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Effect of fat-embedded calcium gluconate on lactation performance and metabolism in dairy cattle.

D. J. Seymour




Effect of fat-embedded calcium gluconate on lactation performance and metabolism in dairy cattle.
D. J. Seymour*, J. B. Daniel, J. Mart�n-Tereso, J. Doelman. Trouw Nutrition R&D Amersfoort, the Netherlands.

Butyrate and its fermentative precursors have demonstrated multiple beneficial effects to the gastrointestinal morphology and function, such as the stimulation of epithelial cell proliferation, improvement of gut barrier function and support of the general ecological and physiological homeostasis. It has been proposed that by improving gut integrity and function, less energy is partitioned toward immune responses related to xenobiotic infiltration, allowing more energy to be available for productive purposes. Gluconic acid and its salts have previously been shown to have a prebiotic effect in the lower gut of monogastric animals where it serves as a precursor for butyrate, though work in ruminants is limited. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of supplementing calcium gluconate embedded in a hydrogenated fat matrix on milk production, milk fatty acid composition and hindgut VFA profile in lactating dairy cattle. Forty-five lactating Holstein cows were used in a 3 � 3 Latin square consisting of three 28-d periods during which animals were offered a basal ration supplemented with 3 different compound feeds: a negative control in mash form containing no gluconate, or the same mash feed or a pelleted form, both containing calcium gluconate supplement at a targeted rate of 16 g/d. Data were analyzed using a mixed model treating animal as a random effect and treatment, block, period and parity as fixed effects. Treatments resulted in increases in yields of milk fat (P = 0.03) and fat-corrected milk (P = 0.02), as well as changes in milk fatty acid composition, which were similar to those seen in response to post-ruminal butyrate supplementation and suggested increases in both de novo milk fatty acid synthesis and incorporation of extra-mammary fatty acids. Changes in concentrations of plasma BHB and NEFA also supported this hypothesis. No differences were observed in fecal concentrations of butyrate. Future work to characterize the eventual effects in the gut lumen, as well as changes in the structure and function of the hindgut epithelium in response to fat-embedded calcium gluconate supplementation is warranted.

Keywords: calcium gluconate, butyrate, dairy cattle.