105 research outputs found

    Effect of production system and geographic location on milk quality parameters

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    A main reason for the rapid increase in organic food consumption is the perception that organic foods have a superior nutritional composition and/or convey health benefits. However, there is currently limited scientific knowledge about the effect of production systems on food composition. The study reported here compared fatty acid profiles and levels of fat soluble antioxidants in milk from organic and conventional production systems in 5 geographic regions in Europe (Wales, England, Denmark, Sweden and Italy). Levels of nutritionally desirable mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids (vaccenic acid, CLA, α-linolenic acid) and/or a range of fat soluble antioxidants were found to be significantly higher in organic milk

    Sustainable intensification? Increased production diminishes omega-3 content of sheep milk

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    Intensifying agricultural production alters food composition, but this is often ignored when assessing system sustainability, yet it could compromise consumers’ health and the concept of ‘sustainable diets’. Here we consider milk composition from Mediterranean dairy sheep, finding inferior fatty acid (FA) profiles with respect to consumer health as a result of a more intensive system of production. Semi-intensive management did produce 57% more milk per ewe with 20% lower fat content, but inferior fat composition. Milk had a nutritionally poorer fatty acid (FA) profile, with 18% less omega-3 FA (n-3) (19% less long-chain n-3) and 7% less monounsaturated FA but 3% more saturated FA (9% higher in C14:0) concentrations compared with ewes under traditional, extensive management. Redundancy analysis identified close associations between fat composition and animal diets, particularly concentrate supplementation and grazing cultivated pasture - n-3 was associated with grazing diverse, native mountain pastures. The paper questions if identifying such key elements in traditional systems could be deployed for ‘sustainable intensification’ to maintain food quality whilst increasing output

    How should we turn data into decisions in AgriFood?

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    The AgriFood supply chain is under significant pressures related to food security, climate change, and consumer demands for affordable and higher quality food. Various technologies are already deployed producing a large amount of data, which can be utilised to guide decision-making to improve productivity, reduce wastage, and increase traceability across the AgriFood supply chain. Several examples of the use of data are given, including improving efficiency in livestock production, supporting automation and use of robotics in crop production, increasing food safety and evidencing its provenance. The opportunities and ways forward were discussed at a workshop in November 2017, run by the Society of Chemical Industry and the Knowledge Transfer Network in the UK. This paper presents a summary of the key messages from the presentations and focus-group discussions during this event, as interpreted by the authors. A number of challenges in digitalisation of the AgriFood supply chain are discussed, such as low inter-operability of different data sets, silo mentality, low willingness to share data and a significant skills gap. Various approaches are presented that could help to unlock the benefits of using data, from practical support to producers and addressing skills gaps, to industrial leadership and the role of government departments and regulatory bodies in leading by example. Looking forward, data are already revolutionising the AgriFood supply chain, however, the benefits will remain piecemeal until the leaders of today are able to bring together the disparate groups into a cohesive whole

    An update to the fatty acid profiles of bovine retail milk in the United Kingdom: implications for nutrition in different age and gender groups

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    This study investigated the effect of UK dairy production system, month, and their interaction, on retail milk fatty acid (FA) profile throughout the year. Milk samples (n=120) from four conventional (CON), four organic (ORG) and two free-range (FR) brands were collected monthly. ORG milk had more nutritionally-desirable polyunsaturated FA, including rumenic acid and the omega-3 PUFA α-linolenic, eicosapentaenoic and docosapentaenoic acids, and less of the nutritionally-undesirable palmitic acid. Milk FA profile was similar between FR and CON, but FR milk had less SFA and/or palmitic acid, and/or greater α-linolenic and rumenic acids in certain months within the peak-grazing season. According to the measured milk FA profiles and UK milk fat intakes, milk and dairy products contribute around one-third of the maximum recommended saturated FA intake. A small increased intake of beneficial PUFA may be expected by consuming ORG milk but human health implications from such differences are unknown

    Effect of dietary seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) supplementation on milk mineral concentrations, transfer efficiency, and hematological parameters in lactating Holstein cows

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    This study investigated the effect of feeding seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) to dairy cows on milk mineral concentrations, feed-to-milk mineral transfer efficiencies and hematological parameters. Lactating Holstein cows (n = 46) were allocated to one of 2 diets (n = 23 each): (i) control (CON; without seaweed), and (ii) seaweed (SWD; replacing 330 g/d of dried corn meal in CON with 330 g/d dried A. nodosum). All cows were fed the CON diet for 4 weeks before the experiment (adaptation period); and animals were then fed the experimental diets for 9 weeks. Samples included sequential 3-week composite feed samples, a composite milk sample on the last day of each week, and a blood sample at the end of the study. Data were statistically analyzed using a linear mixed effects model with diet, week, and their interaction as fixed factors; cow (nested within diet) as a random factor and data collected on the last day of the adaptation period as covariates. Feeding SWD increased milk concentrations of Mg (+6.6 mg/kg), P (+56 mg/kg), and I (+1720 μg/kg). It also reduced transfer efficiency of Ca, Mg, P, K, Mn, and Zn, and increased transfer efficiency of Mo. Feeding SWD marginally reduced milk protein concentrations while there was no effect of SWD feeding on cows' hematological parameters. Feeding A. nodosum increased milk I concentrations, which can be beneficial when feed I concentration is limited or in demographics or populations with increased risk of I deficiency (e.g., female adolescents, pregnant women, nursing mothers). However, care should also be taken when feeding SWD to dairy cows because, in the present study, milk I concentrations were particularly high and could result in I intakes that pose a health risk for children consuming milk.The project leading to these results has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 730924 (SmartCow). The analysis of macrominerals and trace elements in feed, milk, and blood plasma was funded by the University of Reading (Reading, UK); special thanks go to the laboratory personnel at the University of Reading who supported the analysis of feed, milk, and blood plasma. This output reflects only the authors' views, and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein. The data set supporting the conclusions of this article is available on request from the corresponding authors. Eric E. Newton: conceptualization, methodology, software, validation, formal analysis, investigation, data curation, writing–original draft, writing–review and editing, visualization. Katerina Theodoridou: conceptualization, methodology, resources, writing–review and editing, supervision, project administration, funding acquisition. Marta Terré: project administration, investigation, resources, writing–review and editing. Sharon Huws: writing–review and editing. Partha Ray: conceptualization, methodology, software, supervision. Christopher K. Reynolds: writing–review and editing, supervision. N. Prat: investigation, resources. D. Sabrià: investigation, resources. Sokratis Stergiadis: conceptualization, methodology, resources, data curation, writing–original draft, writing–review and editing, visualization, supervision, project administration. All authors reviewed and approved the manuscript. Animals were managed with common rearing conditions under the supervision of Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA, Monells, Spain) technicians and the approval of the Animal Care Committee of the Government of Catalonia (authorization code 11392). The authors have not stated any conflicts of interest.info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersio

    Effect of intensification practices, lambing period and environmental parameters on animal health, and milk yield and quality in dairy sheep production systems on Crete

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    Due to increasing demand, many traditional, grazing-based Mediterranean sheep production systems have introduced intensified feeding regimes, increased investments in facilities and equipment (milking machines) and modified their veterinary regimes to increase milk yields. However, compared to bovine milk production systems, there is limited knowledge about the impact of these intensification practices on animal welfare/health and on the quality of dairy products. The aim of this study was therefore to quantify the effects of production intensity/feeding regimes, lambing period and environmental background conditions on udder health parameters, gastrointestinal nematode infection levels and milk yield and quality parameters in traditional Sfakiano sheep production systems in Crete. Milk yields were higher in semi-intensive production systems while concentrations of several nutritionally desirable compounds such as omega-3 fatty acids were found to be higher in milk from extensive systems. Antibiotic and anthelmintic use was relatively low in both extensive and semi-intensive production systems there was no substantial difference in faecal egg counts, somatic cell counts (a marker for subclinical mastitis) and mi-cro-biological parameters assessed in milk. Recording of flock health parameters showed that animal health/welfare was high in both extensive and semi-intensively managed flocks, and that overall, the health status of extensively managed ewes was slightly better. In contrast, environ-mental conditions (temperature and rainfall) had a substantial effect on nematode infection levels and milk quality parameters assessed

    Performance and milk quality parameters of Jersey crossbreds in low-input dairy systems

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    Previous work has demonstrated some benefit from alternative breeds in low-input dairying, although there has been no systematic analysis of the simultaneous effect of Jersey crossbreeding on productivity, health, fertility parameters or milk nutritional quality. This work aimed to understand the effects of, and interactions/interrelations between, dairy cow genotypes (Holstein-Friesian (HF), Holstein-Friesian × Jersey crossbreds (HF × J)) and season (spring, summer, autumn) on milk yield; basic composition; feed efficiency, health, and fertility parameters; and milk fatty acid (FA) profiles. Milk samples (n=219) and breed/diet data were collected from 74 cows in four UK low-input dairy farms between March and October 2012. HF × J cows produced milk with more fat (+3.2 g/kg milk), protein (+2.9 g/kg milk) and casein (+2.7 g/kg milk); and showed higher feed, fat, and protein efficiency (expressed as milk, fat and protein outputs per kg DMI) than HF cows. Milk from HF × J cows contained more C4:0 (+2.6 g/kg FA), C6:0 (+1.9 g/kg FA), C8:0 (+1.3 g/kg FA), C10:0 (+3.0 g/kg FA), C12:0 (+3.7 g/kg FA), C14:0 (+4.6 g/kg FA) and saturated FA (SFA; +27.3 g/kg milk) and less monounsaturated FA (MUFA; -23.7 g/kg milk) and polyunsaturated FA (-22.3 g/kg milk). There was no significant difference for most health and fertility parameters, but HF × J cows had shorter calving interval (by 39 days). The superior feed, fat and protein efficiency of HF × J cows, as well as shorter calving interval can be considered beneficial for the financial sustainability of low-input dairy farms; and using such alternative breeds in crossbreeding schemes may be recommended. Although statistically significant, it is difficult to determine if differences observed between HF and HF × J cows in fat composition are likely to impact human health, considering average population dairy fat intakes and the relatively small difference. Thus, the HF × J cow could be used in low-input dairying to improve efficiency and productivity without impacting milk nutritional properties

    Composition differences between organic and conventional meat: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis

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    Demand for organic meat is partially driven by consumer perceptions that organic foods are more nutritious than non-organic foods. However, there have been no systematic reviews comparing specifically the nutrient content of organic and conventionally produced meat. In this study, we report results of a meta-analysis based on sixty-seven published studies comparing the composition of organic and non-organic meat products. For many nutritionally relevant compounds (e.g. minerals, antioxidants and most individual fatty acids (FA)), the evidence base was too weak for meaningful meta-analyses. However, significant differences in FA profiles were detected when data from all livestock species were pooled. Concentrations of SFA and MUFA were similar or slightly lower, respectively, in organic compared with conventional meat. Larger differences were detected for total PUFA and n-3 PUFA, which were an estimated 23 (95 % CI 11, 35) % and 47 (95 % CI 10, 84) % higher in organic meat, respectively. However, for these and many other composition parameters, for which meta-analyses found significant differences, heterogeneity was high, and this could be explained by differences between animal species/meat types. Evidence from controlled experimental studies indicates that the high grazing/forage-based diets prescribed under organic farming standards may be the main reason for differences in FA profiles. Further studies are required to enable meta-analyses for a wider range of parameters (e.g. antioxidant, vitamin and mineral concentrations) and to improve both precision and consistency of results for FA profiles for all species. Potential impacts of composition differences on human health are discussed
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