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Effect of stage of lactation and dietary starch content on endocrine-metabolic status, blood amino acid concentrations, milk yield, and composition in Holstein dairy cows

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Chris SealORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Milk yield and composition are modified by level and chemical characteristics of dietary energy and protein. Those factors determine nutrient availability from a given diet, and once absorbed, they interact with the endocrine system and together determine availability of metabolites to the mammary gland. Four multipa-rous dairy cows in early lactation and subsequently in late lactation were fed 2 diets for 28 d in a change-over design that provided, within the same stage of lactation, similar amounts of rumen fermentable feed with either high (HS) or low starch (LS). All diets had similar dietary crude protein (15.5% dry matter) and rumen-undegradable protein (~40% of crude protein) content. Profiles of AA were calculated to be similar to that of casein. On d 28, [1-13C] Leu was infused into one jugular vein with blood samples taken at 0, 2, 4, 6, and 8 h, and cows milked at 0, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 h from start of infusion. Isotopic enrichments of plasma Leu, keto-isocaproic acid, and milk casein were determined for calculation of Leu kinetics. Data were subjected to ANOVA using the MIXED procedure of SAS (SAS Institute Inc.), with time as repeated factor and cow as the random effect. Dry matter intake within each stage of lactation was similar between groups. Feeding LS resulted in lower blood glucose and greater ratio of bovine somatotropin to insulin. This response was as-sociated with greater blood concentrations of nonesteri-fied fatty acids and β-hydroxybutyrate, which might have contributed to greater milk fat content in LS-fed cows. Except for His, average concentrations of all AA in blood were higher in late than early lactation. Diet did not alter average plasma concentrations of AA. However, for most of the essential AA (particularly branched-chain), the HS diet led to a marked decrease in concentrations after the forage meal, resulting in significant differences between dietary groups in early lactation. In early-lactating cows fed HS, a greater reduction in plasma concentrations at 8 h relative to pre-feeding values (time zero) was observed for Met, Lys, and His, resulting in decreases of 27.9%, 33.6%, and 38.5%, respectively. A higher bovine somatotro-pin/insulin ratio in early lactation and in cows fed LS could possibly have led to greater breakdown and, consequently, higher AA flux from peripheral tissues. In LS-fed cows, higher mobilization of body fat and protein was confirmed by the greater body weight loss in both stages of lactation. Higher irreversible loss of [1-13C] Leu in early lactation suggested lower protein retention in peripheral tissues during early compared with late lactation. Milk yield, protein output, and composition were similar between groups at both stages of lactation, whereas milk coagulation was faster (lower curd firming rate) and with higher curd firmness in response to feeding HS in late lactation. Overall, data indicated that rate of carbohydrate fermentability in the rumen can modify the availability of metabolites to the mammary gland and consequently modify milk protein coagulation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Piccioli-Cappelli F, Seal CJ, Parker DS, Loor JJ, Minuti A, Lopreiato V, Trevisi E

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Dairy Science

Year: 2021

Volume: 105

Pages: epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 23/12/2021

Acceptance date: 17/10/2021

Date deposited: 28/12/2021

ISSN (print): 0022-0302

ISSN (electronic): 1525-3198

Publisher: American Dairy Science Association


DOI: 10.3168/jds.2021-20539


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