Short communication: Changes under low ambient temperatures in the milk lipodome and metabolome of mid-lactation cows after dehorning as a calf

T. Baars*, G. Jahreis, S. Lorkowski, C. Rohrer, J. Vervoort, K. Hettinga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Horns are living tissue and cows can use their horns for thermoregulatory purposes. We investigated the effect of the presence of horns on the metabolome of milk serum and lipidome of milk fat, to assess the physiological effect of dehorning. Milk sampling took place at low ambient temperatures of −6 to 2°C. Horned and dehorned cows were kept in a mixed herd of Holstein Friesian and Brown Swiss cows. The hypothesis was that horned cows needed to increase their metabolism to compensate for additional heat loss through the presence of their horns. No differences were observed in milk yield, milk solids, and somatic cell counts between horned and dehorned cows. For the milk metabolome, horned cows showed an upregulation of several glucogenic AA that could be transformed into glucose for energy supply and a downregulation of sugar intermediates and γ-glutamylcysteine compared with dehorned cows. The fatty acid (FA) composition in horned cows showed a shift toward decreased odd medium-chain FA (C7:0, C9:0, and C11:0) and increased cis-vaccenic acid (C18:1n-7 cis-11) and stearidonic acid (C18:4n-3). The changes in milk composition related to additional heat loss in horned cows indicate a competition in C3 metabolism for glucose synthesis and de novo FA synthesis under cold stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2698-2702
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume102
Issue number3
Early online date1 Jan 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

Keywords

  • cold stress
  • dehorning
  • lipodome
  • metabolome
  • ruminant physiology

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