The effect of marine algae in the ration of high-yielding dairy cows during transition on metabolic parameters in serum and follicular fluid around parturitionThe effect of marine algae in the ration of high-yielding dairy cows during transition on metabolic parameters in serum and follicular fluid around parturition
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Veterinary Sciences
Research group
Veterinary physiology and biochemistry
Publication type
Champaign, Ill.,
Veterinary medicine
Source (journal)
Journal of dairy science. - Champaign, Ill.
94(2011):9, p. 4603-4615
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
University of Antwerp
Sixteen Holstein cows were assigned to 2 groups to evaluate the caloric and metabolic effect of feeding marine algae (ALG) from 3 wk prepartum until 12 wk postpartum. Milk production characteristics and the profiles of hormones and metabolites in the serum were monitored from −7 to 46 d in milk (DIM) and in follicular fluid (FF) from 14 to 46 DIM. All cows received a corn- and grass silage-based partially mixed ration supplemented with concentrate and protein supplement. In the diet of the ALG group, 2kg of the concentrate was replaced by a concentrate containing ALG (44g/d of docosahexaenoic acid). Diets were isocaloric (net energy basis) and equal in intestinal digestible protein. The ALG diet increased milk yield (41.2 vs. 38.2kg/d) and decreased milk fat yield (1.181 vs. 1.493kg/d) and milk fat content (31.6 vs. 40.7g/kg). Protein yield (1.336 vs. 1.301kg/d) was not affected but a tendency toward decreased milk protein content (32.8 vs. 34.7g/kg) was observed. Marine algae supplementation increased the β-hydroxybutyric acid (BHBA) concentration in FF of the ALG cows compared with that in the controls (0.992 vs. 0.718mmol/L). The total protein concentration in FF was decreased in ALG (62.9 vs. 67.6g/L). Plasma and serum metabolites did not significantly differ between treatments except for a tendency toward a lower concentration of urea in the serum of the control compared with ALG (4.69 vs. 5.13mmol/L). Based on metabolizable energy calculations, a daily energy-sparing effect of 3.48 Mcal was obtained due to milk fat depression (MFD). The concomitant increase in milk yield suggests that at least part of this spared energy is used to stimulate milk production. Theoretically, 3.48 Mcal of ME could lead to an increase in milk yield of 7.43kg/d, which is higher than the observed 3kg/d. However, when evaluating nutrient requirements during MFD in early lactation, we calculated that increased milk production is caused by a propionate-saving effect of 2.71mol in the udder when milk fat is depressed. Concurrent increased BHBA concentrations in FF in the ALG group cannot be attributed to a worsened energy status of the animals because all other indicators contradict any change in energy balance, indicating that BHBA might not be an appropriate metabolic parameter to estimate the energy balance in early lactating dairy cows during MFD.