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Results in Journal Italian Journal of Animal Science: 2,946

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Hailiang Zhou, Xinyuan Zhao, Wei Li, Shaopeng Hou, Xueliang Min,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 2188-2196;

Membranous (M) cells are believed to special gateways of the mucosal immune system because of sampling antigens from the gut lumen. However, little is known regarding the effect of diets on regulating M cells. So, we examined the ultrastructural characteristics of microfold (M) cells in rabbits fed different dietary fibre-to-starch ratios (I: 2.3, II: 1.9, III: 1.4, and IV: 1.0). Appendix tissues were obtained from rabbits at 52, 62, 72, and 82 d. Diet I had higher M cell area than diet IV (p< .01) during total experiment. Using electron microscope, we observed apparently intestinal damage and M cells apoptosis in diet I and IV compared to diet II and III (p< .001), except for 62d. By estimation of M cell deviations from normal structure and TNF-a mRNA expression in appendix from different diet treatments, it is apparent that degree of deviations from normal structure in diet I, IV was higher than diet II, III, except for 62 days. The appendix TNF-a mRNA levels were significantly (p< .01) increased in diet I, IV at 52, 62, 72, 82 days compared to diet II, III. These data elucidated that an imbalance dietary fibre-to-starch ratio induced the structural damage of M cell.
, Barbara Contiero, , Maria Costanza Galli, Daniele Benatti,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 143-152;

Pain alleviation associated with surgical castration of piglets is a debated welfare issue. The present study compares the effect of different protocols involving analgesia and/or anaesthesia or sedation suitable under field conditions, with the aim to alleviate pain due to castration in piglets. A randomised within-litter design, with 50 replicates, compared 7 treatments applied 10 min before castration: HAND: positive control, handling only; CTRL: negative control, physiological saline, i.m.; MEL: meloxicam, i.m.; AZA: azaperone, i.m.; PROC: local anaesthesia with procaine and adrenaline, subcutaneously; AZA-MEL: joint administration of azaperone and meloxicam; PROC-MEL: procaine and meloxicam. Efficacy of pain relief was assessed during a 180 min period after castration by serum cortisol and glycaemia, algometry and behaviour. CTRL, AZA, PROC and AZA-MEL piglets showed an increase in cortisol concentration 60 min after castration compared to HAND. Both groups with azaperone (AZA and AZA-MEL) developed concentrations even higher than CTRL (p < .001). HAND treatment showed cortisol levels comparable only to MEL and PROC-MEL (p > .05). CRTL and PROC piglets reacted to the algometer at an average lower pressure than HAND (p = .03), differently to the other treatments that showed similar skin sensitivity to HAND (p > .05). No differences in glycaemia and behaviour were observed among treatments. The results suggest that using meloxicam alone might offer a promising option in reducing the expression of pain-related parameters in piglets after surgical castration, however, it appears more efficient when used alone than in association with the anaesthetic agents tested. Procaine administered alone and azaperone seems unsuited to the purpose considered.
Tayebe Azizi, , Manoochehr Allymehr, Amir Tukmechi, Hamed Khalilvandi Behroozyar,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 59-70;

The aim of this study was to examine the effect of different levels of Lactobacillus species and yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) as a toxin binder in deoxynivalenol (DON) diet on immune parameters, gut morphology and jejunal gene expression in broiler chickens. Three hundred sixty-one-day-old female broilers were assigned into nine treatments with four replicates each in a completely randomised design (3 × 3 factorial arrangement) including three levels of Lactobacillus (0, 0.20 and 0.40 g/kg) and yeast (0, 0.75 and 1.50 g/kg) in DON contaminated diets. The results showed that DON challenged birds showed suppressed spleen relative weight and reduced white blood cell and lymphocyte percentage, while inclusion the highest level of Lactobacillus sp. and yeast to DON diet improved these parameters (p < .05). Newcastle antibody titre was increased (p < .05) by increasing the level of Lactobacillus sp. and yeast in DON included diet. Increasing the level of Lactobacillus sp. and yeast in DON diet was linearly enhanced (p < .05) the villus height, muscular layer and absorptive surface area in ileum. Combination of 0.40 g/kg Lactobacillus sp. and 1.50 g/kg yeast caused an enhancement (p < .05) in mucosa and muscular layer thicknesses of jejunum and ileum, respectively. The expressions of toll like receptor-4 and claudin-5 were down-regulated and up-regulated respectively by administration of the highest level of Lactobacillus sp. and yeast. In conclusion, the results indicated that dietary inclusion of the highest level of Lactobacillus sp. and yeast improved the spleen weight, some immunological parameters, villus height, muscular layer thickness and gene expressions in DON- challenged broilers.
Muhammad Shuaib, Nasr Ullah, Abdul Hafeez, Najeeb Ullah Khan, Ibrahim A. Alhidary, Mutassim M. Abelrahman, Hani Albadani,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 1-5;

The aim of the present study was to find the effect of crushed wild Cumin (Bonium persicum) seeds as a feed additive in broiler diet during the starter phase on growth performance, nutrient digestibility and blood metabolites in broilers. For this purpose, 360 day old chicks were randomly divided into four groups. One group was the control while other experimental groups were supplemented with crushed wild Cumin (WC) seeds in the feed at the rate of 0.5 (WC1), 1 (WC2) and 1.5 g/kg (WC3). Results indicated that feed intake was significantly lower (p < .05) in WC1 and WC2 compared to WC3 and the control. Body weight was significantly (p < .05) higher in WC1 compared to the WC2. Feed conversion ratio was significantly (p < .05) lower in WC1 compared to the control. Percentage of crude fat, protein and calcium digestibility was significantly (p < .05) higher in WC1 compared to the control. Similarly, low density lipoprotein, total cholesterol and triglycerides concentration was significantly (p < .05) lower in WC1 and high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol was significantly (p < .05) improved . On the overall basis, wild Cumin seeds at the rate of 0.5 g/kg were comparatively better to improve the growth, gut digestibility of the nutrients and blood cholesterol profile in broiler during the starter phase.
Huan Wang, Byoung Duk Ha,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 163-170;

The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of supplementing low nutrient density diet of growing pigs with probiotics complex on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, faecal microbial, and faecal noxious gas emission. A total of 140 crossbred female and castrated male healthy growing pigs [(Yorkshire × Landrace) × Duroc, 54 days of age] with an average initial body weight (BW) of 24.39 ± 2.58 kg were used in a 42-day trial. All pigs were randomly allotted to one of four treatment diets based on initial BW and sex (seven replicate pens/treatment; two gilts, and three barrows/pen). Dietary treatments were: (i) HD, high nutrient density diet, (ii) LD, low nutrient density diet, (iii) T1, LD + 0.05% probiotics. (iv) T2, LD + 0.10% probiotics. At the end of the experiment BW, average daily gain (ADG), and gain: feed ratio (G: F) tended to be higher (p < .1) in HD diet compared with LD treatment. However, supplementation of probiotics complex to LD diet showed a comparable effect as that of HD diet. There were no differences (p > .05) in average daily feed intake (ADFI), backfat thickness, lean meat percentage, and apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) of dry matter (DM), nitrogen (N), and energy among the treatments. The supplementation of probiotics complex to LD diet increased (p < .05) faecal Lactobacillus counts and reduced NH3 gas emission compared with the LD diet. In conclusion, the results of this study demonstrated the beneficial effects of the probiotics complex supplementation on growth performance, faecal Lactobacillus concentration, and faecal NH3 emission in LD diet suggesting.
, Abdallah E. Metwally, Rasha R. Beheiry, Mahmoud H. Farahat
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 215-225;

This trial was conducted to investigate the effects of multi-carbohydrase supplementation on the performance, carcase traits, intestinal histomorphology, caecal microbiota and nutrient digestibility of broiler chickens fed diets with varying energy levels. A total of 400-day-old male chicks were allocated into eight dietary treatments in a 4 × 2 factorial arrangement with 5 replicates per treatment. There were 4 dietary energy levels (the standard breed recommendation and reductions of 50, 100 and 150 kcal/kg from the standard) with or without multi-carbohydrase supplementation. Reducing the energy level by 50 kcal/kg did not significantly impact the measured parameters compared to the standard recommendation while it is reducing by 100 and 150 kcal/kg resulted in significant decreases in the body weight (BW) by levels up to 4.41% and a significant increase in the feed conversion ratio (FCR) by levels up to 4.67%. Enzyme supplementation significantly improved the BW and FCR by 3.24% and 2.95%, respectively. Dietary energy lowered by 100–150 kcal/kg resulted in a significant decrease in the dressing (up to 2.42%), breast yield (up to 2.82%), fat pads (up to 8.72%), liver (up to 6.30%) percentages and coliform count (up to 28.5%). The digestibility of dry matter, crude protein, ether extract and gross energy was increased due to enzyme supplementation by 4.15, 3.50, 3.35 and 3.72%, respectively. In conclusion, broiler performance and carcase traits can be negatively impacted if the energy density is reduced by 100–150 kcal/kg diet. Enzyme supplementation can improve the performance and nutrient digestibility regardless of the dietary energy level.
Nikolina Mesarec, Janko Skok, Dejan Škorjanc,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 226-231;

At weaning, piglets undergo an immediate transition from mother’s milk to the feed mixture. Feed refusal and growth lag is, therefore, a frequent feeding disorder in newly weaned piglets. The present study aimed to determine whether newly weaned piglets adapt their feeding preferences towards feeders of different types/shapes and positions. A total of 120 piglets were included in the study. The analysis was carried out in low- and high-density groups, with 10 or 20 individuals per pen, respectively. Two different feeders were present in the weaning pen: a hopper (circular/central) and a trough (rectangular/sidewall). Piglet activity was video-recorded, and the number of piglets in each feeder was counted. The results showed nearly five times higher competition at the feeder in the high-density groups (p < .0001). In both high- and low-density groups, piglets showed a significant preference towards the hopper (4 and 24 times higher number of piglets at the hopper compared to the trough, respectively; p < .0001). The trough feeder was mainly chosen when the (preferred) hopper feeder was occupied by a higher number of piglets (p < .0001). There are several co-founding factors that explain the observed phenomenon: the distance from the resting area, the perception of the circular feeder as less competitive, and contra-freeloading. However, the results showed that the feeder type/position should be considered when planning the layout of a weaning pen.
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 279-287;

This experiment was conducted to assess the effect of Chaya (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius) leaf pellet (CHYP) on rumen fermentation, nutrients digestibility and microbial protein synthesis in growing crossbred bulls. Four animals, with an average liveweight of 160 ± 10 kg were randomly arranged in a 4 × 4 Latin square design. There were four treatments: 0, 4, 6 and 8% CHYP supplementation of DMI. The study findings showed that increasing supplementation level of CHYP linearly enhanced (p < 0.05) DM, OM, and CP digestibilities. Rumen characteristics, namely NH3–N concentration and bacterial population were increased (p < 0.05) while, protozoal and fungal population remained unchanged, as level of CHYP supplementation increased. Total rumen volatile fatty acids (VFA) and propionic acid (C3) were enhanced (p < 0.05). Furthermore, N utilisation especially N absorption, N retention and efficiency of microbial nitrogen synthesis (EMNS) were significantly improved by increasing level of CHYP supplementation. Hence, CHYP supplementation is highly promising for ruminant feeding.
Niloofar Bolandi, , Daryoush Davoodi, , Saeed Hassani, Amin Ashayerizadeh
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 497-504;

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of different levels of silver nanoparticles (Ag-NPs) coated on zeolite on performance, gastrointestinal microflora, heterophile to lymphocyte ratio and humoral immune system responses of broiler chickens. Three hundred seventy-five chicks (Cobb 500) in a completely randomised design were distributed to five diets: 1) basal diet, 2) basal diet containing 1% zeolite and 3, 4 and 5) basal diet containing 1% zeolite coated with 25, 50 and 75 ppm Ag-NPs. Performance traits were recorded and blood samples were taken to determine antibody response against Newcastle on day 14, infectious bursal disease on day 21 and serum immunoglobulins (Igs) were determined on day 42. Heterophile to lymphocyte ratio was evaluated on days 28, 35 and 42. The result showed that feed conversion ratio (FCR) was significantly decreased in Ag-NP treatments compared with control group (p < .05). Total anaerobic bacteria and the population of Escherichia coli in ileum and caecum were decreased (p < .05). The highest number of lactobacillus was observed in NS50 (p < .05). Antibody response against Gumboro was decreased as well as the amount of IgY antibody in Ag-NPs treatments. Significant differences were observed in heterophile to lymphocyte ratio on day 28 and 35 and the highest amount was observed in NS50 group (p < .05). In conclusion, although this study showed that using Ag-NP dietary coated on zeolite could improve gut microflora, but Ag-NPs could also have side effects on the immune mechanism of broiler chickens.
, Róbert Tóthi, Szilvia Orosz, , László Kacsala, Drew Vermeire,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 749-761;

The study was conducted with the objective of evaluating the nutrient content, fermentation characteristics, microbial counts, and ruminal degradability of two mixtures of Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) and winter cereal silages. Two mixtures (mixture A: Italian ryegrass, triticale, oats, wheat and barley; and mixture B: Italian ryegrass and oats) were wilted and ensiled in laboratory‐scale silos without additives. At the end of 90 d fermentation mixture B silage had higher (p < .05) dry matter (DM), ether extract (EE), crude fibre (CF), neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and acid detergent fibre (ADF) contents than mixture A silage. The pH value of mixture B was higher (p < .05) than mixture A silage. Mixture A had higher lactate, acetate and ethanol contents than mixture B. However, mixture B had higher NH3-N (day 14) than mixture A silage. The mould and yeast count (Log10 CFU g−1) was higher (p < .05) for mixture A than mixture B at opening day 7. The in situ incubation revealed that potentially degradable fraction (b) of DM, CP and NDF was 39.41%, 43.59%, 80.23% (mixture A) and 39.16%, 32.39%, 94.35% (mixture B). The effective protein degradability (EPD) at 0.08 rumen outflow rates was 67.26% (mixture A) and 67.19% (mixture B). These results suggest that with the proper stage of harvesting, Italian ryegrass and winter cereal mixtures were fermented well. This kind of mixtures can be ensiled without additives in the future. The high potentially degradable NDF and effective protein degradability implies that this mixture could be included successfully in high-yielding dairy cattle diets.
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 814-825;

Data about diet and digestion process of cattle are important for the fine-tuning of the diet and from an environmental point of view. Given the capacity of the near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) to provide easily, quickly and cheap data its ability in predicting dietary and faecal chemical composition, fibre-bound N and total-tract apparent digestibility (ttaD) of beef cattle were tested. The ttaD was estimated using the dietary and faecal undigestible neutral detergent fibre (uNDF) as an internal marker. A total of 172 pool faecal samples and 164 total mixed ration (TMR) samples were randomly collected 24 h post-feeding across the fattening groups of young males and females Charolaise beef cattle. Both TMR and faeces were analysed chemically and through visible/NIRS instrument. Calibration models were developed using a modified partial least squares (mPLS) regression analysis and tested by a leave-one-out cross-validation procedure and the best calibrations were selected based on various parameters including the coefficient of determination of calibration (R2CrV) and the residual predictive deviation (RPD). The overall composition of TMR and faeces were similar to that reported in literature and the coefficient of variation was higher than 12% for most of the parameters studied. The NIRS was able to accurately predict the ADF, nitrogen (N), and ash content in the TMR, whereas in faeces only the ADF prediction was acceptable. The ttaD and total-tract true digestibility of N using the uNDF as an internal marker were inaccurately predicted both in TMR and in faeces (R2CrV ≤0.66; RPD ≤ 1.71).
, Mohamed S. Khalel, Yassmine M. El-Gindy, Ayman A. Hassan
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 784-793;

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of including marine and freshwater algae in rabbit diets on their performance, digestibility, carcass characteristics, and blood metabolites. One hundred growing male rabbits, aged 30 d and weighing 783.5 ± 2.01 g initial body weight, were randomly assigned to five treatment groups (n = 20 rabbits). Five comparable dietary groups were formulated as follows: the control diet was a basal diet without aquatic plants inclusion, while the diets for the other four treatments included the basal diet plus 4% of marine algae (U. lactuca and P. capillacea) or freshwater algae (S. polyrrhiza and C. aegagropila). Compared with the control group, final body weight, daily weight gain, and feed conversion ratio improved significantly in UL group; followed by those in PC and SP groups (p < .05). Total digestible nutrients and digestible crude protein increased significantly in UL, PC and SP groups. Rabbits in the CA group had lower nitrogen intake, N digested, and N balance decreased than the other groups (p < .05). The UL group had dressing weight and meat protein significant increases, but the SP and CA groups had significant increases in liver, kidney, and spleen weights (p < .05). Including marine and freshwater algae reduced (p < .05) total lipids, total bilirubin, triglycerides, and cholesterol especially in the UL and PC groups, and similarly, HDL and LDL levels were lower in the UL, PC, and SP groups compared to the CA and control groups. In conclusion, the responses in performance, digestibility, and blood metabolites suggest that aquatic plants (with the exception of CA) have the potential to be a sustainable feedstock for growing rabbits' diets.
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 640-649;

We evaluated the preventive effects of the oral administration of chestnut tannins (Castanea sativa) together with its potential metabolic effect on calf diarrhoea. Forty Italian Friesian female calves were included and divided into Group C (control group) and Group T (tannin-treated group). From the third day of life (T0) for the following 56 days (T56), calves from Group C received 2 L of warm water, while 10 g of chestnut tannin powder extract were added to Group T. Calves were weighed at birth and at T56. Daily faecal score evaluation was performed according to the literature. The age at diarrhoea onset (TDE) and the duration of the diarrhoeic episode were recorded. Blood methaemoglobin and liver enzymes were evaluated weekly starting from T0 to T56 by spectrophotometer and clinical chemistry analysis, respectively. The t-Student and chi-square tests were performed. The TDE was higher (p = .04) in Group T than in Group C (12.0 ± 8.2 and 7.7 ± 3.8 days, respectively). There were no differences for ADG between the groups. Group C spent 24.4% of the whole period with diarrhoea, whereas Group T experienced diarrhoea for 18.9% of the period (p = .001). All the blood and serum analytes were within physiological values. The administration of tannins in calves from the third day of life seemed to delay the onset of diarrhoea by almost four days, suggesting effective preventive action of chestnut tannins.
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 539-547;

The aim of this study was to test the feasibility of genomic selection in the Italian Mediterranean water buffalo, which is farmed mainly in the south Italy for milk, and mozzarella, production. A total of 498 animals were genotyped at 49,164 loci. Test day records (80,417) of milk (MY), fat (FY) and protein (PY) yields from 4127 cows, born between 1975 and 2009, were analysed in a three-trait model. Cows born in 2008 and 2009 with phenotypes and genotypes were selected as validation animals (n = 50). Variance components (VC) were estimated with BLUP and ssGBLUP. Heritabilities for BLUP were 0.25 ± 0.02 (MY), 0.16 ± 0.01 (FY) and 0.25 ± 0.01 (PY). Breeding values were computed using BLUP and ssGBLUP, using VC estimated from BLUP. ssGBLUP was applied in five scenarios, each with a different number of genotypes available: (A) bulls (35); (B) validation cows (50); (C) bulls and validation cows (85); (D) all genotyped cows (463); (E) all genotypes (498). Model validation was performed using the LR method: correlation, accuracy, dispersion, and bias statistics were calculated. Average correlations were 0.71 ± 0.02 and 0.82 ± 0.01 for BLUP and ssGBLUP-E, respectively. Accuracies were also higher in ssGBLUP-E (0.75 ± 0.03) compared to BLUP (0.57 ± 0.03). The best dispersions (i.e. closer to 1) were found for ssGBLUP-C. The use of genotypes only for the 35 bulls did not change the validation values compared to BLUP. Results of the present study, even if based on small number of animals, showed that the inclusion of genotypes of females can improve breeding values accuracy in the Italian Buffalo.
, Anne-Sophie Conjat, Mickaël Briens, Mohammed Amine Hachemi, Pierre-André Geraert
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 514-525;

This study is aimed at comparing the bio-efficacy of different inorganic and organic Se compounds. Three broiler experiments (Exp1 = Ross PM3; Exp2 = Ross 308; and Exp3 = Ross 308) were performed, on the basis of Se tissue accretion, to define the bio-efficacy of Se sources. Birds were fed a control diet (negative control [NC]; no supplemental Se) and, depending on the study, the NC was supplemented with sodium selenite (SS), Se-yeast (35%, 56%, 65% or 72% of Se as selenomethionine (SeMet); SY35, SY56, SY65 and SY72), pure forms of selenocysteine (SeCys) (methylselenocysteine [MSeCys]; L-selenocystine [L-SeCys]), or pure form of organic Se (L-selenomethionine, L-SeMet or hydroxy-selenomethionine, OH-SeMet) at 0.3 mg Se/kg. In Exp 2, an additional treatment of SY65 + L-SeCys was also fed, with both sources added at 0.3 mg Se/kg. In Exp3, L-SeMet and OH-SeMet, were supplemented at 0.15, 0.30, 0.45 and 0.60 mg Se/kg. The results of Exp 1 (mg Se/kg muscle DM) were: NC, 0.56; SS, 0.73; MSeCys, 0.68; L-SeCys, 0.70; SY65, 1.52; OH-SeMet, 1.85 (p < .001); Exp 2 were: NC, 0.34; SS, 0.52; SY35, 0.84; SY65, 1.18; SY65 + L-SeCys, 1.22; OH-SeMet: 1.33 (p < .001); Exp 3 were: NC, 0.10; SS, 0.31; SY56, 0.88; SY72, 1.03; L-SeMet, 1.33; OH-SeMet, 1.33 (p < .01). The results of these three studies demonstrate that the bio-efficacy of organic Se supplements for chickens depends upon the proportion of SeMet, while dietary SeCys sources showed similar bio-efficacy as SS. Moreover, these data showed the high bio-efficacy of the pure form of organic Se and the bioequivalence between L-SeMet and OH-SeMet.
Fatemeh Mohammadpour, Hassan Darmani-Kuhi, Ardeshir Mohit, Mohammad M. Sohani
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 578-586;

This study was aimed to investigate the effects of dietary fat sources and green tea extract (GTE) on gene expression associated with lipid metabolism and inflammation in broiler chicken. A total of 300 female Ross 308 broiler chicks were allocated to six dietary treatments in a completely randomised design with a factorial arrangement of two levels of GTE (0 and 500 mg/kg diet) × three levels of fat inclusion [without fat (control group), soybean oil (SO) and tallow (Ta)]. Liver fat (LF), liver methallothionin (LMT) content, and lipoprotein lipase (LPL), adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL), tumour necrosis factor α (TNF-α), and interleukin (IL-6)] genes expression were investigated. Relative expression and statistical analyses of genes expression were assessed using REST software. The effect of added dietary fats was significant and improved performance parameters compared to the control group (p < .05). The highest abdominal fat and blood triglyceride, and the lowest carcase yield, were achieved in chicks fed SO-supplemented diet (p < .05). Chicks fed a diet supplemented with SO showed an overexpression and a decrease of LPL and ATGL compared to the Ta-supplemented and control groups, respectively (p < .05). GTE supplementation was effective on LPL and ATGL expression and ameliorated the effect of SO on abdominal fat percentage. TNF-α expression, LMT content, and relative weight of lymphoid organs were affected neither by GTE nor by the fat sources. There was no detection of IL-6 gene expression in adipose tissue. The results of this study demonstrated that diets rich in SO were capable increase fat deposition by an increase and decrease in LPL and ATGL gene expression, respectively. However inclusion of GTE in broiler diets alleviated the LPL-increasing and ATGL-reducing effects of SO and ameliorated the effect of SO on abdominal fat mass.
, Maria Costanza Galli, Barbara Contiero, , Beatrice Orlandi,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 472-478;

Pain alleviation associated with castration of piglets is a debated welfare issue. This study compares practical aspects, resource efficiency and economic implications of two protocols involving both analgesia and anaesthesia compared to a control group: conventional castration without pain relief (CTRL); joint administration of azaperone and meloxicam (AZA-MEL), i.m.; procaine (PROC-MEL), s.c., and meloxicam, i.m. A total number of 356 male piglets (56 L), was involved. Labour, mortality during the lactation period and costs for procedures were analysed. The total amount of labour required for each single male piglet and the risk of recording at least one dead piglet during lactation in litters were significantly higher in AZA-MEL and PROC-MEL groups than in CTRL group (labour: 02:04 and 02:04 vs. 01:18 min, respectively, p < .001; mortality risk: (RR = 1.48; CI 95% = 1.02 − 2.16; p = .029). The cost estimated for the castration of each male piglet in CRTL group was 0.32 €, whereas was 3.14 € for AZA-MEL group and 3.30 € for PROC-MEL group. The results suggest that adopting analgesia and anaesthesia showed notable cost increases for farmers. This might be expected and justifiable when the management is improved to reach a higher standard quality, such as in the case of welfare-friendly surgical castration, but might be questionable when also considering the result of increased piglet mortality in the lactation period.
Antón Pascual Guzmán, , Leonardo Susta, Shai Barbut
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 465-471;

In this study, we compared three popular textural tests: the compression, Meullenet–Owens razor blade (MORS), and Allo–Kramer (AK) tests, which are used to detect the wooden breast (WB) and spaghetti meat (SM) myopathies. A total of 209 fillets (71 WB, 71 SM, 67 normal) were selected from three different flocks at a large commercial plant. Thawed fillets were subjected to 20% compression tests before and after cooking, and cooked samples were subjected to the MORS and AK tests. The compression test on raw samples showed that normal and SM fillets had lower force (5.61 and 4.69 vs. 9.52 N), work (25 and 22 vs. 45 N mm), and Young’s modulus (2.71 and 2.11 vs. 4.29 N/s, p < .001) values than those of WB. The results of the compression test were confirmed by the cooked fillet results. The MORS test showed that SM had lower shear force (12.8 vs. 14.7 N) and work (249 vs. 288 N mm) values than those of the normal fillets, while WB showed intermediate values. The AK test results showed that SM had lower shear force (10.5 vs. 14.5 N) and Young’s modulus (31.0 vs. 46.0 N/s; p ≤ .01) values than those of WB fillets, whereas normal fillets had intermediate values. The compression test can be used to identify WB in both raw and cooked meat. The MORS test could distinguish cooked SM fillets from normal fillets, whereas the AK test differentiated SM from WB.
Lorenzo Pisello, , Claudio Forte, Davide Pravettoni, Nicoletta D’Avino, Fabrizio Passamonti, Fabrizio Rueca
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 315-323;

There are few published data on the accurate on-farm diagnosis of failure of transfer of passive immunity (FTPI) in beef–suckler calves. This observational study aimed to evaluate the diagnostic performance and differences among four types of refractometers for assessing FTPI in Chianina beef–suckler calves. Blood samples were collected from 85 Chianina calves aged 2–7 days. The serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) concentration was measured using radial immunodiffusion (RID), digital and optical serum total protein (STP) refractometers, and digital and optical serum refractometers. The diagnostic performance of the refractometers was determined based on the serum IgG threshold of 16 g/L (measured by RID). A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was used to identify the optimal cutoff values for all refractometers. The RID IgG concentration was positively correlated with all four refractometers (correlation coefficient: 0.75–0.84). ROC analysis yielded optimal cutoff values for predicting FTPI of 51 g/L (sensitivity (Se)=0.63 and specificity (Sp)=0.96) and 52 g/L (Se = 0.69 and Sp = 0.90) for the digital and optical STP refractometers, respectively. At the threshold of 8.3% Brix, the Se and Sp were 0.66 and 0.92 for the optical Brix and 0.77 and 0.92 for the digital Brix refractometer, respectively. All four refractometers were useful for assessing FTPI in Chianina calves. However, the digital Brix had the highest combined diagnostic accuracy for FTPI. The on-farm use of refractometers to assess FTPI can become part of routine monitoring of the colostrum management program in beef–suckler calf herds.
Eva Straková, , Martin Kutlvašr, Ivana Timová, Pavel Suchý
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 352-358;

The experiment aimed to determine the effect of substituting 50% of soy protein for lupin protein in feed mixtures intended for the nutrition of high-yield Isa Brown laying hens, on selected biochemical blood plasma indicators. The trial was designed as a long-lasting feeding experiment (51 weeks) and involved a total of 180 hens divided in three experimental groups (control group C and experimental groups WLS and WDLS). At the end of the laying cycle, blood samples were taken from the hens by puncture of the vena basilica and subsequently, the required blood plasma indicators were analysed in the laboratory. The results demonstrated that the long-term feeding of white lupin (variety Zulika) did not affect the molar concentration of plasma inorganic phosphorus (P), magnesium (Mg), sodium (Na), potassium (K), chloride (Cl), uric acid (UAC) and the activity of alanine aminotransferase (AST). By contrast, the substitution of soy protein for lupin protein in the diets of the experimental groups of laying hens led to the statistically significant (p ≤ .05) decrease of total plasma protein (TP), total cholesterol (Chol), calcium (Ca) and triacylglycerides (TAG) and to an increase (p ≤ .05) of alkaline phosphatase activity (ALP).
Kariny Cavalcante de Lira, , Mário De Andrade Lira, Francisco Fernando Ramos Carvalho, Mércia Virgínia Ferreira Santos, Márcio Vieira Cunha, Alexandre Carneiro Leão Mello, David M. Jaramillo, José Diogenes Pereira Neto
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 288-294;

Stable isotopes are an important tool to assess livestock diet in binary mixtures of C3-C4 forages. However, the use of stable isotopes to trace livestock diet using tropical arboreal legumes has been limited. The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of 13C stable isotopes to identify the proportions of grass (C4) and legume in sheep diet, when consuming various inclusion levels. We evaluated models correlating faecal δ13C to diet δ13C and inferred which model can better predict the different proportions of grass or legume consumed by sheep. Thirty male lambs (17 ± 1.3 kg) were used, and the experiment was set up in a randomised complete block design with body weight being the criteria for blocking. Treatments included various inclusion levels of Sabiá (Mimosa caesalpiniifolia Benth) in signalgrass (Urochloa decumbens Stapf) hay (100:0, 75:25, 50:50, 25:75 e 0:100%). Total faecal production and in vivo digestibility were calculated, as well as δ13C of diet and faecal samples. Sabia diet (100%) showed the greatest overall intake, and the lowest faecal production was observed when forages were fed alone, both for signalgrass or sabia hays, with 234 and 245 g dry matter animal−1 d−1. The models used within this study estimated with high accuracy the grass-legume proportions within the diets of sheep (R2=0.97). Our results indicate that using additional coefficients (digestibility, discrimination) did not increase the accuracy of the models, since using only isotopes from faeces was sufficient to predict the contribution of C3 or C4 species in the diet.
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 600-610;

Heat stress is one of the most important problems that dairy cows have to face and the use of cooling systems is becoming more and more important. The first reaction that has the animal to cope with the environmental variations is to modify its behaviour. This study was aimed to investigate the effect of heat stress and a cooling system on the feeding behaviour of Italian Holstein Friesian dairy cows in late lactation. Two experiments were performed. In the first experiment, eight dairy cows were firstly kept 7 d under thermoneutral condition, and then under mild heat stress (temperature humidity index, THI, ranging between 72 and 78) for others 7 d. The second experiment consisted of 8 dairy cows used in a two-period cross-over design where the treatment was the use or not of a sprinkler system for cooling cows under mild heat stress. Cows were equipped with a noseband pressure sensor able to detect rumination and eating time, number of rumination and eating chews, number of rumination boluses and rumination intensity. Heat stress reduced rumination time, number of rumination chews and boluses (p < .05), and tended to reduce the number of eating chews (p < .10). Cooled cows increased rumination and eating time (p < .05), rumination intensity (p < .01), and the number of rumination and eating chews (p < .05). In conclusion, feeding behaviour was deeply influenced even by mild heat stress, which was effectively improved by the use of a sprinkler system.
Yousef Chashmidari, Ladan Esmaielzadeh, , , Cristiane Soares Da Silva Araujo,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 1054-1062;

The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of earthworm meal (EW) and vermi-humus (VH) in broiler diets. A total of 225 day-old male broilers were divided into 5 treatment groups with 3 repetitions of 3 birds each. The treatment groups were: T1 – control (no EW or VH; T2 − 1.0% EW and 0% VH; T3 − 1.0% EW and 1.0% VH; T4 − 1.0% EW and 1.5% VH; and T5: 1.0% EW and 2.0% VH. The birds received (EW) and (VH) for 14 d, and after this period, they received the common diet. The birds were reared for 42 d and, at 42 d, one representative broiler chicken per pen, close to the average body weight, was selected for blood sampling using a sterile needle and heparinised vacuum tube. Performance data, blood results, immunity, ileum morphology and microbiota, the relative weight of carcass components and gastrointestinal organs, malondialdehyde (MDA) content, and breast and thigh meat quality were evaluated. EW and VH had a positive effect on the immune response of broilers, as well as producing a reduction in the aerobic bacteria in the birds’ intestines.
, Jacopo Segato, Daniele Zuccaccia, Kelly S. Swanson,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 887-895;

Metabolomics provides a description of the phenotype of an organism and complementary biochemical information to genomics and proteomics. The purpose of this research was to depict the metabolite profile of faecal samples from dogs fed three different diets through NMR spectroscopy analysis. Samples were collected from 14 dogs fed a commercial extruded diet, 18 dogs fed a homemade diet and 16 dogs fed a raw meat-based diet. The average BCS for all dogs was 4–5 and the average Faecal Score was 2–3. Only healthy animals were considered, as assessed from the clinical evaluation of the veterinarians. Faecal samples were prepared using phosphate buffer (pH 7.1) combined with deuterated water and analysed with NMR spectroscopy using a Bruker Avance III HD 400 MHz spectrometer. Principal component analysis of the spectra signals demonstrated clustering of dogs according to diet, with 57.8% of the variance explained by the first three components. Targeted metabolome analysis was also performed on 56 metabolites of interest, selected from a database of 558 metabolites. Our data suggest that metabolome analysis using NMR is a promising approach to describe the phenotypic variation that occurs among dogs fed different diets.
, Mojtaba Zaghari, Omid Noori, Reza Negarandeh, Haniel Cedraz de Oliveira
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 985-994;

The effects of in ovo injection of Arthrospira (Spirulina) Platensis on hatchability, antioxidant and immunity-related genes expression, and hatchling performance of broilers and Japanese quails was assessed in 2 separate experiments. In experiment 1, a total of 240 fertilised quail eggs were divided into six groups: control (without injection), sham control (0.02 CC distilled water/egg), 0.75 mg Spirulina Platensis (SP)/egg, 1.5 mg SP/egg, 2.5 mg SP/egg, 3.5 mg SP/egg. In experiment 2, a total of 192 fertilised broiler breeder were divided into four groups: control, sham control (0.2 CC distilled water/egg), 25 mg SP/egg, 35 mg SP/egg. In experiment 1, in ovo injection of SP (1.5–3.5 mg/egg) increased hatchability of chicks (p < .01). In the groups received 2.5 and 3.5 mg SP/egg the expression of HSP70 and GPx genes was lower and higher than control groups, respectively (p < .001). The expression of interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) in the chicks consumed 1.5–3.5 mg SP/egg was higher than control groups (p < .001). The groups received 1.5–3.5 mg SP had lower feed conversion ratio (FCR, p < .05). Catalase activity in hatchlings consumed 2.5 or 3.5 mg SP was the highest (p < .05). In experiment 2, in ovo injection of 25 or 35 mg SP caused the lowest HSP70 in chicks (p < .0001). During the whole period of rearing, feed intake (FI) and FCR of the broilers in ovo fed with 35 mg SP was higher than control groups (p < .01). SP can be considered as an organic supplement in hatcheries for improving hatchability and anti-oxidant status of quail and broiler hatchlings.
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 664-676;

In total, 144 Arbour Acres broiler chickens were distributed among four treatment groups (six replicates per treatment; six chickens per replicate) during days 20–40 of age. The chickens were offered iso-caloric and iso-nitrogenous diets containing four dietary oil levels (DOL): 0 (oil non-supplemented diet, control), 2, 4, and 6% in a relatively low-energy diet (12.4 MJ ME/kg diet). During the experimental period, the chickens were reared under natural hot weather conditions (32.5 ± 4 °C, 54 ± 7% relative humidity). Growth, feed conversion ratio (FCR), protein (PCR), metabolisable energy (MECR) ratio, and European production efficiency index (EPEI) were similar among groups fed up to 4% DOL but raising DOL to 6% impaired these traits. Besides, DOL at 6% decreased digestibility of dry matter, crude protein, and ash. Furthermore, a 6% DOL showed the lowest digestibility of dry matter, crude protein, and ash. Dressing percentage was the highest in 2%, and abdominal fat percentage showed the same trend in 6% DOL, but the gizzard percentage was the lowest in 6% DOL. The liver percentage increased significantly with fat/oil inclusion compared to the control. Meat dry matter and either extract increased considerably due to offering different DOLs, with maximum values at 6%. The inclusion of dietary oils in diets significantly increased serum malondialdehyde (MDA) but decreased serum total antioxidant capacity (TAC)/MDA ratio compared to the 0% DOL. In conclusion, under natural summer conditions, from 20 to 40 days of age, broilers' best productive characteristics were achieved using 0-2% DOL, and the best immune response was obtained for 4–6% DOL.
, Li He, Shaoshi Ji, Jiangli Huang, Zhihong Zhang, Dongsheng Wang, Jianping Liu, Huaqi Zhang
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 691-697;

This study was carried out in an attempt to evaluate the impact of Broussonetia papyrifera as a roughage substitute at different levels on carcase traits, growth performance, meat quality and immune performance in Hu ram lambs. Sixty Hu rams (5 months of age, 26.70 ± 2.14 kg body weight) were randomly divided into four groups. The treatments comprised B. papyrifera supplementation at levels of 0% (G0), 30% (G30), 60% (G60) and 100% (G100) of roughage feed. The results suggested that diet supplemented with B. papyrifera (G100 group) caused a higher average weight gain (AWG) and average daily gain (ADG) than those of G0 group. The highest carcase weight was observed in the G60 group. The chemical and physical properties of the longissimus dorsi muscle of Hu rams showed no significant differences (p>.05). For fatty acid, the G60 group had significantly lower content of saturated fatty acids (SFAs), higher contents of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and higher PUFA/SFA ratio than other groups (p<.05). In terms of the immune response, G60 and G100 groups significantly showed a significant rise in the immunoglobulins (IgG, IgA and IgM) (p<.05). This study indicated multiple beneficial effects of the inclusion of B. papyrifera (60% of the roughage feed) on the growth performance, carcase traits, meat quality and immune response in Hu rams. It could be used as a high-quality unconventional feedstuff for rams.
Saeid Jafari, , Mohammad Taher Mirakzehi
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 878-886;

The aim of this study was to determine the effect of vitamin E (α-Toc) and Otostgia persica leaf extract (OPLE) on the performance, immune response, and oxidative status in broiler chicken fed oxidised oil. A total of 350 one-day-old male broiler chickens were randomly attributed to seven dietary treatments. Broilers were fed diets containing fresh oil or oxidised oil without supplement, and diets containing oxidised oil supplemented with 200 mg/kg α-Toc, 100 or 200 mg/kg OPLE, 200 mg/kg α-Toc+ 100 mg/kg OPLE, and 200 mg/kg α-Toc + 200 OPLE mg/kg for six weeks. The plasma oxidative status was evaluated by measuring the superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity in plasma. Lipid peroxidation in thigh meat was measured by thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARs). Inclusion of antioxidants in the diet containing oxidised oils or fresh oil was increased body weight, feed intake, and weight gain (p < .05). The dietary antioxidants had no effect on plasma GPx in birds fed oxidised oil. Dietary supplementation with OPLE and α-Toc increased SOD activity and reduced TBARs in the thigh meat of broilers fed with a diet containing oxidised oil (p < .05). Birds fed with the dietary oxidised oil revealed lower titres of antibody against the sheep red blood cell (p < .05), and immune response was significantly improved by the supplementary OPLE. Serum cholesterol, triacylglycerols, and HDL were not affected by the inclusion of antioxidants and the type of oil. In conclusion, Otostgia persica leaf extract combined with α-Toc could reduce the negative effects of oxidised oil in the diets of broiler.
, Andrea Luppi, Paolo Bonilauri, Elisa Spinelli, Elena Santacroce, Paolo Trevisi
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 1103-1113;

Recording lesions at the abattoir provides information for benchmarking pig health and welfare conditions. The study involved 79 batches of Italian heavy pigs, mainly tail-docked. The aim of the study was to identify the prevalence of anatomopathological lesions and to identify relationships with carcass traits. The scoring of enzootic pneumonia-like lesions (EP), chronic pleuritis (CP), dorso-caudal pleuritis, white spots on the liver and tail lesions (TLs) was carried out. Relationships among the lesions, the season of slaughter, slaughtering age and carcass traits were tested using logistic regression. Enzootic pneumonia-like lesions were observed on 30.20% (±14.94) of the lungs with an average score of 0.91 (±0.77). The prevalence of CP was 38.07% (±15.86) with an average score of 0.83 (±0.34) and an A. pleuropneumoniae index (APPI) of 0.71 (±0.39). The prevalence of pericarditis and peritonitis was 5.5% (±3.73) and 1.09% (±0.64), respectively. White spots on the liver showed a prevalence of 12.94% (±23.60) and an average score of 0.02 (±0.04). The prevalence of TLs was 34.08% (±11.21); 29.64% (±11.21) showed moderate damage, and 4.44% (±5.02) severe damage, not associated with pulmonary lesions or carcass traits. Dorso-caudal pleuritis, suggestive of previous Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae infection, remained similar and was strongly associated with a higher lean meat percentage. Additional studies are necessary to better understand this association. The results showed that preventive measures against Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae are deemed necessary to reduce dorso-caudal pleuritis and to improve pig health and carcass value.
Fayiz M. Reda, , Talaat K. El-Rayes, Adel I. Attia, Sabry A.A El-Sayed, Sarah Y.A Ahmed, ,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 324-335;

A total of 200 1-week-old Japanese quails were randomly allocated into five treatment groups, each consisting of 40 unsexed birds (five replicates, eight birds each). Quails were reared in traditional cages (90 × 40 × 40 cm), and feed and water were made available throughout the 5-week trial. The treatment groups were as follows: the 1st was fed basal diet, whereas the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th groups were fed with ration supplemented with nano zinc (Zn-NPs) at doses of 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, and 0.4 g/kg diet, respectively. Results showed that, a significant (p ≤ .0001) improvement in body weight, weight gain, feed intake, and feed conversion ratio was observed in birds fed diets supplemented with 0.2 g/kg of Zn-NPs. Supplementation of Zn-NPs at doses of 0.1–0.3 g/kg diet demonstrated a positive impact on the activity of ALT, AST, and LDH. The liver profile parameters were not statistically influenced (p > .05) by dietary biological nano zinc, with the exception of total cholesterol (TC), high density lipoprotein (HDL), and low density lipoprotein (LDL). Also, dietary supplementation of biological Zn-NPs at concentrations of 0.1–0.3 g/kg diet demonstrated a positive impact on superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPX), malondialdehyde (MDA), immunoglobulin G (IgG), and immunoglobulin M (IgM). Dietary supplementation of Zn-NPs led to an increase in beneficial microbial populations. From the obtained results, Zn-NPs supplementation at 0.2 g/kg diet had a positive effect on the performance and physiological status of growing Japanese quails.
Elwy A. Ashour, Reem M. Farsi, Bothaina A. Alaidaroos, Abdel-Moneim E. Abdel-Moneim, Mohamed T. El-Saadony, Ali O. Osman, Eman T. Abou Sayed-Ahmed, Najah M. Albaqami, Manal E. Shafi, Ayman E. Taha, et al.
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 1357-1372;

Natural antioxidants play an important role in maintaining and improving poultry’s well-being, survival and productive and reproductive performance. Pyocyanin, a secondary blue redox-active metabolite, is one of these natural antioxidants that exert several biological activities to improve birds’ performance. This study estimated the effect of dietary supplementation with pyocyanin powder (PP) on broiler’s growth, carcase and serum properties, meat quality and microbial load activity. A total of 180 1-week-old unsexed chicks were randomly allocated into three groups. The first group served as a control (C) and fed the basal diet, while the second and third groups (P75 and P150) were fed the basal diet supplemented with 75.0 and 150.0 mg PP/kg, respectively. Results showed that overall body weight gain (BWG) was improved (p<.05) in P75 compared to P150 and control groups. Feed intake and feed conversion ratio (FCR) of chicks fed the diet containing PP levels were not altered during all experimental periods compared to the control. Dietary treatments did not affect all carcase traits, blood biochemical parameters and meat sensory characteristics at five weeks of age. Antioxidative status was improved by pyocyanin supplementation as serum malondialdehyde (MDA) was reduced while GST and GSH levels were elevated in P75 and P150 compared to the control. Dietary PP supplements increased (p<.05) the pH, lightness and redness of pectoralis major muscle and reduced (p<.05) the yellowness of the muscle and its contents of thiobarbituric acid and total volatile basic nitrogen. The PP addition showed antibacterial and antifungal activities against several pathogenic bacteria and mycotoxigenic fungi. It could be concluded that pyocyanin can be introduced as a natural, functional and phytogenic feed additive to boost broiler’s growth, improve their meat quality, produce nutritious meat products and reduce pathogenic bacteria without adverse impacts on their productivity.
Dina M. Shokry, , Magdy R. Badr, Hanem K. Khalifa, Sahar H. Orabi, Aziza M. Hassan, Ragab Dohreig
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 1175-1186;

This study evaluated the impacts of inclusion of Moringa Oleifera leaves extract (MOLE) in semen extender on rams cryopreserved semen quality and fertilization potential. Forty ejaculates were collected from eight fertile Barki rams, pooled and divided into five groups. The semen extender of the control group was without additives. The semen extender of the second and third groups was supplemented with MOLE at doses of 300 and 600 µg/mL, respectively. The semen extender of the fourth and fifth groups was supplemented with a combination of vitamin E and selenium at doses of 2.5 and 5 µg/mL, respectively. One hundred ten multiparous Barki ewes were artificially inseminated with the semen supplemented without or with MOLE or vitamin E and selenium combination. Inclusion of MOLE in semen extender significantly elevated the motility, viability index, membrane integrity and fertilization capacity of the post-thawed spermatozoa, as well as the activities of semen catalase, total antioxidant capacity, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and glutathione reductase. However, it significantly decreased acrosomal defects and DNA fragmentation of spermatozoa, the activities of semen alkaline and acid phosphatase and the concentration of malondialdehyde compared with the other groups. Similarly, vitamin E and selenium significantly improved the above-mentioned parameters compared to those of the control group. This study indicated that inclusion of MOLE to semen extender improved the quality and fertility of the post-thawed rams’ semen through enhancing the activities of the antioxidant enzyme system and decreasing the spermatozoa DNA fragmentation and lipid peroxidation.
Mingxin Xie, Ruifang Wang, Yuan Wang, Na Liu,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 2063-2074;

Here, we investigated the effects of fermented Chenopodium album L. (FCAL) on growth performance, apparent total tract nutrient digestibility, serum immunity, carcase characteristics and meat quality of broilers. Arbour Acres broilers (160, 1-d-old) were randomly allocated into four treatment groups with five replicates of eight birds each. The birds were fed a corn–soybean meal basal diet supplemented with 0 (control [CON]), 2, 4 and 8 g/kg FCAL. During the starter period (days 1–21), 4 and 8 g/kg FCAL significantly increased the average daily gain (ADG), apparent digestibility of dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP) and ether extract (EE), moreover; 8 g/kg FCAL significantly decreased the feed conversion ratio (FCR). During the finisher period (days 22–42), 2 g/kg FCAL significantly increased ADG and apparent digestibility of DM, CP and EE but significantly decreased FCR. During the whole period (days 1–42), dietary supplementation of 4 and 8 g/kg FCAL significantly increased ADG. Compared with the CON group, in the FCAL groups, the serum interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-8 levels were lower, while insulin-like growth factor-1, immunoglobulin (Ig) A (IgA) and IgM levels were higher. The serum IL-10 content was lower in the 2 and 4 g/kg FCAL groups. The breast muscle percentage significantly increased with 8 g/kg FCAL. FCAL significantly decreased muscle drip loss (breast), shear force (breast), water loss rate and lightness (leg). FCAL had positive effects on growth, nutrient digestibility, immunity, carcase characteristics and meat quality of broilers, thus it could be a reliable and phytogenic feed additive for promoting growth and maintaining health of broilers.
M. N. García Cuadrado, , R. Zafra Leva, I. Acosta García
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 1689-1694;

The helminth communities of Extremeña Azul breed chickens (Gallus gallus) have been studied from south-western free-ranging farms in Spain. Two farming systems were compared: a rainfed system and an irrigated system. Necropsy was applied to the animals to compare the structure, biodiversity, and evolution of helminth communities as well as to determine the correlation between parasite burden and chicken weight. 12 species of parasites were identified: 7 cestodes (Raillietina echinobothrida, R. tetragona, Skrajabinia cesticillus. Echinolepis carioca, Davainea proglottina, Amoebotaenia cuneata and Choanotaenia infundibulum), and 5 nematodes (Heterakis gallinarum, Ascaridia galli, Baruscapillaria obsignata, Eucoleus annulatus, and Aonchotheca caudinflata). Cestode prevalence was 54% in the rainfed system whereas it was 98% in the irrigated system; nematode prevalence was 100% in both communities. There were 2 core species in the rainfed and 5 in the irrigated system. The rainfed community showed lower species richness and more dominance. In the irrigated system, the helminth community showed higher biodiversity than in the rainfed system community. This could be attributed to the abundance of intermediate hosts due to irrigation. This study provides data on the distribution of chicken helminths in south-western Europe and the influence of the farming system on their biodiversity.
Yaqian Jin, Beibei Jiang,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 2041-2050;

This study investigated the influence of dietary supplementation of rumen-unprotected betaine (RUPB) and rumen-protected betaine (RPB) on growth performance, meat quality and fatty acid profile in intramuscular and subcutaneous fat of growing lambs. A total of 24 Hu male lambs were equally divided into three groups and fed a basal diet or basal diet supplemented with 1.6 g/kg of RUPB or 2.9 g/kg of RPB for 68 days. The water loss, redness of longissimus dorsi (LD) muscle and abdominal fat percentage were reduced in RUPB and RPB groups (p< .05). RPB supplementation decreased the shear force of LD muscle (p< .05). Polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content in LD muscle was decreased in RPB group, whereas n-3PUFA content was increased in RUPB group (p< .05). RUPB and RPB supplementation reduced the content of saturated fatty acid (SFA), and increased the contents of PUFA, monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), and n-6PUFA in subcutaneous fat (p< .05). Furthermore, dietary RUPB and RPB supplementation increased the mRNA expression of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) and glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase 1 (GPAT1) in LD muscle. It increased the mRNA expression of fatty acid synthetase (FANS) and lipoprotein lipase (LPL) but reduced the mRNA expression of GPAT1 in subcutaneous fat (p< .05). In conclusion, either RUPB or RPB supplementation may improve the meat quality and slightly change the fat deposition and fatty acid composition of intramuscular and subcutaneous fat, and RUPB is recommended as a supplement for growing male lambs based on its lower cost.
Amr Abd El-Wahab, Richard Grone, Volker Wilke, Marwa F. E. Ahmed, , Christian Visscher, Josef Kamphues
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 2051-2062;

Characterisation of the variations in physico-chemical properties of grains may help to improve the feeding value of grains for animal nutrition. Thus, this study aimed to obtain more extensive quantitative ideas concerning different physico-chemical properties of wheat, hybrid rye, and barley. The samples were ground in a hammer mill using screen size of 1, 3, and 6 mm, respectively. The cumulative mean particle distribution at >1.0 mm of the ground grains showed significant differences between wheat and hybrid rye (4.63 and 9.13%, respectively). At dry sieve analysis of 6 mm screen size, hybrid rye had significantly higher mean particle size distribution of >1.0 mm (26.8%) than for ground wheat and barley. Ground wheat using a 1 mm mesh sieve had the lowest water holding capacity and swelling capacity (1.89 g H2O/g dry matter (DM); p = .001 and 1.33 mL H2O/g DM; p = .021, respectively) compared to hybrid rye and barley. Ground hybrid rye using a 1 mm mesh sieve had the significantly highest extract viscosity (6.22 mPa s). Ground wheat had the lowest (p< .001) corrected sediment rate. In general, ground hybrid rye had always a higher feed particle size >1 mm regardless of the grinding size. Ground wheat had the lowest water holding capacity irrespective of the grinding mesh sieve. Finally, hybrid rye in general is characterised by high extract viscosity (6.22 mPa s at 1 mm grinding size), which decreased with coarser grinding (3.75 and 3.10 mPa s at 3 and 6 mm, respectively).
Pouya Teymouri, , , Elham Assadi Soumeh
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 1801-1809;

The present study investigated the effects of different feed additives on growth performance, carcass characteristics, gut microbial population, intestinal morphology, and blood metabolites of broiler chickens. A total of 540, day-old Ross 308 male chicks were randomly distributed into 6 dietary treatments with 6 replicate pens per treatment for 35 days. The birds fed on a basal diet without feed additive (CON) or the basal diet supplemented with 0.25 g/kg antibiotic as growth promoter (AGP), 1 g/kg essential oils (EO), 1.7 g/kg synbiotic (SYN), 3 g/kg medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), and 1 mL/L essential oils in drinking water (EOW). The additives improved the body weight gain (p = .004) and feed conversion ratio (p = .02) compared to the CON group during the whole trial. The serum concentration of cholesterol was lower in the birds fed the MCFA diet and serum concentration of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) decreased in MCFA and SYN groups. The relative weight of spleen was the greatest in MCFA group (p = .01). Feeding birds diets containing different additives decreased the population of coliform (p = .002) and Clostridium perfringens (p = .01) while Lactobacillus population was greater in broilers offered EOW, SYN, and MCFA supplements (p = .02). The jejunal villus height enhanced in the broiler chickens which received AGP and MCFA additives (p = .008). It is concluded that EOW, SYN, MCFA, and EO as alternatives for AGP improved the growth performance and intestinal morphometric indices and reduced the caecal pathogenic bacteria in broiler chickens.
, Laura Menchetti, Valentina Mininni, Daniele Tullio,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 1870-1881;

Movements of livestock across the Member States is monitored using the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES), a web-based veterinarian certification tool. This study aimed to evaluate the criticalities of this tracing system and the most frequent non-conformities in their compilation. TRACES of cattle (n = 320) departed from France and arriving or transiting across Puglia (Italy) in 2019 (n = 199) and 2020 (n = 121) were analysed. The distribution arriving in Italy and Greece did not vary between the 2 years. The majority of the bovine (53.4%) were medium-sized cattle transported for fattening with a median body weight of 410 kg. However, almost half of the TRACES did not report correctly the total expected loaded weight or the available space, so for them, it was impossible to calculate and double-check whether the minimal space allowance was respected. Long journeys must include a resting stop after the first 14 h, however, 20.9% of the examined and declared stops did not comply with it. Finally, comparing the expected declared journey duration with a calculated one (dividing travel distance by an average speed of 70 km/h, adding 1 h for loading and unloading, and 1 h or 24 h for resting stops), we found that only 30.6% of the journey durations were congruent. The irregularities resulted associated with consignors and transporters (p < .05). Overall, the proportion of mistakes and non-compliance suggest that there is a need to improve the current practice to enhance animal welfare during transportation.
E. Manca, , L. Falchi, , , A. Rossoni, ,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 1957-1967;

Residual feed intake (RFI) is the most used measure of feed efficiency. However, considering the importance of concentrates in the ration, a new index, the residual concentrate intake (RCI), was here defined. RCI aims to measure the individual efficiency in converting the concentrate into animal products. Brown Swiss young bulls (N = 736) were genotyped at 41,183 loci. Animals were housed in pens equipped with an automatic feeding system able to recognise the animal and record the concentrate intake. The diet consisted of concentrate and hay (ad libitum). The new RCI index was calculated as the residuals of the linear regression of concentrate intake on metabolic live weight and average daily gain. Animals were ranked according to their corrected RCI and divided into low (LRCI) and high phenotypes (HRCI). A low heritability (0.06 ± 0.03) was estimated using only genomics for this new index. Results from multivariate (M-GWAS) and Bayesian (B-GWAS) approaches were combined to identify SNP associated with RCI. The M-GWAS selected 698 SNPs potentially associated, whereas no significant markers were obtained in B-GWAS. Markers in the last approach were ranked according to their posterior inclusion probability and the first 698 were retained. Only SNPs in common between sorted B-GWAS and M-GWAS (N = 11) were considered associated with RCI. A total of 48 candidate genes were retrieved near these SNPs. Most of them were previously reported to be associated with feed efficiency and RFI. The combined use of multivariate and Bayesian techniques allow to identify SNPs associated with the investigated trait.
, Cécile Sibra, Claire Laurent
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 1851-1862;

This work aims to identify the rearing practices which increase the carcase weight according to slaughter age. For this purpose, an innovative statistical method, the decision tree method, was used to identify the most influential action levers on the carcase weight, with associated thresholds values and modalities, among the rearing practices applied throughout the animals’ life. The data of 636 heifers carcases were collected from the slaughterhouse and the rearing practices from 45 farms by survey. Firstly, classifications were done to define slaughter-age classes and carcase-weight classes. Three slaughter-age classes (younger, mid-age, older) and 3 carcase-weight classes (lighter, intermediate, heavier) were defined, then these two classifications were crossed. The decision tree method highlighted that the influence on carcase weight of the life periods of the animals (i.e. suckling, growth, and finishing periods) and the related rearing practices were different according to the slaughter age of the heifers. For the younger-slaughtered animals, the most influential rearing practices on the carcase weight were the suckling duration, the concentrate supply during growing, the distributions of compound feed and grass silage in-stall during growing. For the mid-age slaughtered animals, the rearing practices identified as the most influential were the concentrate amount distributed in-stall during finishing, the meal supply in-stall during finishing and the cereals supply at pasture during growing. For the older-slaughtered animals, the compound feed supply at pasture during finishing and the concentrate amount distributed in-stall during growing were the most influential on the carcase weight.
Shahram Nessabian, , Mohammad Chamani, Ali Asghar Sadeghi,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 1791-1800;

This study was conducted to assess the effect of different levels of zinc hydroxide and zinc-glycine (Zn-Gly) on the performance, carcass quality, immunity, and morphometric of the small intestine. A total of 540 1-day-old Ross-308 broiler chicks were randomly assigned to 9 treatments each having 4 replicates of 15 birds in a 3 × 3 factorial design. They were fed with different amounts of 0, 50 and 100 mg/kg from zinc hydroxide and Zn-Gly. The results showed the significant effect of different levels of zinc hydroxide on performance, carcass quality, immunity and morphometric of the small intestine (p< .05) and also a significant effect of different levels of Zn-Gly on feed intake, feed conversion ratio and thymus (p< .05). The results also showed that when birds were fed with the diet containing 100 mg/kg of Zn-Gly and without zinc hydroxide had the highest weight gain and feed intake, whereas the control diet showed the lowest weight gain and feed intake with a significant difference (p< .05). Overall, the results showed that feeding broilers with a diet containing 100 mg/kg of Zn-Gly had the greatest effect on weight gain, viscera, visceral fat, bursa of fabricius, thymus, spleen, length of the villus and crypt depth. In general, feeding with different levels of organic and inorganic sources of Zn is more effective than the diets without them.
Abazar Karimi, , , Mehdi Mirzaei, Hassan Sadri
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 1817-1828;

Forty newborn Holstein female calves (BW = 39.9 ± 2.1 kg) were assigned to 1 of 4 treatment groups (each consisting of 10 animals) in a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of supplemental soybean oil [0 vs. 3% soybean oil (SBO) on dry matter basis] and forage level [0 vs. 15% alfalfa hay (AH) on dry matter basis] to evaluate the interaction effect of supplemental fat and forage feeding level in starter feed of dairy calves. Treatments were; (1) neither SBO supplementation nor AH inclusion (NSBO-NAH); (2) SBO supplementation but no AH included (SBO-NAH); (3) no SBO supplementation but AH included (NSBO-AH); and (4) SBO supplementation with AH (SBO-AH). Calves had ad-libitum access to water and starters throughout the study and weaned on day 63 of age but remained in the study until day 73 of age. The results showed that SBO supplementation reduced starter intake, average daily gain (tendency) and faecal consistency compared to un-supplemented diets. The lowest digestibility for neutral detergent fibre and crude protein, as well as the lowest wither height and volatile fatty acid production, were found for SBO-AH diet among experimental treatments. Moreover, the lowest urinary purine derivatives excretion but the highest urinary nitrogen excretion found in SBO-AH diet indicated the lowest nitrogen utilisation efficiency among experimental treatments. In summary, based on the current study condition, because the negative effects of SBO supplementation were exacerbated when AH was incorporated in the starter feed, concurrent feeding of SBO and AH is not recommendable in young calves.
Caroline Fredrich Dourado Pinto, Marcelino Bortolo, Fábio Ritter Marx,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 2086-2094;

This study aimed to evaluate a commercial hydrolysed chicken liver powder (HCLP) as a single source of animal protein in diets for adult dogs. A characterisation of the HCLP was followed by assessment of diets palatability and in vivo and in vitro digestibility. Two extruded isonitrogenous diets were produced: control (poultry byproduct + bovine meat and bone meal) and HCLP. Twenty-two dogs of different breeds were used to test palatability, and twelve Beagle dogs were used to evaluate digestibility. HCLP had high concentrations of lysine, linoleic and arachidonic acids, and most of peptides with molecular weight .05). Ash and fat intake were higher in dogs fed the control diet, (p< .0001) and (p = .0135), respectively. Crude fibre intake was higher in dogs fed the HCLP diet (p = .0001). Dogs fed the HCLP diet had similar faecal score (p > .05) compared to control diet, although faecal dry matter was reduced (p = .0321) and the daily faecal production was increased (p = .0361). The diets in vitro digestibility did not differ (p > .05). Based on our results, HCLP included up to 26% in diets for adult dogs presented satisfactory results in palatability, digestibility of nutrients and energy, faecal and urinary characteristics. Although dogs fed the HCLP diet produced slightly moist stools, it had no negative impact on faecal score.
, M. A. Rahman, M. Atikuzzaman, A. A. S. Shuvo, E. Hossain, M. J. Khan,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 1244-1255;

This study was aimed to find out the suitable dose of fresh plantain (Plantago lanceolata L.) supplementation for optimum growth, serum antioxidants status, liver health, and meat quality in broilers. A total of 1152-days-old Cobb-500 broilers (average weight: 45 ± 0.7 g) were randomly assigned into four dietary treatments, including (i) control (CON): corn-soya based basal diet, and plantain (PL) supplemented groups (ii) PL40: CON + 40 g fresh PL/kg diet; (iii) PL80: CON + 80 g fresh PL/kg diet; and (iv) PL120: CON + 120 g fresh PL/kg diet. Improved growth efficiency (p < .05) was observed in PL supplemented groups compared to CON, where PL80 and PL120 groups had the highest value. Serum superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase concentrations were comparable in the PL80 and PL120 groups, but higher (p < .05) than other groups. The lowest concentrations of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase were found in the PL80 group, while alkaline phosphatase was the highest in the PL40 group. Furthermore, the PL80 group exhibited the lowest (p = .001) abdominal fat content and the highest (p = .002) breast meat yield. Meat linoleic acid content was nevertheless improved linearly with PL supplement levels, and the highest value was found in the PL120 group. Furthermore, the maximum meat redness (a*) was observed in PL80 and PL120 groups, which was approximately twice that of the CON. Overall, the growth and health responses of both PL80 and PL120 groups were similar, while the latter had improved the meat fatty acid profile.
, Carlo Viti, Federica Mannelli, Mariano Pauselli, , Giuseppe Luciano, Bernardo Valenti,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 1256-1263;

The reuse of by-products from the agro-industry in animal feeding is desirable to increase the sustainability of the productions. Hazelnut skin is a by-product of the food industry and due to the high content in crude fat and phenolic compounds can be potentially used in ruminants’ diet. In this study, we characterised and compared the microbial communities of rumen digesta (RD) from lambs fed a diet supplied with hazelnut skin vs. a control diet. Microbial DNA was extracted and high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons was performed. Six genera ([Eubacterium] nodatum group, Acidaminococcus, Dialister, Erysipelotrichaceae UCG-002, Megasphaera, and Olsenella) showed a positive correlation with the concentration of C18:1 t10, and their relative abundance was higher in the RD from lambs fed the control diet, compared to the RD from lambs fed the diet supplied with hazelnut skin. The results suggest that the relative abundance of microorganisms correlated to C18:1 t10 production in the rumen of animals fed a concentrate-based diet can be reduced by the administration of hazelnut skin.
, Erica De Monte,
Italian Journal of Animal Science, Volume 20, pp 1126-1134;

The aim of the following study was to investigate the effect of dairy production systems, including housing, farm management, pasture access and concentrate supplementation on veterinary diagnosed diseases as well as on administrated drugs in local dual-purpose Alpine Grey (AG) cattle and specialised Brown Swiss (BS) cattle in alpine dairy systems. In the final dataset 916 veterinary diagnosis from 524 cows farmed in 6 low-concentrate Alpine Grey farms (LAG), 9 low-concentrate Brown Swiss farms, (LBS) 11 high-concentrate Alpine Grey farms (HAG) and 15 high-concentrate Brown Swiss farms (HBS) were available for the statistical analysis. The most diagnoses referred to udder health (mastitis, dry-cow therapy) followed by parasite infections and reproduction disorders. In detail, BS had a higher occurrence for mammary infections than AG while HBS farms showed a significant higher incidence for udder diseases compared to all other farm categories. Pasture access had in tendency a beneficial effect on udder health but was detrimental for cows fertility. For latter, special attention should be put on providing sufficient energy supply to grazing animals for avoiding severe negative energy balances and resulting metabolic disorders which reduce fertility. Finally, to reduce the use of antimicrobials classified as highly critical by the WHO in terms of resistance, selective therapies, particularly for mammary infections and dry-cow therapies as well as the inclusion of preventive strategies in every days farm management should be encouraged.
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