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Use of sensory additives to mask bitter taste in calf milk replacers.

M. Terré



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Use of sensory additives to mask bitter taste in calf milk replacers.
M. Terré*1, M. Verdú2, A. Frongia2, R. Cresci2, M. Blanch3. 1IRTA Caldes de Montbui, Spain, 2bonÀrea Agrupa Guissona, Spain, 3Lucta S.A Bellaterra, Spain.

There are several feed additives used for dairy calves that cause palatability problems. A model to cause milk replacer (MR) aversion to dairy calves was developed. The model consisted on adding 30 g/kg of a mix of commercial products with bitter taste (Bittermix) to the MR, and animals who received Bittermix (BM) had more MR refusals, and a decrease in the MR intake rate. To evaluate the potential of 2 sensory additives differing in the sweet fraction to mask BM aversion in the MR, 37 Holstein male calves (6.5 ± 0.93 d of age and 40.2 ± 1.40 kg of BW) were raised under the same conditions following a common MR (25.3% CP, 21.1% fat) feeding program. When calves (38.5 ± 1.12 d of age and 57.7 ± 1.70 kg of BW)were able to consume 8 L/d at 12.5% DM concentration in 2 feedings, the aversion test was performed adding one of the following products to the MR: no supplementation (CTRL; n = 9); BM at the dose of 30 g of BM/kg of MR; (BM; n = 9); BM plus sensory additive 1 at the dose of 2 g/kg of MR (SA1; n = 10); and BM plus sensory additive 2 at the dose of 2 g/kg of MR (SA2; n = 9). The aversion test lasted 7 d, and MR intake and time devoted to consume the MR were recorded at each feeding throughout the aversion week. Data were analyzed with a mixed-effects model accounting the fixed effects of MR supplementation, feeding during the aversion week, and their interaction, and calf as random effect. The incidence of MR refusals was analyzed with a generalized mixed model considering treatment as fixed effect. The incidence of refusals and time devoted to consume the MR were similar in all 4 treatments. However, the eating rate of calves supplemented with SA2 was similar to CTRL calves, in contrast to calves supplemented with SA1 that had similar eating rate to BM calves. Sensory additive 2was able to revert the aversion effects of BM exhibiting a similar MR eating rate than CTRL calves.

Keywords: aversion test, calf, sensory additive.