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See detailRelationship between thiamine and subacute ruminal acidosis induced by a high-gran diet in dairy cows
Pan, Xiaohua; Yang, L.; Xue, F.G. et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (in press)

Two experiments were conducted to reveal the effects of grain-induced subacute rumen acidosis (SARA) on thiamine status in blood and rumen fluid in dairy cows. In both experiments, 6 multiparous, rumen ... [more ▼]

Two experiments were conducted to reveal the effects of grain-induced subacute rumen acidosis (SARA) on thiamine status in blood and rumen fluid in dairy cows. In both experiments, 6 multiparous, rumen-fistulated Holstein dairy cows were used in a 2-treatment, 2-period crossover design. Each experimental period consisted of 21 d (total of 42 d). Experiment 1 was to investigate the effects of SARA on thiamine status in blood and rumen fluid. Treatments were either control (20% starch, dry matter basis) or SARA-inducing diet (SAID, 33.2% starch, dry matter basis). In experiment 2, the effects of dietary thiamine supplementation on attenuating SARA and ruminal fermentation characteristics in dairy cows were studied. All cows received the same SAID diet during the whole experimental period; treatments were with or without thiamine (180 mg of thiamine/kg of dry matter intake). In both experiments, rumen fluid samples were collected at 0, 3, 6, 9, and 12 h after morning feeding on d 21 and 42 of the experiments for measurement of pH, thiamine, volatile fatty acid, and lactate contents. Peripheral blood was also collected at 3 h after morning feeding on d 21 and 42 to measure thiamine, carbohydrate metabolites, and enzyme activities. In experiment 1, cows fed the SAID diet had lower ruminal and plasma thiamine concentrations and higher lactate than cows fed the control diet. The ruminal thiamine contents were positively related to pH and the concentrations of acetate in the rumen, and negatively correlated with the lactate contents. Experiment 2 demonstrated that ruminal pH and the concentrations of thiamine, acetate, and total volatile fatty acids in the rumen were increased, whereas ruminal lactate contents were reduced by thiamine supplementation. The concentrations of lactate and the activity of lactate dehydrogenase in blood were reduced in the thiamine supplemented group, and the opposite was true for the nonesterified fatty acids and α-ketoneglutarate dehydrogenase contents. In conclusion, the thiamine status was affected by SARA in dairy cows and ruminal infusion of thiamine could helpattenuate SARA by improving the proportions of ruminal volatile fatty acids and reducing lactate contents in rumen fluid and blood. [less ▲]

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See detailModeling heat stress under different environmental conditions
Carabano, Maria-Jesus; Logar, Betka; Bormann, Jeanne et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2016)

Renewed interest in heat stress effects on livestock productivity derives from climate change, which is expected to increase temperatures and the frequency of extreme weather events. This study aimed at ... [more ▼]

Renewed interest in heat stress effects on livestock productivity derives from climate change, which is expected to increase temperatures and the frequency of extreme weather events. This study aimed at evaluating the effect of temperature and humidity on milk production in highly selected dairy cattle populations across three European regions differing in climate and production systems to detect differences and similarities that can be used to optimize heat stress (HS) effect modeling. Milk, fat and protein test day data from official milk recording for years 1999 to 2010 in four Holstein populations located in the Walloon Region of Belgium (BEL), Luxembourg (LUX), Slovenia (SLO) and Southern Spain (SPA) were merged with temperature and humidity data provided by the state meteorological agencies. After merging, the number of test day records/cows per trait ranged from 686,726/49,655 in SLO to 1,982,047/136,746 in BEL. Values for the daily average and maximum temperature and humidity index (THIavg and THImax) ranges for THIavg/THImax were largest in SLO (22-74/28-84) in SLO and shortest in SPA (39-76/46-83). Change point techniques were used to determine comfort thresholds, which differed across traits and climatic regions. Milk yield showed an inverted U shaped pattern of response across the THI scale with a HS threshold around 73 THImax units. For fat and protein, thresholds were lower than for milk yield and were shifted around 6 THI units towards larger values in SPA compared with the other countries. Fat showed lower HS thresholds than protein traits in all countries. The traditional broken line model was compared to quadratic and cubic fits of the pattern of response in production to increasing heat loads. A cubic polynomial model allowing for individual variation in patterns of response and THIavg as heat load measure showed the best statistical features. Higher/lower producing animals showed less/more persistent production (quantity and quality) across the THI scale. The estimated correlations between comfort and THIavg values of 70 (which represents the upper end of the THIavg scale in BEL-LUX) were lower for BEL-LUX (0.70 - 0.80) than for SPA (0.83 - 0.85). Overall, animals producing in the more temperate climates and semi-extensive grazing systems of BEL and LUX showed HS at lower heat loads and more re-ranking across the THI scale than animals producing in the warmer climate and intensive indoor system of SPA. [less ▲]

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See detailStaphylococcus aureus genotype B and other genotypes isolated from cow milk in European countries.
Cosandey, A.; Boss, R.; Luini, M. et al

in Journal of dairy science (2016), 99(1), 529-40

Staphylococcus aureus is globally one of the most important pathogens causing contagious mastitis in cattle. Previous studies, however, have demonstrated in Swiss cows that Staph. aureus isolated from ... [more ▼]

Staphylococcus aureus is globally one of the most important pathogens causing contagious mastitis in cattle. Previous studies, however, have demonstrated in Swiss cows that Staph. aureus isolated from bovine intramammary infection is genetically heterogeneous, with Staph. aureus genotype B (GTB) and GTC being the most prominent genotypes. In addition, Staph. aureus GTB was found to be contagious, whereas Staph. aureus GTC and all the remaining genotypes were involved in individual cow disease. The aim of this study was to subtype strains of Staph. aureus isolated from bovine mastitic milk and bulk tank milk to obtain a unified view of the presence of bovine staphylococcal subtypes in 12 European countries. A total of 456 strains of Staph. aureus were subjected to different typing methods: ribosomal spacer PCR, detection of enterotoxin genes, and detection of gene polymorphisms (lukE, coa). Major genotypes with their variants were combined into genotypic clusters (CL). This study revealed 5 major CL representing 76% of all strains and comprised CLB, CLC, CLF, CLI, and CLR. The clusters were characterized by the same genetic properties as the Swiss isolates, demonstrating high clonality of bovine Staph. aureus. Interestingly, CLB was situated in central Europe whereas the other CL were widely disseminated. The remaining 24% of the strains comprised 41 genotypes and variants, some of which (GTAM, GTBG) were restricted to certain countries; many others, however, were observed only once. [less ▲]

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See detailBovine Staphylococcus aureus: Subtyping, evolution, and zoonotic transfer.
Boss, R.; Cosandey, A.; Luini, M. et al

in Journal of dairy science (2016), 99(1), 515-28

Staphylococcus aureus is globally one of the most important pathogens causing contagious mastitis in cattle. Previous studies using ribosomal spacer (RS)-PCR, however, demonstrated in Swiss cows that ... [more ▼]

Staphylococcus aureus is globally one of the most important pathogens causing contagious mastitis in cattle. Previous studies using ribosomal spacer (RS)-PCR, however, demonstrated in Swiss cows that Staph. aureus isolated from bovine intramammary infections are genetically heterogeneous, with Staph. aureus genotype B (GTB) and GTC being the most prominent genotypes. Furthermore, Staph. aureus GTB was found to be contagious, whereas Staph. aureus GTC and all the remaining genotypes were involved in individual cow disease. In addition to RS-PCR, other methods for subtyping Staph. aureus are known, including spa typing and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). They are based on sequencing the spa and various housekeeping genes, respectively. The aim of the present study was to compare the 3 analytic methods using 456 strains of Staph. aureus isolated from milk of bovine intramammary infections and bulk tanks obtained from 12 European countries. Furthermore, the phylogeny of animal Staph. aureus was inferred and the zoonotic transfer of Staph. aureus between cattle and humans was studied. The analyzed strains could be grouped into 6 genotypic clusters, with CLB, CLC, and CLR being the most prominent ones. Comparing the 3 subtyping methods, RS-PCR showed the highest resolution, followed by spa typing and MLST. We found associations among the methods but in many cases they were unsatisfactory except for CLB and CLC. Cluster CLB was positive for clonal complex (CC)8 in 99% of the cases and typically positive for t2953; it is the cattle-adapted form of CC8. Cluster CLC was always positive for tbl 2645 and typically positive for CC705. For CLR and the remaining subtypes, links among the 3 methods were generally poor. Bovine Staph. aureus is highly clonal and a few clones predominate. Animal Staph. aureus always evolve from human strains, such that every human strain may be the ancestor of a novel animal-adapted strain. The zoonotic transfer of IMI- and milk-associated strains of Staph. aureus between cattle and humans seems to be very limited and different hosts are not considered as a source for mutual, spontaneous infections. Spillover events, however, may happen. [less ▲]

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See detailCapitalizing in fine milk composition for breeding and management of dairy cows
Gengler, Nicolas ULg; Soyeurt, Hélène ULg; Dehareng, Fréderic et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2016), 99

The challenge of managing and breeding dairy cows is permanently adapting to changing production circumstances under socio-economic constraints. If managing and breeding address different timeframes of ... [more ▼]

The challenge of managing and breeding dairy cows is permanently adapting to changing production circumstances under socio-economic constraints. If managing and breeding address different timeframes of action, both need relevant phenotypes that allow for precise monitoring of the status of the cows, and their health, behavior, and well-being as well as their environmental impact and the quality of their products (i.e., milk and subsequently dairy products). Milk composition has been identified as an important source of information because it could reflect, at least partially, all these elements. Major conventional milk components such as fat, protein, urea, and lactose contents are routinely predicted by mid-infrared (MIR) spectrometry and have been widely used for these purposes. But, milk composition is much more complex and other nonconventional milk components, potentially predicted by MIR, might be informative. Such new milk-based phenotypes should be considered given that they are cheap, rapidly obtained, usable on a large scale, robust, and reliable. In a first approach, new phenotypes can be predicted from MIR spectra using techniques based on classical prediction equations. This method was used successfully for many novel traits (e.g., fatty acids, lactoferrin, minerals, milk technological properties, citrate) that can be then useful for management and breeding purposes. An innovation was to consider the longitudinal nature of the relationship between the trait of interest and the MIR spectra (e.g., to predict methane from MIR). By avoiding intermediate steps, prediction errors can be minimized when traits of interest (e.g., methane, energy balance, ketosis) are predicted directly from MIR spectra. In a second approach, research is ongoing to detect and exploit patterns in an innovative manner, by comparing observed with expected MIR spectra directly (e.g., pregnancy). All of these traits can then be used to define best practices, adjust feeding and health management, improve animal welfare, improve milk quality, and mitigate environmental impact. Under the condition that MIR data are available on a large scale, phenotypes for these traits will allow genetic and genomic evaluations. Introduction of novel traits into the breeding objectives will need additional research to clarify socio-economic weights and genetic correlations with other traits of interest. [less ▲]

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See detailStandardisation of milk mid-infrared spectra from a European dairy network
Grelet, Clément ULg; Fernandez Pierna, Juan Antonio; Dardenne, Pierre et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2015), 98

http://www.journalofdairyscience.org/article/S0022-0302(15)00091-0/abstract

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See detailGenetic analysis of heat stress effects on yield traits, udder health, and fatty acids of Walloon Holstein cows
Hammami, Hedi ULg; Vandenplas, Jérémie; Vanrobays, Marie-Laure ULg et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2015), 98(7), 4956-4968

Genetic parameters that considered tolerance for heat stress were estimated for production, udder health, and milk composition traits. Data included 202,733 test-day records for milk, fat, and protein ... [more ▼]

Genetic parameters that considered tolerance for heat stress were estimated for production, udder health, and milk composition traits. Data included 202,733 test-day records for milk, fat, and protein yields, fat and protein percentages, somatic cell score (SCS), 10 individual milk fatty acids (FA) predicted by mid-infrared spectrometry, and 7 FA groups. Data were from 34,468 first-lactation Holstein cows in 862 herds in the Walloon region of Belgium and were collected between 2007 and 2010. Test-day records were merged with daily temperature-humidity index (THI) values based on meteorological records from public weather stations. The maximum distance between each farm and its corresponding weather station was 21km. Linear reaction norm models were used to estimate the intercept and slope responses of 23 traits to increasing THI values. Most yield and FA traits had phenotypic and genetic declines as THI increased, whereas SCS, C18:0, C18:1 cis-9, and 4 FA groups (unsaturated FA, monounsaturated FA, polyunsaturated FA, and long-chain FA) increased with THI. Moreover, the latter traits had the largest slope-to-intercept genetic variance ratios, which indicate that they are more affected by heat stress at high THI levels. Estimates of genetic correlations within trait between cold and hot environments were generally high (>0.80). However, lower estimates (< = 0.67) were found for SCS, fat yield, and C18:1 cis-9, indicating that animals with the highest genetic merit for those traits in cold environments do not necessarily have the highest genetic merit for the same traits in hot environments. Among all traits, C18:1 cis-9 was the most sensitive to heat stress. As this trait is known to reflect body reserve mobilization, using its variations under hot conditions could be a very affordable milk biomarker of heat stress for dairy cattle expressing the equilibrium between intake and mobilization under warm conditions. [less ▲]

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See detailHot topic: Innovative lactation-stage-dependent prediction of methane emissions from milk mid-infrared spectra
Vanlierde, Amélie; Vanrobays, Marie-Laure ULg; Dehareng, Frédéric et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2015), In press

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See detailShort communication: Evaluation of the microbiota of kefir samples using metagenetic analysis targeting the 16S and 26S ribosomal DNA fragments
Korsak Koulagenko, Nicolas ULg; Taminiau, Bernard ULg; Leclercq, Mathilde et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2015), 98

Milk kefir is produced by fermenting milk in the presence of kefir grains. This beverage has several benefits for human health. The aim of this experiment was to analyze 5 kefir grains (and their products ... [more ▼]

Milk kefir is produced by fermenting milk in the presence of kefir grains. This beverage has several benefits for human health. The aim of this experiment was to analyze 5 kefir grains (and their products) using a targeted metagenetic approach. Of the 5 kefir grains analyzed, 1 was purchased in a supermarket, 2 were provided by the Ministry of Agriculture (Namur, Belgium), and 2 were provided by individuals. The metagenetic approach targeted the V1-V3 fragment of the 16S ribosomal (r)DNA for the grains and the resulting beverages at 2 levels of grain incorporation (5 and 10%) to identify the bacterial species population. In contrast, the 26S rDNA pyrosequencing was performed only on kefir grains with the aim of assessing the yeast populations. In parallel, pH measurements were performed on the kefir obtained from the kefir grains using 2 incorporation rates. Regarding the bacterial population, 16S pyrosequencing revealed the presence of 20 main bacterial species, with a dominance of the following: Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens, Lactococcus lactis ssp. cremoris, Gluconobacter frateurii, Lactobacillus kefiri, Acetobacter orientalis, and Acetobacter lovaniensis. An important difference was noticed between the kefir samples: kefir grain purchased from a supermarket (sample E) harbored a much higher proportion of several operational taxonomic units of Lactococcus lactis and Leuconostoc mesenteroides. This sample of grain was macroscopically different from the others in terms of size, apparent cohesion of the grains, structure, and texture, probably associated with a lower level of Lactobacillus kefiranofaciens. The kefir (at an incorporation rate of 5%) produced from this sample of grain was characterized by a lower pH value (4.5) than the others. The other 4 samples of kefir (5%) had pH values above 5. Comparing the kefir grain and the kefir, an increase in the population of Gluconobacter in grain sample B was observed. This was also the case for Acetobacter orientalis in sample D. In relation to 26S pyrosequencing, our study revealed the presence of 3 main yeast species: Naumovozymaspp., Kluyveromyces marxianus, and Kazachastania khefir. For Naumovozyma, further studies are needed to assess the isolation of new species. In conclusion, this study has proved that it is possible to establish the patterns of bacterial and yeast composition of kefir and kefir grain. This was only achieved with the use of high-throughput sequencing techniques. [less ▲]

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See detailShort communication: Novel method to predict body weight of primiparous dairy cows throughout the lactation
Vanrobays, Marie-Laure ULg; Vandenplas, Jérémie ULg; Hammami, Hedi ULg et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2015), 98

Body weight (BW) of dairy cows can be estimated using linear conformation traits (calculated BW; CBW), which are generally recorded only once during a lactation. However, predicted BW (PBW) throughout the ... [more ▼]

Body weight (BW) of dairy cows can be estimated using linear conformation traits (calculated BW; CBW), which are generally recorded only once during a lactation. However, predicted BW (PBW) throughout the lactation would be useful, e.g., at milk-recording dates allowing feed-intake prediction for advisory purposes. Therefore, a 2-step approach was developed to obtain PBW for each milk-recording date. In the first step, a random-regression test-day model was used with CBW as observations to predict PBW. The second step consisted in changing means and (co)variances of prior distributions for the additive genetic random effects of the test-day model by using priors derived from results of the first step to predict again PBW. A total of 25,061 CBW from 24,919 primiparous Holstein cows were computed using equations from literature. Using CBW as observations, PBW was then predicted over the whole lactation for 232,436 dates corresponding to 207,375 milk-recording dates and 25,061 classification dates. Results showed that using both steps (the 2-step approach) provided more accurate predictions than using only the first step (the one-step approach). Based on the results of this preliminary study, BW of dairy cows could be predicted throughout the lactation using this procedure. These predictions could be useful in milk-recording systems to compute traits of interest (e.g., feed-intake prediction). The developed novel method is also flexible because actual direct measurements of BW can also be used together with CBW, the prediction model being able to accommodate different levels of accuracies of used BW phenotypes. [less ▲]

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See detailIntegration of external estimated breeding values and associated reliabilities using correlation among traits and effects
Vandenplas, J.; Colinet, Frédéric ULg; Glorieux, G. et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2015), 98(12), 90449050

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See detailComparison of 3 different variable selection strategies to improve the predictions of fatty acid profile in bovine milk by mid-infrared spectrometry
Soyeurt, Hélène ULg; Brostaux, Yves ULg; Dehareng, Frédéric et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2015), 98(suppl 2), 804

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See detailMilk prolactin response and quarter milk yield after experimental infection with coagulase-negative staphylococci in dairy heifers.
Piccart, K.; Piepers, S.; Verbeke, J. et al

in Journal of dairy science (2015), 98(7), 4593-4600

Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) are the most common bacteria involved in subclinical mastitis in dairy cows. Remarkably, CNS-infected dairy heifers produce more milk than uninfected heifers ... [more ▼]

Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) are the most common bacteria involved in subclinical mastitis in dairy cows. Remarkably, CNS-infected dairy heifers produce more milk than uninfected heifers. Because the lactation hormone prolactin (PRL) is also involved in mammary gland immunity, we investigated the milk PRL response and the mammary quarter milk yield following experimental CNS challenge. Eight healthy Holstein-Friesian heifers in mid-lactation were experimentally infected using a split-udder design with 3 different CNS strains: one Staphylococcus fleurettii (from sawdust bedding) and 2 Staphylococcus chromogenes strains (one isolate from a teat apex, the other isolate from a chronic intramammary infection). Three mammary quarters per heifer were simultaneously inoculated with 1.0x10(6) cfu, whereas the remaining mammary quarter was infused with sterile phosphate-buffered saline, serving as a control. An existing radioimmunoassay was modified, validated, and used to measure PRL frozen-thawed milk at various time points until 78h after challenge. The mean milk PRL level tended to be higher in the CNS-challenged mammary quarters compared with the control mammary quarters (7.56 and 6.85ng/mL, respectively). The increase in PRL over time was significantly greater in the CNS-challenged mammary quarters than in the control mammary quarters. However, no difference was found in the PRL response when comparing each individual CNS strain with the control mammary quarters. The mean mammary quarter milk yield tended to be lower in the CNS-infected mammary quarters than in the control mammary quarters (1.73 and 1.98kg per milking, respectively). The greatest milk loss occurred in the mammary quarters challenged with the intramammary strain of S. chromogenes. Future observational studies are needed to elucidate the relation between PRL, the milk yield, and the inflammatory condition, or infection status, of the mammary gland. [less ▲]

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See detailShort communication: Alteration of priors for random effects in Gaussian linear mixed models
Vandenplas, Jérémie ULg; Christensen, Ole F.; Gengler, Nicolas ULg

in Journal of Dairy Science (2014), 97(9), 5880-5884

Linear mixed models, for which the prior multivariate normal distributions of random effects are assumed to have a mean equal to 0, are commonly used in animal breeding. However, some statistical analyses ... [more ▼]

Linear mixed models, for which the prior multivariate normal distributions of random effects are assumed to have a mean equal to 0, are commonly used in animal breeding. However, some statistical analyses (e.g., the consideration of a population under selection into a genomic scheme breeding, multiple-trait predictions of lactation yields, Bayesian approaches integrating external information into genetic evaluations) need to alter both the mean and (co)variance of the prior distributions and, to our knowledge, most software packages available in the animal breeding community do not permit such alterations. Therefore, the aim of this study was to propose a method to alter both the mean and (co)variance of the prior multivariate normal distributions of random effects of linear mixed models while using currently available software packages. The proposed method was tested on simulated examples with three different software packages available in animal breeding. The examples showed the possibility of the proposed method to alter both the mean and (co)variance of the prior distributions with currently available software packages through the use of an extended data file and a user supplied (co)variance matrix. [less ▲]

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See detailMicrobiota characterization of a protected designation of origin Belgian cheese: Herve cheese, using metagenomic analysis.
Delcenserie, Véronique ULg; Taminiau, Bernard ULg; Delhalle, Laurent ULg et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2014), 97

Herve cheese is a Belgian soft cheese with a washed rind, and is made from raw or pasteurized milk. The specific microbiota of this cheese has never previously been fully explored and the use of raw or ... [more ▼]

Herve cheese is a Belgian soft cheese with a washed rind, and is made from raw or pasteurized milk. The specific microbiota of this cheese has never previously been fully explored and the use of raw or pasteurized milk in addition to starters is assumed to affect the microbiota of the rind and the heart. The aim of the study was to analyze the bacterial microbiota of Herve cheese using classical microbiology and a metagenomic approach based on 16S ribosomal DNA pyrosequencing. Using classical microbiology, the total counts of bacteria were comparable for the 11 samples of tested raw and pasteurized milk cheeses, reaching almost 8 log cfu/g. Using the metagenomic approach, 207 different phylotypes were identified. The rind of both the raw and pasteurized milk cheeses was found to be highly diversified. However, 96.3 and 97.9% of the total microbiota of the raw milk and pasteurized cheese rind, respectively, were composed of species present in both types of cheese, such as Corynebacterium casei, Psychrobacter spp., Lactococcus lactis ssp. cremoris, Staphylococcus equorum, Vagococcus salmoninarum, and other species present at levels below 5%. Brevibacterium linens were present at low levels (0.5 and 1.6%, respectively) on the rind of both the raw and the pasteurized milk cheeses, even though this bacterium had been inoculated during the manufacturing process. Interestingly, Psychroflexus casei, also described as giving a red smear to Raclettetype cheese, was identified in small proportions in the composition of the rind of both the raw and pasteurized milk cheeses (0.17 and 0.5%, respectively). In the heart of the cheeses, the common species of bacteria reached more than 99%. The main species identified were Lactococcus lactis ssp. cremoris, Psychrobacter spp., and Staphylococcus equorum ssp. equorum. Interestingly, 93 phylotypes were present only in the raw milk cheeses and 29 only in the pasteurized milk cheeses, showing the high diversity of the microbiota. Corynebacterium casei and Enterococcus faecalis were more prevalent in the raw milk cheeses, whereas Psychrobacter celer was present in the pasteurized milk cheeses. However, this specific microbiota represented a low proportion of the cheese microbiota. This study demonstrated that Herve cheese microbiota is rich and that pasteurized milk cheeses are microbiologically very close to raw milk cheeses, probably due to the similar manufacturing process. The characterization of the microbiota of this particular protected designation of origin cheese was useful in enabling us to gain a better knowledge of the bacteria responsible for the character of this cheese. [less ▲]

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See detailGenetic variance in micro-environmental sensitivity for milk and milk quality in Walloon Holstein cattle
Vandenplas, Jérémie ULg; Bastin, Catherine ULg; Gengler, Nicolas ULg et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2013), 96

Animals that are robust to environmental changes are desirable in the current dairy industry. Genetic differences in micro-environmental sensitivity can be studied through heterogeneity of residual ... [more ▼]

Animals that are robust to environmental changes are desirable in the current dairy industry. Genetic differences in micro-environmental sensitivity can be studied through heterogeneity of residual variance between animals. However, residual variance between animals is usually assumed homogeneous in traditional genetic evaluations. The aim of this study was to investigate genetic heterogeneity of residual variance by estimating variance components in residual variance for milk yield, somatic cell score, contents in milk (g/dL) of two groups of milk fatty acids (i.e. saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids) and the content in milk of one individual fatty acid (i.e. the oleic acid, C18:1 cis-9), for first-parity Holstein cows in the Walloon Region of Belgium. A total of 146,027 test-day records from 26,887 cows in 747 herds were available. All cows had at least three records and had a known sire. These sires had at least 10 cows with records and each herd x test-day had at least five cows. The five traits were analyzed separately based on fixed lactation curve and random regression test-day models for the mean. Estimation of variance components was performed by running iteratively Expectation Maximization-Restricted Maximum Likelihood algorithm by the implementation of double hierarchical generalized linear models. Based on fixed lactation curve test-day mean models, heritability for residual variances ranged between 1.01*10-3 and 4.17*10-3 for all traits. The genetic standard deviation in residual variance (i.e. approximately the genetic coefficient of variation of residual variance) ranged between 0.12 and 0.17. Therefore, some genetic variance in micro-environmental sensitivity existed in the Walloon Holstein dairy cattle for the five studied traits. The standard deviations due to herd x test-day and permanent environment in residual variance ranged between 0.36 and 0.45 for herd x test-day effect and between 0.55 and 0.97 for permanent environmental effect. Therefore, non-genetic effects also contributed substantially to the micro-environmental sensitivity. Results also showed that the addition of random regressions to the mean model did not reduce heterogeneity in residual variance and that genetic heterogeneity of residual variance was not simply an effect of an incomplete mean model. [less ▲]

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See detailDirect use of MACE EBV in the Walloon single-step Bayesian genomic evaluation system
Vandenplas, Jérémie ULg; Colinet, Frédéric ULg; Faux, Pierre ULg et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2013, July), 96(E-Supplement),

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See detailEvaluation of Heat Stress Effects on Production Traits and Somatic Cell Score of Holsteins in a Temperate Environment
Hammami, Hedi ULg; Bormann, Jeanne; M'Hamdi, Naceur et al

in Journal of Dairy Science (2013), 96(3), 1844-1855

This study was aimed to evaluate the degree of thermal stress exhibited by Holsteins under a continental temperate climate. Milk, fat, protein, and somatic cell count test-day records collected between ... [more ▼]

This study was aimed to evaluate the degree of thermal stress exhibited by Holsteins under a continental temperate climate. Milk, fat, protein, and somatic cell count test-day records collected between 2000 and 2011 from 23,963 cows in 604 herds were combined with meteorological data from 14 public weather stations in Luxembourg. Daily values of six different thermal indices (TI) weighted in term of temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, and wind speed were calculated by averaging hourly TI over 24 hours. Heat stress thresholds were firstly identified by a broken-line regression model. Regression models were thereafter applied to quantify milk production losses due to heat stress. The tipping points at which milk and protein yields declined were effectively identified. For fat yield, no valid threshold was identified for any of the studied TI. Daily fat yields tended to decrease steadily with increasing values of TI. Daily somatic cell scores (SCS) pattern was marked by increased values at both lowest and highest TI ranges with a more pronounced reaction to cold stress for apparent temperature indices. Thresholds differed between TI and traits. For production traits, they ranged from 62 (TI1) to 80 (TI3) for temperature-humidity indices (THI) and from 16 (TI5) to 20 (TI6) for apparent temperature indices. Corresponding SCS thresholds were higher and ranged from 66 (TI1) to 82 (TI3) and from 20 (TI5) to 23 (TI6), respectively. The largest milk decline per unit of mild, moderate, and extreme heat stress levels of 0.164, 0.356, and 0.955 kg, respectively, was observed when using the conventional THI (TI1). The highest yearly milk, fat, and protein losses of 54, 5.7, and 4.2 kg respectively were detected by TI2, the THI index that is adjusted for wind speed and solar radiation. The latter index could be considered as the best indicator of heat stress to be used for forecast and herd management in a first step in temperate regions under anticipated climate changes. [less ▲]

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