ISSN / EISSN : 20762615 / 20762615
Current Publisher: MDPI (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 2,268
Latest articles in this journal
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10040593
In this study, arabinogalactan (ARB) and Lactobacillus uvarum LUHS245 antimicrobial properties against pathogenic bacteria (Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa 17-331, Acinetobacter baumanni 17-380, Proteus mirabilis, MRSA M87fox, Enterococcus faecalis 86, Enterococcus faecium 103, Bacillus cereus 18 01, and Streptococcus mutans) and resistance to antibiotics were evaluated and the role of their supplementation on the main metabolic and fecal variables of newborn calves was established. The animal trial involved 48 Holstein female calves randomly allocated in four homogeneous groups of 12 animals each, on the basis of body weight in the second day of life. Calves were fed with a standard milk replacer diet from the second day of life until 14th day, either unsupplemented or supplemented with 50 mL of LUHS245 (≥7.5 log10 CFU mL−1), 30 g of ARB, or with both (50 mL of LUHS245 and 30 g ARB). In vitro data showed that the LUHS245 inhibited the growth of Salmonella enterica and Bacillus cereus (inhibition zones 13.0 and 21.3 mm, respectively). Supplementation of LUHS245 and ARB either alone or together, lowered total bacterial count in the feces and reduced lactate and serum alanine aminotransferase concentrations in blood. This study showed that LUHS245 supplementation alone or together with ARB seemed to have some positive influence on certain health parameters in newborn calves. Further research with larger cohorts of animals is warranted to validate the beneficial effects of the tested supplements.
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10040584
This study compared the yield performance, laying behavioural traits and egg quality of purebred and hybrid hens (from 28 until 44 weeks of age, considering four periods) reared under outdoor conditions. The four genotypes were reared on the same trial station, on four areas (one genotype/area), and under the same environmental conditions from hatching until the end of the trial. Italian dual-purpose purebred (Ermellinata di Rovigo—ER and Robusta maculata—RM) and hybrid (Hy-Line Brown—HB and Hy-Line White 36—HW) hens (flock size: 70 birds/genotype) were allowed outdoors (4 m2/bird, good pasture during the growing period and poor pasture throughout the laying period, according to the season) and indoors (0.20 m2/bird, five birds/individual nest) and fed commercial feed. Significant (p < 0.01) differences among genotypes were found. The hybrids showed a higher laying rate and hen-day edible egg mass, and a lower body weight than the purebreds. Broken and out-of-nest egg% were higher in RM and HW than ER and HB, respectively. Double-yolk egg% was higher in hybrids than in purebreds. The eggshell colour varied among brown eggshell ER, RM, and HB. The ER showed the lowest shape index. With aging, the yolk to albumen ratio linearly increased in all groups, eggshell% changed in ER, HW, RM (cubic) and in HB (linear). The purebreds showed meat spots% higher than blood spots; HW showed the lowest total inclusion%. In conclusion, according to an egg scoring evaluation (egg weight = medium-large size, yolk to albumen ratio = 0.5, total inclusions = none), HW showed a higher quality than HB and RM, and ER was intermediate. The RM hens showed the highest% of defective eggs, especially for overcrowding at nest, HB showed the lowest. Under outdoor conditions the laying behaviour of the purebred hens and the nest management are important factors for the saleable egg rate.
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10040585
Salmonella is a genus of Gram-negative, motile, and facultative anaerobic bacteria with a worldwide distribution that contaminates multiple substrates (vegetation, food, soil, and water) and inhabits the gastrointestinal tract of birds, reptiles, and mammals, including humans. Rottnest Island is a popular tourist destination and is abundantly inhabited by quokkas (Setonix brachyurus), a charismatic small wallaby. Current data on the association between Salmonella and quokkas on Rottnest Island are outdated by approximately 30 years. Additionally, previous studies on quokkas on this island and mainland Western Australia did not perform physical examinations or any diagnostic tests. The aim of the project was to assess the prevalence of Salmonella spp. in quokkas from Rottnest Island and mainland Western Australia and correlate the presence of the bacterium with the health of the animal. Ninety-two quokkas from Rottnest Island (n = 71) and populations on the mainland (n = 21) were screened for Salmonella, and a prevalence of 47.9% and 4.8%, respectively, was determined. A total of 16 serovars were identified from 37 isolates; five of these serovars had previously not been described in the quokka. Salmonella appeared to have an effect on the haematology and blood chemistry of quokkas on Rottnest Island consistent with subclinical salmonellosis. The health of Rottnest Island quokkas, and their potential impact on the health of the visitors to the island, should continue to be monitored carefully.
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10040586
India has the largest population of dairy cattle in the world at over 48 million animals, yet there has been little formal assessment of their welfare reported. Through observations of dairy cows on 38 farms in Kerala, India, we aimed to investigate the welfare of these animals and the practicality of animal-based assessments within common farming systems. Substantial welfare challenges were identified. All cows were close-tied (less than 1 m length) via a halter that pierced the nasal septum when housed, which was for the entire day (50% of farms) or part thereof. When outside access was available, it was also usually restricted by close-tying, longline tether, or hobbling. Ad libitum water was only available on 22% of farms and food access was also restricted (mean of 4.3 h/day). Future work should focus on encouraging dairy farmers in India to improve the welfare of their dairy cattle by: ceasing to tie and tether cattle (or at least providing tied and tethered cattle with exercise opportunities); providing unlimited access to drinking water and a readier supply of food (especially quality green forage/fodder); cleaning housing more frequently; providing strategies to prevent heat stress; breeding cattle suited to environmental conditions and with increased resistance to heat stress; and carrying out welfare assessments more regularly using a validated protocol and rectifying the causes of poor welfare. Such changes could substantially improve the welfare of tens of millions of cattle.
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10040587
The infrequency of a total solar eclipse renders the event novel to those animals that experience its effects and, consequently, may induce anomalous behavioral responses. However, historical information on the responses of animals to eclipses is scant and often conflicting. In this study, we qualitatively document the responses of 17 vertebrate taxa (including mammals, birds, and reptiles) to the 2017 total solar eclipse as it passed over Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia, South Carolina. In the days leading up to the eclipse, several focal teams, each consisting of researchers, animal keepers, and student/zoo volunteers conducted baseline observations using a combination of continuous ad libitum and scan sampling of each animal during closely matched seasonal conditions. These same focal teams used the same protocol to observe the animals in the hours preceding, during, and immediately following the eclipse. Additionally, for one species—siamangs (Symphalangus syndactylus)—live video/audio capture was also employed throughout observations to capture behavior during vocalizations for subsequent quantitative analysis. Behavioral responses were classified into one or more of four overarching behavioral categories: normal (baseline), evening, apparent anxiety, and novel. Thirteen of seventeen observed taxa exhibited behaviors during the eclipse that differed from all other observation times, with the majority (8) of these animals engaging in behaviors associated with their evening or nighttime routines. The second predominant behavior was apparent anxiety, documented in five genera: baboons (Papio hamadryas), gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), giraffes (Giraffa cf. camelopardalis), flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber), and lorikeets (Trichoglossus moluccanus and Trichoglossus haematodus). Novel behaviors characterized by an increase in otherwise nearly sedentary activity were observed only in the reptiles, the Galapagos tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra) and the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis). While the anthropogenic influences on animal behaviors—particularly those relating to anxiety—cannot be discounted, these observations provide novel insight into the observed responses of a diverse vertebrate sample during a unique meteorological stimulus, insights that supplement the rare observations of behavior during this phenomenon for contextualizing future studies.
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10040592
The aim was to investigate the impact of an automatic in ovo injection of the raffinose family oligosaccharides (RFO) extracted from the seeds of Lupinus luteus L, on the chicken performance and resistance in a production environment. At day 12 of incubation, a total of 57,900 eggs (Ross 308) were divided into two groups: 1/ Control, injected with 0.9% NaCl and 2/ RFO group, injected with 1.9 mg/egg of the lupin seed extract, dissolved in 0.2 mL NaCl. The performance parameters, biochemical indices (lipid profile, hepatic parameters), gut histomorphology and duodenum structure, oxidative stability of the meat and microbiological counts of the major commensal microbiota species were analyzed. Mortality, body weight, and feed conversion ratio (FCR) were not affected. By day 42, several health indices were improved with RFO and were reflected in a beneficial lipid blood profile, increased villi surface and better combating opportunistic pathogens through reduction of Clostridia and decreased coccidia counts. The RFO increased meat oxidation, but only at the beginning of the storage. The RFO sourced from local legumes can be considered a promising prebiotic for broiler chickens. In ovo delivery of prebiotics and/or synbiotics should be further optimized as an important strategy for the earliest possible modulation of chicken resistance.
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10040590
Salinity is a reliable issue of crop productivity loss in the world and in certain tropical and subtropical zones. However, tremendous progress in the genetic improvement of plants for salinity tolerance has been made over several decades. In light of this, halophytic plants can be used as animal feeds and have promising features because they are a good feed resource. However, the main constraint of saline pasture systems is the extreme concentration of NaCl salt in drinking water and forage plants for grazing animals. Ecological reports revealed that excess diet salt causes mortality and morbidity worldwide. Animal fed halophytic forages may have adverse effects on growth performance and reproductive function in males and females due to inducing reductions in hormone regulation, such as testosterone, FSH, LH, and leptin. It was indicated that high salt intake promotes circulating inflammatory factors in the placenta and is associated with adversative effects on pregnancy. This review focuses on the scientific evidence related to the effect of high salt intake on growth performance, spermatogenesis, sperm function, and testicular morphology changes in male animals. In addition, the review will also focus on its effect on some female reproductive features (e.g., ovarian follicle developments, placental indices, and granulosa cell function).
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10040591
: It takes several hours for mammalian sperm to migrate from the ejaculation or insemination site to the fertilization site in the female reproductive tract in which glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids are regarded as the primary substrates for ATP generation. The present study was designed to investigate whether oleic acid and palmitic acid were beneficial to boar sperm in vitro; and if yes, to elucidate the mechanism that regulates sperm motility. Therefore, the levels of oleic acid and palmitic acid, motility, membrane integrity, acrosome integrity, and apoptosis of sperm were evaluated. Moreover, the enzymes involved in mitochondrial β-oxidation (CPT1: carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1; ACADVL: long-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase) were detected with immunofluorescence and Western blotting. Consequently, the ATP content and the activities of CPT1, ACADVL, malate dehydrogenase (MDH), and succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) were also measured. We observed that CPT1 and ACADVL were expressed in boar sperm and localized in the midpiece. The levels of oleic acid and palmitic acid were decreased during storage at 17 °C. The addition of oleic acid and palmitic acid significantly increased sperm motility, progressive motility, straight-line velocity (VSL), membrane integrity, and acrosome integrity with a simultaneous decrease in sperm apoptosis after seven days during storage. When sperm were incubated with oleic acid and palmitic acid at 37 °C for 3 h, the activities of CPT1 and ACADVL, the ATP level, the mitochondrial membrane potential, the activities of MDH and SDH, as well as sperm motility patterns were significantly increased compared to the control (p﹤0.05). Moreover, the addition of etomoxir to the diluted medium in the presence of either oleic acid or palmitic acid and the positive effects of oleic acid and palmitic acid were counteracted. Together, these data suggest that boar sperm might utilize oleic acid and palmitic acid as energy substrates for ATP production via β-oxidation. The addition of these acids could improve sperm quality.
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10040589
Automatic milking systems (AMS) are a low-labour alternative to conventional parlours, with previous studies demonstrating that cows vary in their ability to cope with the change to AMS. Cortisol expression can be combined with other measures to assess stress: saliva and hair have the advantage of requiring minimally invasive sampling. No work has investigated the long-term impact of introduction of AMS. The aims of the study were to assess short-term and chronic stress associated with a change in milking system by measuring salivary and hair cortisol levels and to assess the impact on health and production parameters. Cows from one farm changing their milking system were recruited to the study and sampled for saliva (n = 10) and hair (n = 12) before and after installation. Cortisol levels were measured using a salivary cortisol enzyme immunoassay kit. Body condition, lameness and milk parameters of the whole herd were regularly assessed. Salivary cortisol showed no diurnal pattern but was affected by lameness and gestation. Non-lame cows showed a reduction in salivary cortisol after AMS introduction (p < 0.001). Hair cortisol levels increased after AMS, but it was unclear if this change was seasonal. Milk yield increased by 13% and somatic cell count reduced by 28%. Body condition score was consistently good, but lameness remained high throughout the study. Production values alone do not represent high welfare. The high lameness and associated cortisol levels suggest that cow stress requires consideration when changing milking systems.
Animals, Volume 10; doi:10.3390/ani10040588
The hazelnut skin is waste biomass rich in bioactive compounds that may affect lipid rumen metabolism, ruminant performance, and products’ quality. Therefore, we investigated the effect of dietary hazelnut skin on milk production and composition and on rumen fatty acids in ewes. During 28 days, 20 Comisana lactating ewes received alfalfa hay ad libitum plus 800g/head/day of pelleted concentrate containing 36% dried beet pulp (CTRL group; n = 10) or 36% hazelnut skin (HS group; n = 10). The protein percentage was lower in HS milk. Milk fatty acids (FA) partially reflected those of rumen content. Total saturated FA (SFA), odd and branched-chain FA, and n-3 polyunsaturated FA (PUFA) were greater in CTRL milk. Total monounsaturated FA (MUFA) and 18:1 trans were greater in HS milk; moreover, HS milk showed a double percentage of oleic acid than the CTRL group. Individual SFA were greater in CTRL milk except for 18:0. Differing from the rumen content, total PUFA, n-6 PUFA, and 18:2 n-6 were comparable between groups. Vaccenic and rumenic acid were greater in HS milk. To conclude, dietary HS slightly reduced milk protein percentage but improved atherogenic index and healthy FA in milk. The content of the somatic cells suggested a healthier udder in the HS group.