attributing the climate impact to beef, milk, and other ES by economic allocation.
  • This resulted in <1-48% and 11-31% of climate impacts being allocated to other ES, instead of beef and milk, respectively, affecting suckler farms most. The results were influenced by which payment schemes, representing different ES, that were included; when only payments directly related to livestock rearing were included, the difference in the climate impact was still large between farm types, while the difference decreased considerably when all environmental schemes were included.
  • While emissions do not disappear, ES-corrected climate impact can potentially be useful as part of consumer communication or in decision-making, reducing the risk of overlooking ES provided by ruminant production in a simpler way than using separate indicators.

Mapping the carbon footprint of milk production from cattle: A systematic review. Mazzetto AM, Falconer S, Ledgard S. J Dairy Sci. 2022 Oct 11:S0022-0302(22)00585-9.

  • Recently, many studies have assessed the carbon footprint of bovine milk production. However, due to the complexity of life cycle assessment, most studies have analyzed research farms or “representative” farms, which do not capture farm variability. Furthermore, the lack of consistency in most studies means that we can seldom compare the footprint between different countries.
  • To address this issue, researchers performed a systematic review of the literature, removing inconsistencies in life cycle assessment papers, namely the functional unit, allocation to milk, and global warming potential.
  • The researchers found 21 papers from 19 countries; footprint recalculations were necessary for 16 papers. New Zealand, Uruguay, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States had a footprint <1 kg of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) per kilogram of fat- and protein-corrected milk, whereas 5 countries had a footprint >2 kg CO2e·kg-1fat- and protein-corrected milk.
  • Countries where milk is produced mainly as a pasture-based system had most of their footprint (>50%) associated with the emission of methane from enteric fermentation, whereas other countries (especially from Europe and North America) had a significant share of emissions from manure management, feed production, and fertilizer use.
  • This different greenhouse gas profile allow decision makers to tailor mitigation options specific for each country. The choice of the allocation method had a strong influence in the final footprint.

Invited review: Current enteric methane mitigation options. Beauchemin KA, Ungerfeld EM, Arndt C, Be Tricarico J, Kebreab E, et al. J Dairy Sci. 2022 Oct 18:S0022-0302(22)00599-9.

  • Ruminant livestock are an important source of anthropogenic methane (CH4). Decreasing the emissions of enteric CH4from ruminant production is strategic to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C by 2050.
  • Research in the area of enteric CH4mitigation has grown exponentially in the last 2 decades, with various strategies for enteric CH4 abatement being investigated: production intensification, dietary manipulation (including supplementation and processing of concentrates and lipids, and management of forage and pastures), rumen manipulation (supplementation of ionophores, 3-nitrooxypropanol, macroalgae, alternative electron acceptors, and phytochemicals), and selection of low-CH4-producing animals. Other enteric CH4 mitigation strategies are at earlier stages of research but rapidly developing.
  • Herein, researchers discuss and analyze the current status of available enteric CH4mitigation strategies with an emphasis on opportunities and barriers to their implementation in confined and partial grazing production systems, and in extensive and fully grazing production systems. For each enteric CH4 mitigation strategy, the researchers discuss its effectiveness to decrease total CH4 emissions and emissions on a per animal product basis, safety issues, impacts on the emissions of other greenhouse gases, as well as other economic, regulatory, and societal aspects that are key to implementation.
  • Most research has been conducted with confined animals, and considerably more research is needed to develop, adapt, and evaluate anti-methanogenic strategies for grazing systems. In general, few options are currently available for extensive production systems without feed supplementation. Continuous research and development are needed to develop enteric CH4mitigation strategies that are locally applicable. Information is needed to calculate carbon footprints of interventions on a regional basis to evaluate the impact of mitigation strategies on net greenhouse gas emissions. Economically affordable enteric CH4 mitigation solutions are urgently needed.
  • Successful implementation of safe and effective anti-methanogenic strategies will also require delivery mechanisms and adequate technical support for producers, as well as consumer involvement and acceptance. The most appropriate metrics should be used in quantifying the overall climate outcomes associated with mitigation of enteric CH4 A holistic approach is required, and buy-in is needed at all levels of the supply chain.

Optimization and modeling of ammonia nitrogen removal from anaerobically digested liquid dairy manure using vacuum thermal stripping process. Reza A, Chen L. Sci Total Environ. 2022;851(Pt 2):158321.

  • During anaerobic digestion (AD) of liquid dairy manure, organic nitrogen converts to ammonia nitrogen (NH3-N) and subsequently escalates the NH3-N concentrations in manure. Among different available NH3-N removal processes treating anaerobically digested liquid dairy manure (ADLDM), vacuum thermal stripping is reported to be an effective technique. However, none of the studies have performed multi-parameter optimization, which is of utmost significance in maximizing process efficiency.
  • In this study, critical operational parameters for vacuum thermal stripping of NH3-N from ADLDM were optimized and modeled for the first time via integrating grey relational analysis (GRA)-based Taguchi design, response surface methodology (RSM), and RSM-artificial neural network (ANN).
  • The initial experimental trials conducted using the GRA coupled with Taguchi L16orthogonal array revealed the order of influence of the process parameters on NH3-N removal as vacuum pressure (kPa) > temperature (°C) > treatment time (min) > mixing speed (rpm) > pH. The values of the first three most influential operating parameters were then further optimized and modeled using RSM and RSM-ANN models.
  • Under the optimized conditions (temperature: 69.6 °C, vacuum pressure: 43.5 kPa, and treatment time: 87.65 min), the NH3-N removal efficiency of 93.58 ± 0.59 % was experimentally observed and was in line with the RSM and RSM-ANN models’ predicted values. While the RSM-ANN model showed a better prediction potential than did the RSM model when compared statistically.
  • Moreover, the nutrient contents (nitrogen, N and sulfur, S) of the recovered NH3-N as ammonium sulfate ((NH4)2SO4) were in reasonable agreement with the market-available (NH4)2SO4 The results presented in this study provide important insights into improving the treatment process performance and will help design and operate future pilot- and full-scale vacuum thermal stripping processes in dairy farms.

Assessing the fate of antibiotics and agrochemicals during anaerobic digestion of animal manure. Brueck CL, Nason SL, Multra MG, Prasse C. Sci Total Environ. 2022 Oct 1;856(Pt 2):159156.

  • Antibiotics and pesticides are used extensively by the livestock industry. Agricultural chemicals can pose potential human and environmental health risks due to their toxicity and through their contributions to antimicrobial resistance, and strategies to reduce their emission into the environment are urgently needed.
  • Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a sustainable technology for manure management that produces biogas while also providing an opportunity to degrade agricultural chemicals that are present in manure. While the effects of selected chemicals on biogas production have been investigated previously, little is known about chemical transformations during AD.
  • Using lab-scale AD batch reactors containing dairy manure, degradation kinetics and transformation products (TPs) were investigated for twenty compounds that are likely to be present in manure management systems and that we hypothesized would transform during AD. Digestate samples were extracted using a modified quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe (QuEChERS) method and analyzed using liquid chromatography – high-resolution mass spectrometry.
  • Eleven of the tested chemicals degraded, leading to the formation of 47 TPs. Three compounds degraded abiotically only, two degraded biotically only, and six degraded both abiotically and biotically.
  • These results suggest that in addition to renewable energy generation, AD contributes to the degradation of chemical contaminants present in agricultural waste streams. However, the potential toxic effects of TPs require further investigation.

Membrane-covered composting significantly decreases methane emissions and microbial pathogens: Insight into the succession of bacterial and fungal communities. Fang C, Su Y, He X, Han L, Qu H, Zhou L, Huang G. Sci Total Environ. 2022;845:157343.

  • In this study, the effects of semipermeable membrane-covered on methane emissions and potential pathogens during industrial-scale composting of the solid fraction of dairy manure were investigated.
  • The results showed that the oxygen concentration in the membrane-covered group (CT) was maintained above 10 %, and the cumulative methane emission in CT was >99 % lower than that in the control group (CK).
  • Microbial analysis showed that the bacterial genus Thermus and the fungal genus Mycothermus were dominant in CT, and the richness and diversity of the bacterial community were greater than those of the fungal community.
  • At the end of the composting, the relative abundance of potential bacterial pathogens in CT was 32.59 % lower than that in CK, and the relative abundance of potential fungal pathogens in each group was <2 %.
  • Structural equation models revealed that oxygen concentration was a major factor influencing the bacterial diversity in CT, and the increase of oxygen concentration could limit methane emissions by inhibiting the growth of anaerobic bacteria. Therefore, membrane-covered composting could effectively improve compost safety and reduce methane emissions by regulating microbial community structure.


Animal Health and Food Safety

UCD-Vet Med Research: Effectiveness of Intramammary Antibiotics, Internal Teat Sealants, or Both at Dry-Off in Dairy Cows: Milk Production and Somatic Cell Count Outcomes. El Ashmawy WR, Okello E, Williams DR, Anderson RJ, Karle B, Lehenbauer TW, Aly SS. Vet Sci. 2022 Oct 11;9(10):559.

  • Mastitis is the greatest disease challenge for dairy producers, with substantial economic impacts due to lost milk production. Amongst the approaches implemented to control and prevent mastitis on dairies are vaccination, pre- and post-milking teat dips, and treatments at dry-off including intramammary antibiotics and teat sealants.
  • The objectives of our study were to evaluate the effect of different treatments at dry-off on the subsequent lactation’s milk production and somatic cell count (SCC).
  • A single-blinded controlled block randomized clinical trial was conducted between December 2016 and August 2018 on eight herds from four of the top ten milk-producing counties in California: Tulare, Kings, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin.
  • The trial was repeated with cows enrolled during the winter and summer seasons to account for seasonal variability. Eligible cows were treated at dry-off with either intramammary antibiotics (AB), internal teat sealant (TS), AB + TS, or did not receive any treatment (control), and were followed through 150 days in milk (DIM) post-calving.
  • After accounting for parity, breed, season, and dry period duration, the milk model showed a significant increase in milk production (1.84 kg/day) in cows treated with AB + TS at dry-off in comparison to controls. There was no significant difference in the milk produced by cows that received either AB or TS (0.12 kg/day, and 0.67 kg/day, respectively) in comparison to the untreated cows.
  • Different dry cow treatments were associated with a significant reduction in ln SCC during the first 150 DIM. The greatest reduction was associated with using AB + TS, followed by AB, and finally TS in comparison to controls. Dairies with high SCC may benefit from treating cows at dry-off with AB, TS, or both.

Antimicrobial resistance and genetic diversity of Staphylococcus aureus collected from livestock, poultry and humans. Rao S, Linke L, Magnuson R, Jauch L, Hyatt DR. One Health. 2022;11;15:100407.

  • Staphylococcus aureusis one of the most prominent nosocomial, community and farm acquired bacterial infections among animals and human populations.
  • The main purpose of this study was to identify and characterize antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among Staphylococcus aureusisolated from livestock, poultry and humans and to further identify the associated genes.
  • Staphylococcus aureusisolates from human, bovine, swine and poultry were collected from different laboratories across the United States collected between 2003 and 2016. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing for 13 antimicrobials was performed and conventional PCR was used to detect the presence of the nuc gene, mec gene, and to detect int1 gene. Associations between the presence of mec and intl and specific AMR profiles were determined.
  • Antimicrobial resistance was detected in all four host categories, with the highest overall rates found in swine, 100% resistant to tetracycline, 88% to penicillin and 64% clindamycin. The next highest was found among humans with 81.6% of isolates resistant to penicillin followed by 44% to clindamycin and 43% to erythromycin.
  • Among beef cattle isolates, 63.2% were resistant to penicillin, 15.8% resistant to clindamycin and 15.8% to erythromycin. No isolates from any of the hosts were resistant to linezolid. Among poultry isolates, the highest AMR was found to clindamycin, followed by erythromycin and penicillin.
  • Among dairy cattle, highest resistance was found to penicillin, followed by chloramphenicol and gentamicin. Dairy cattle were the only host category with isolates that are resistant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.
  • Of the 220 isolates detected by latex agglutination, 217 were confirmed to be  aureus, 21.4% were positive for the mecA gene. Swine had the highest prevalence of the mecA gene, followed by humans, poultry and beef cattle.
  • This study has demonstrated a high occurrence of penicillin resistance among all  aureusisolates. There were differences observed between host species with tetracycline resistance being the highest among swine isolates and clindamycin being highest in poultry isolates. No detection of oxacillin resistance was found in isolates from dairy cattle but was found in isolates from all of the other host species, 94% of which contained the mecA gene.

Microbial Properties of Raw Milk throughout the Year and Their Relationships to Quality Parameters. Yuan H, Han S, Zhang S, Xue Y, Zhang Y, Lu H, Wang S.Foods. 2022 Oct 4;11(19):3077.

  • Raw milk microbiota is complex and influenced by many factors that facilitate the introduction of undesirable microorganisms. Milk microbiota is closely related to the safety and quality of dairy products, and it is therefore critical to characterize the variation in the microbial composition of raw milk.
  • In this cross-sectional study, the variation in raw milk microbiota throughout the year (n= 142) from three farms in China was analyzed using 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing, including α and β diversity, microbial composition, and the relationship between microbiota and milk quality parameters. This aimed to characterize the contamination risk of raw milk throughout the year and the changes in quality parameters caused by contamination.
  • Collection month had a significant effect on microbial composition; microbial diversity was higher in raw milk collected in May and June, while milk collected in October and December had the lowest microbial diversity. Microbiota composition differed significantly between milk collected in January-June, July-August, and September-December.
  • Redundancy analysis (RDA) found strong correlations between microbial distribution and titratable acidity (TA), fat, and protein. Many genera were significantly correlated with TA, for example AcinetobacterEnhydrobacterChryseobacterium, and Lactobacillus.
  • These findings provide new information on the ecology of raw milk microbiota at the farm level and contribute to the understanding of the variation in raw milk microbiota in China.

Efficacy of a typical clean-in-place protocol against in vitro membrane biofilms. Singh D, Anand S. J Dairy Sci. 2022 Oct 11:S0022-0302(22)00581-1.

  • Pressure-driven membrane filtration technologies are widely used for the processing of whey produced during cheesemaking. Fouling to membrane surfaces, either because of solid deposition or microbial attachment, affects the performance of membranes in terms of flux rate. Development of biofilm on equipment surfaces can enhance the corrosion and reduce the heat transfer to heat exchangers.
  • This study evaluates the effectiveness of a typical clean-in-place (CIP) protocol against in vitro biofilms on whey reverse osmosis (RO) membranes developed under static condition.
  • Bacterial isolates obtained from RO membrane biofilms were used to develop single and multispecies biofilms under laboratory conditions. A typical commercial CIP protocol was tested against the 24-h-old biofilms, and included 6 sequential treatment steps based on alkali, surfactant, acid, enzyme, a second surfactant, and a sanitizer treatment step.
  • The results revealed a variation in the resistance of mixed-species biofilms against the individual steps in the sequential CIP protocol. The overall 6 steps protocol, although resulted in a greater reduction, also resulted in the detection of survivors even after the final sanitizer step, reflect the ineffectiveness of the CIP protocol for complete removal of biofilms.
  • Posttreatment counts of 0.71 log after the sequential CIP of mixed-species biofilm revealed the resistance of biofilm constitutive microbiota. Mixed-species biofilms, constituting different genera including Bacillus, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus, were observed to be more resistant than most of the single-species biofilms. However, among the single-species biofilms, significantly different resistance pattern was observed for Bacillus isolates compared with the other bacterial isolates.
  • All 5 isolates of Bacillus were found resistant with survivor counts of more than 1.0 log against the sequential CIP protocol tested. Thus, it can be concluded that the tested CIP protocol had a limited effectiveness to clean membrane biofilms formed on the whey RO membranes.


Human Nutrition and Health

Dairy Council of California: Collaborative Strategies to Improve Nutrition Security and Education: Lessons Learned During a Pandemic. Rosales A, Young S, Mendez T, Shelden K, Holdaway M.J Sch Health. 2022 Oct 19

  • The COVID-19 pandemic intensified disparities for underserved populations as accessing resources became more difficult. Dairy Council of California launched the Let’s Eat Healthy initiative to address nutrition security through collaborative solutions in the school environment.
  • To ensure nutrition security for children and families, nutritious food and nutrition education must go hand-in-hand. Improving access to high quality food can help address the health disparities that exist for people who are at increased risk for food insecurity. Nutrition education supports students’ holistic learning and social and emotional learning skills. Nutrition education models must be increasingly flexible in the face of ongoing challenges.
  • Collaborative efforts to connect food access hubs, such as schools, with support and resources to provide evidence-based nutrition education and agricultural literacy can equip individuals and communities with the knowledge, skills, and ability to make nutrient-rich food choices.
  • Investments and strategies in nutrition security that utilize the Individual plus Policy, System, and Environmental (I + PSE) model, such as the Let’s Eat Healthy initiative, will effectively influence positive behavior change and improve community health. Navigating challenges in a rapidly changing environment requires people and organizations to work together, across disciplines, to leverage knowledge, experience, resources, expertise, and creative thinking. Improving access to healthy food and nutrition education will be most effective when done through collaboration.

Saturated fat from dairy sources is associated with lower cardiometabolic risk in the Framingham Offspring Study. Yuan M, Singer MR, Pickering RT, Moore LL. Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 Oct 28:nqac224.

  • Current dietary guidance recommends limiting intakes of saturated fats, but most fails to consider that saturated fats from different food sources may have different health effects.
  • Therefore, researchers aimed to evaluate the associations of saturated fats from dairy and nondairy sources with measures of body fat, inflammatory biomarkers, lipid concentrations, and lipid particle sizes and concentrations.
  • The Framingham Offspring Study is a prospective cohort study. Participants (n = 2391) ≥30 y of age who had dietary records and data on the outcomes of interest were included.
  • Among females, those in the highest quintile (compared with the lowest) of dairy-derived saturated fat had lower multivariable-adjusted levels of body fat [BMI (in kg/m2): 26.2 compared with 27.8; and percentage fat mass: 36.7% compared with 38.0%; and larger LDL particle sizes.
  • Nondairy saturated fat in females was inversely associated with the triglyceride (TG):HDL ratio. Among males, intakes of dairy-derived saturated fats were inversely associated with C-reactive protein, fibrinogen, TGs, and the TG:HDL ratio. HDL cholesterol was 2.8 mg/dL higher among males in the highest (compared with the lowest) quintile of saturated fat from dairy sources. Males with the highest intakes of dairy-derived saturated fats had larger HDL and LDL particle sizes, a higher HDL particle concentration, and a lower VLDL particle concentration. There were no statistically significant adverse effects of saturated fats from nondairy sources on any of these outcomes in either males or females.
  • In conclusion,males with higher intakes of dairy-derived saturated fats had a less atherogenic profile than males with lower intakes of these fats. These effects were weaker in females. Nondairy saturated fats were not associated with these cardiometabolic outcomes.

High-fat dairy products may decrease the risk of chronic kidney disease incidence: A long-term prospective cohort study. Gaeini Z, Bahadoran Z, Mirmiran P, Feyzi Z, Azizi F. J Ren Nutr. 2022 Oct 18:S1051-2276(22)00192-3.

  • The association between consumption of dairy products and risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) is under debate. We aimed to determine the potential effects of total and subtypes of dairy intake on the occurrence of CKD.
  • This study was conducted within the Tehran Lipid and Glucose Study (TLGS) on 2416 CKD-free adults. At baseline, consumption of dairy products was estimated using a validated 168-items semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire.
  • During 8.4 years of follow-up, the incidence rate of CKD was 21%. Dietary intakes of total dairy, low-fat dairy and fermented dairy were not associated with CKD risk. There were significant lower risks of CKD in the highest compared to the lowest tertiles of high-fat dairy (23% lower risk) and high-fat milk (25% lower risk). However, no significant associations were found between other categories of dairy products and CKD incidence. Substitutions of total dairy with other dietary protein sources were not associated with CKD risk.
  • In this study, higher intakes of high-fat dairy and high-fat milk were associated with lower risks of CKD. No significant associations were found between other dairy products and CKD.

Individualized high dairy protein + walking program supports bone health in pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial. Perreault M, Mottola MF, Atkinson SA; BHIP study team.Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 Oct 6;116(4):887-896.

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

Probiotic dairy products and consumption preferences in terms of sweetness sensitivity and the occurrence of childhood obesity. Kardas M, Staśkiewicz W, Niewiadomska E, Kiciak A, Bielaszka A, Fatyga E. Front Psychol. 2022;13:980348.

  • Fermented dairy products such as yogurt contain many bioactive compounds. In addition, probiotic yogurts are an invaluable source of probiotic bacteria and are a group of probiotic products best accepted by children.
  • There is plenty of research indicating an interdependence between yogurt consumption, body mass index, and adipose tissue percentage, which suggests that yogurt consumption may contribute to reducing the risk of becoming overweight or obese. In turn, the occurrence of overweight and obesity may be accompanied by a reduced sensitivity to sweetness, which modifies food preference selection and acceptance, including with yogurt.
  • This study aimed to assess the preferences and consumption of yogurt in terms of sensitivity to recognize sweetness and obesity in a group of 7-9-year-old children. Body mass index and adipose tissue percentage obesity indicators were determined, and the frequency of fermented milk product consumption was assessed about the results of the sweetness recognition test as well as yogurt preferences.
  • There was no significant relationship between body weight and the frequency of fermented milk product consumption. Correlations were found between the values of body mass index and the ability to recognize sweetness, which was significantly better recognized by underweight children or at normal body weight, moreover, those children with a higher ability to recognize sweetness more frequently preferred plain unsweetened yogurt.

Perspective: School Meal Programs Require Higher Vitamin D Fortification Levels in Milk Products and Plant-Based Alternatives-Evidence from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES 2001-2018). Calvo MS, Whiting SJ. Adv Nutr. 2022 Oct 2;13(5):1440-1449.

  • Poor vitamin D status impairs bone growth and immune defense in school-aged children and adolescents, particularly in minorities. Vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency increases the risk of acute viral respiratory infection, underscoring the need for adequate vitamin D intakes during school sessions when viral exposure may be greatest.
  • Therefore, researchers studied available vitamin D-related survey data and published findings based on NHANES (2001-2018) to assess the dependency of vitamin D status {25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D]; in nmol/L} on vitamin D intake (μg/d) in elementary school-aged children (4-8 y), middle school children (9-13 y), and high school adolescents (14-18 y).
  • Researchers sought evidence supporting the need for school programs to facilitate vitamin D adequacy. Usual vitamin D intakes from food and beverages by children/adolescents (NHANES 2015-2018) examined at the 50th percentile intake by race/ethnicity (non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic) showed all age groups consumed less than half of the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) for vitamin D (10 μg/d), independent of race/ethnicity. NHANES (2001-2010) analyses show evidence of lower vitamin D status in school-aged children that is linked to lower intakes of fortified milk varying over race/ethnicity and age.
  • Adolescents had lower vitamin D status and milk intake than younger children. A total of 22-44% of vitamin D intakes occurred away from home, with larger percentages of total intakes at breakfast and lunch, at times consistent with school meals.
  • Ever-present inadequate vitamin D intakes with a large percentage consumed away from home together with well-established benefits to growth, bone, and immune defense from enriched vitamin D-fortified milk in school intervention trials provide strong justification to require enriched vitamin D-fortified foods in school meals.
  • An easy to implement plan for improving vitamin D intakes is possible through the FDA’s amendment allowing higher vitamin D fortification levels of dairy and plant-based milk alternatives that could increase vitamin D intakes beyond the EAR with just 2 daily servings.


Innovation, Economics, and Dairy Alternatives

Diffusion of precision livestock farming technologies in dairy cattle farms.
Bianchi MC, Bava L, Sandrucci A, Tangorra FM, Tamburini A, Gislon G, Zucali M. Animal. 2022 Oct 8;16(11):100650. 

  • The rising global demand for animal products and the growing public concerns about the environment and animal welfare require dairy farms to improve their efficiency and apply more sustainable farming systems. Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) could represent a valuable support in addressing these challenges.
  • In recent years, dairy farms have been modernising and introducing new sensors and automatic systems for managing the herd. However, the diffusion of new technologies in Italian dairy farms is still limited and farmers are reluctant to invest in precision systems.
  • The aim of the study was to investigate the presence of PLF tools in Italian dairy farms, the motivations, benefits and limits of technological investments from the farmers’ point of view and the factors affecting the diffusion of technology.
  • From November 2020 to June 2021, an online questionnaire was distributed and 52 responses were obtained. About 79% of the farms were located in Lombardy. The more represented milking system was the conventional milking parlour (73%), followed by automatic milking (19%). The average age of respondents was quite low: 35% of them was less than 40 years old and more than 50% was between 40 and 60.
  • Statistical analyses were performed to evaluate the effects of different factors on the presence of technology at farm. The age of the farmer, the milk production level and the presence of an automatic milking system influenced the technological level of the farm.
  • Precision systems that provide information on animal activity for the management of reproduction and on milk yield and flow are the most popular and are considered among the most useful. Management of reproduction and milk production are the areas where farmers appear to show interest for future investments as well.
  • Younger farmers appear to have implemented more PLF systems than older ones, and they show a propensity to invest in latest generation precision tools. Farmers seem to have a growing interest in PLF, but some limits have been identified: the investment costs, followed by the lack of time to check information from sensor systems and the difficulty in data interpretation.
  • As PLF technologies can play an important role in the development of sustainable, animal-friendly and efficient livestock production, further improvements and efforts are necessary to increase the propensity to PLF of dairy farmers. Results can be useful in the Italian context but also in other countries where dairy farming is rapidly intensifying but PLF is encountering resistance.

Fruit by-products as potential prebiotics and promising functional ingredients to produce fermented milk. Oliveira FL, Arruda TYP, Morzelle MC, Pereira APA, Casarotti SN. Food Res Int. 2022;161:111841.

  • Recently, fruit by-products (FBP) have started to be explored due to their prebiotic potential associated with considerable amounts of dietary fibers and polyphenols. These compounds possess anti-inflammatory activity and can reduce dysbiosis, which is characterized by alterations in the composition and function of the gut microbiota and thus may reduce the onset or progression of several diseases.
  • Therefore, the consumption of FBP must be encouraged. Among food products, fermented milk is a potential candidate for carrying FBP. In this scenario, this review discusses the prebiotic potential of FBP and their anti-inflammatory activity and brings a unique contribution, as it highlights fermented milk as a food carrier for FBP.
  • Therefore, the technological application of FBP as a new ingredient to improve the nutritional and functional values of fermented milk, probiotic viability, and the effects of their addition on the physical and sensory characteristics of fermented milk are topics extensively covered in this review. Moreover, the researchers described the chemical composition of FBP, focusing on polysaccharides and bioactive compounds, their obtention methods and potential adverse effects related to their consumption.
  • Finally, limitations and future directions are outlined to deepen the understanding of FBP and to stimulate their use, to prove their prebiotic potential and to optimize their incorporation into fermented milk.

Encapsulation of Nutraceuticals in Yogurt and Beverage Products Using the Ultrasound and High-Pressure Processing Technologies. Silva M, Kadam MR, Munasinghe D, Shanmugam A, Chandrapala J. Foods. 2022;11(19):2999.

  • Dairy and beverage products are considered highly nutritious. The increase demand for added nutritional benefits within the food systems consumed by the consumers paves the pathway towards fortifying nutraceuticals into these products. However, nutraceuticals are highly unstable towards harsh processing conditions. In addition, the safety of dairy and beverage products plays a very important role.
  • Therefore, various heat treatments are in practice. As the heat-treated dairy and beverage products tends to illustrate several alterations in their organoleptic characteristics and nutritional properties, the demand for alternative non-thermal processing technologies has increased extensively within the food industry.
  • Ultrasound and high-pressure processing technologies are desirable for this purpose as well as a safe and non-destructive technology towards encapsulation of nutraceuticals into food systems. There are benefits in implementing these two technologies in the production of dairy and beverage products with encapsulants, such as manufacturing high-quality products with improved nutritional value while simultaneously enhancing the sensory characteristics such as flavour, taste, texture, and colour and attaining the microbial quality.
  • The primary objective of this review is to provide detailed information on the encapsulation of nutraceuticals and mechanisms involved with using US and HPP technologies on producing encapsulated yoghurt and beverage products.

The economics of sensor-based management of dairy cow suboptimal mobility. Edwardes F, van der Voort M, Hogeveen H. J Dairy Sci. 2022 Oct 18:S0022-0302(22)00596-3.

  • Suboptimal mobility (SOM) is a costly health condition in dairy production. Current SOM management is based on visual SOM detection by farm staff. This often leads to cows with severe SOM being detected and promptly treated, whereas the detection and subsequent treatment of cows with mild SOM is delayed or nonexistent resulting in prolonged cases of mild SOM being treated only at half-year routine hoof trimming.
  • Using automatic SOM detection sensors may improve early detection of mild SOM allowing for improved SOM management. However, the economic value of these sensors used for sensor-based SOM management are not well known.
  • The objective of this study was to evaluate the added economic value of automatic SOM detection sensors.
  • A recently developed bioeconomic simulation model was extended to simulate a farm without and with automatic SOM detection sensors and farm economic performance comparisons were drawn. Moreover, for the farm with sensors, novel sensor-based SOM management strategies were designed. Within these sensor based-management strategies multiple scenarios with different sensor performance in terms of sensitivity, specificity, and mobility score detection were simulated. A new alert prioritization method was also introduced.
  • Results from this study provide insights on the economic tradeoffs in production losses and additional labor costs for the different sensor-based management strategies, sensor performances, and alert prioritization. Simulations show that the added economic value of automatic SOM detection sensors are sensitive to the sensor-based management strategies, sensor performance, and the introduced alert prioritization method.
  • Thirty-nine of the 80 simulated scenarios obtained a positive mean net economic sensor effect. Based on evidence from our scenarios we suggest that twice-yearly routine hoof trimming with the addition of automatic SOM detection sensors should be replaced with cow specific hoof trimmer treatments following SOM detection by the sensor. Earlier detection and subsequent treatment of mild SOM resulted in economic gains when the alert prioritization method was introduced.
  • Implementing automatic SOM detection sensor systems allows for many options to alter SOM management where improvements in farm economic performance can be achieved in combination with improved cow mobility. The implications for future research are discussed.

Framing the futures of animal-free dairy: Using focus groups to explore early-adopter perceptions of the precision fermentation process. Broad GM, Zollman Thomas O, Dillard C, Bowman D, Le Roy B. Front Nutr. 2022 Oct 3;9:997632.

  • This paper reports on the findings from a series of virtual focus groups that explored consumer perceptions of animal-free dairy (AFD), an emerging type of animal product alternative produced using the tools of synthetic biology and precision fermentation. Focus group participants came from an international sample of potential “early adopters.”
  • To stimulate conversation, participants were presented with a series of visual “moodboards” that framed key arguments both in favor of and in opposition to AFD. Three primary thematic clusters emerged from the discussion.
    • The first focused on issues of “process, safety, and regulation,” centered on the general reaction of participants to the concept of AFD, their primary concerns, key questions, and the assurances they would need in order to support its advancement.
    • The second focused on issues of “consumer preferences and priorities,” highlighted by the often complicated, and sometimes outright contradictory, stated consumer interests of the participants.
    • The third focused on issues of “food technology and the future,” wherein participants expressed broader views on the role of food technology in society, generally speaking, and the potential futures of AFD, specifically.
  • The general consensus among participants was a cautious openness to the idea of AFD. Outright opposition to the concept was rare, but so too was unabashed enthusiasm. Instead, respondents had a number of questions about the nature of the technological process, its overall safety and regulatory standards, its potential contributions to individual health and climate change mitigation, as well as its organoleptic qualities and price to consumers.
  • Among the positive frames, claims about animal welfare were deemed the most pertinent and convincing. Among the negative frames, concerns about messing with nature and creating potential health risks to individuals were seen as the strongest arguments against AFD.
  • The findings suggest that the key to AFD’s future as a viable market option will depend in large part on the extent to which it can clearly demonstrate that it is preferable to conventional dairy or its plant-based competitors, particularly in the arena of taste, but also across considerations of health and safety, nutrition, environmental effects, and animal well-being.

Graduate Student Literature Review: Labeling challenges of plant-based dairy-like products for consumers and dairy manufacturers. Zeltzer P, Moyer D, Philibeck T. J Dairy Sci. 2022 Oct 18:S0022-0302(22)00598-7.

  • The global market for plant-based products is increasing at a faster rate than the market for traditional dairy products. Current regulations provide standards for those traditional dairy products but lack the same regulations for similar plant-based products. Resulting from this difference in regulation is consumer confusion over the differences between the 2 types of products.
  • The purpose of this review paper was to understand how the differences between traditional dairy and plant-based dairy-like products could affect litigation by consumer and dairy manufacturers against potential misleading labeling.
  • A review of the available literature found 4 relevant articles for analysis. Consumers and manufacturers can pursue claims against potentially misleading product labeling but must provide sufficient evidence to prove deception or injury. Past litigation against plant-based products for being misleading has ruled in favor of the plant-based defendants. These rulings were based on the notion that reasonable consumers would not be misled.
  • Consumer and manufacturing advocates for dairy products should focus more resources on the education of consumers rather than litigation if the goal is to promote dairy products.
  • Long-term regulatory changes could be made through the Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, Milk, and Cheese to Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday Act, which is currently under legislative review.

Nutritional Content of Non-Dairy Frozen Desserts. Craig WJ, Brothers CJ. Nutrients. 2022 Oct 6;14(19):4150.

  • There is a growing interest in non-dairy alternatives fueled by concerns about personal health and the health of the planet. Sales of non-dairy frozen desserts have increased along with other non-dairy alternatives such as plant-based beverages, cheeses, yogurts and creamers.
  • The aim of this study was to conduct a cross-sectional survey of plant-based frozen desserts to determine their nutritional content. A total of 358 plant-based frozen desserts were analyzed from the nutrition label listed on the commercial container.
  • The various products were based upon coconut (n= 126), oat milk (n = 63), almonds (n = 42), cashews (n = 25), soy (n = 11), macadamia milk (n = 9), olive oil (n = 8), faba bean (n = 8), canola oil (n = 8), rice milk (n = 6), sunflower milk (n = 6), avocado (n = 5), pea protein (n = 5) and various fruits, nuts and mixed blends (n = 36).
  • While 90% of the frozen desserts had high sugar levels, 73% had high levels of saturated fat (due to the presence of coconut oil) and only one in four had high levels of fat. None of the products were fortified with calcium, vitamin D or B12, but one in six products had iron levels/serving of at least 10% of Daily Value (DV) and 1 in 6 had protein levels/serving similar to regular dairy ice cream.
  • Food manufacturers need to produce new non-dairy frozen desserts that are more nutritious, since few brands (such as those based upon avocado, apple and hemp protein, or fava bean) presently provide consumers choices with lower saturated fat and sugar levels and/or higher protein levels.