Cow Gut DNA Study Finds Bugs that Could Up Meat and Milk Yields – Drovers Magazine

Cutting-edge DNA technologies have discovered thousands of bugs in cows’ stomachs that could improve meat and dairy production, and keep cattle healthy.

The findings build the clearest picture yet of how the microbes in a cow’s rumen – the first of its four stomachs – help cattle to digest, and extract energy from, their food.

Researchers from SRUC, the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute and the Rowett Institute at the University of Aberdeen analysed the rumen contents of hundreds of cows and discovered thousands of bacteria, as well as archaea – a separate group of single-celled organism.

Pinpointing which microbes are essential for livestock wellbeing and food production could inform future breeding programmes.

These microbes enable cattle, and other ruminants, to convert plants and low-value products that humans cannot eat into food with high nutritional value, such as meat, milk and cheese.

The microscopic organisms provide cattle with nutrients and energy, contribute to the animals’ health and, as a bi-product, release methane which is a concern for global warming.

The latest research follows on from a study by the same team last year, in which DNA data from 42 cows was analysed. Until this study, the diverse mix of bacteria and archaea that live in the rumen was poorly understood. Scientists had been unable to link DNA analysis to food digestion, animal health and greenhouse gas emissions.

The team used the latest DNA technologies, including a handheld sequencing device that can quickly generate DNA data that is incredibly long and detailed. This allowed the researchers to completely sequence the genomes, from beginning to end, of several new bacterial species.

They studied samples from 283 cows, identified almost 5,000 new strains of microbe and more than 2,000 novel species – microbes that previously no-one knew existed.

Hundreds of thousands of novel enzymes, whose instructions are encoded in the DNA, may have potential uses as biofuels, or in the biotechnology industries. By analysing their genetic information, the team pinpointed previously unknown enzymes that can extract energy and nutrition from plant material.

The study is published in the journal, Nature Biotechnology.

Rainer Roehe, Professor of Animal Genetics and Microbiome at SRUC, said: “We’ve identified some 5,000 novel genomes of microbial species in the rumen that all play a vital role. Not only do they enhance breeding and nutrition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cattle, they also improve production efficiency, product quality and animal health.”

Professor Mick Watson, Head of Genetics and Genomics at The Roslin Institute, said: “The cow rumen is a gift that keeps on giving. We were surprised by how many completely new microbes we have discovered, which is far more than in our previous study. The findings will inform studies of cow health and meat and dairy production for many years to come.”

For more on the cattle microbiome and the role of microbes in animal health, see these articles from BovineVetOnline:

Dissecting the Microbiome

Nursing Could Benefit Microbiome, Vaccine Response

USDA Funds Study of Plant and Animal Phenomics and Microbiomes

Encourage the “Good Bugs”

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Understanding cattle nasal microbes may aid disease prevention – Feedstuffs

New research led by academics in the veterinary and medical schools at the University of Bristol in the U.K. used the “One Health” approach to study three bacterial species in the noses of young cattle and found that the carriage of the bacteria was surprisingly different.

The findings — combined ideas and methods from both animal and human health research — could help prevent and control respiratory diseases, the announcement said.

Cattle, like people, harbor a wide range of bacteria in their noses: microbes that are normally present and probably necessary for health, like those that live in the gut, the researchers said. However, some species of these bacteria do cause serious illness at times, particularly when infection becomes established in the lower respiratory tract within the lungs.

In an open-access paper published Aug. 16 in Scientific Reports, the researchers investigated the patterns of acquiring and clearing these microbes in healthy young cattle, which have not previously been studied in detail.

The research team took nasal swabs at intervals during the first year of life to detect the presence and measure the abundance of microbes using a DNA-detection technique called quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) that targeted genes found in three bacterial species well known for their ability to cause respiratory disease in cattle: Histophilus somni, Mannheimia haemolytica and Pasteurella multocida.

The researchers found that the carriage patterns of the three bacteria differed remarkably, the university said.

According to the researchers:

  • Pasteurella was found in most of the animals — usually in large numbers — and the bacteria stayed in the nose for weeks or months.
  • Histophilus was present in up to half the animals — usually in smaller numbers — and the periods it was present were shorter.
  • Mannheimia was rarely found, although the numbers detected, when present, varied widely.

These differences are of interest because the numbers of bacteria and their duration of carriage are likely to influence their spread among healthy cattle and the likelihood of causing severe respiratory disease, the researchers said.

“These techniques and results offer a way forward in understanding why and how apparently healthy cattle harboring these bacteria may go on to develop respiratory illness and should help in finding new ways to prevent it,” said Amy Thomas, lead author who carried out the research as part of her doctoral studies in clinical veterinary science at the University of Bristol.

Professor Mark Eisler, co-author and chair in Global Farm Animal Health at the Bristol Vet School, added, “These studies are particularly important because cattle are known to contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, and improving how their diseases are controlled will help mitigate climate change. Also, reducing the use of antimicrobials that treat respiratory diseases in cattle should help reduce the increasing global threat of antimicrobial resistance in animals and humans.”

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Scientists want to mass-produce seaweed that stops cows burping methane – CNET

seaweedscientist

University of the Sunshine Coast Associate Professor Nicholas Paul holds up a container of the pink seaweed Asparagopsis.


University of the Sunshine Coast

In 2014, Australia’s national science agency CSIRO discovered that by adding the pink seaweed Asparagopsis to a cow’s diet, it reduces the amount of the gas produced by the cow up to 99 per cent.

Now scientists want to farm Asparagopsis on a large scale to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions — and the world’s.

University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) Associate Professor Nicholas Paul said if enough pink seaweed was grown it could help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Australia by an impressive 10 percent, according to ABC news on Wednesday.

“When added to cow feed at less than two percent of the dry matter, this particular seaweed completely knocks out methane production,” Paul said in a statement on Wednesday. “It contains chemicals that reduce the microbes in the cows’ stomachs that cause them to burp when they eat grass.”

The USC team headed by Paul is currently working at the Bribie Island Research Centre in Moreton Bay, Australia to learn more about how to grow the pink seaweed species to better figure out a solution to scale-up of production of the seaweed.

The best way to increase the pink seaweed supply is to find the fastest way to grow it outside of a lab.

“We know the chemical composition of Asparagopsis and we know the chemical compounds, so now we want to maximize the concentration of that chemical so we can use less seaweed for the same effect,” USC Seaweed Research Group project scientist Ana Wegner said in a video about the discovery. 

“If we’re able to work out how to scale up the seaweed to become at a level that can feed all of the cows and the sheep and the goats around the world then it’s going to have a huge impact on the climate,” Paul said in the video. 

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This Tasty Seaweed Reduces Cow Emissions by 99%—and It Could Soon Be a Climate Gamechanger – Good News Network

A puffy pink seaweed that can stop cows from burping out methane is being primed for mass farming by Australian researchers.

The particular seaweed species, called Asparagopsis, grows prolifically off the Queensland Coast, and was the only seaweed found to have the effect in a study five years ago led by CSIRO. Even a small amount of the seaweed in a cow’s diet was shown to reduce the animal’s gases by 99%.

Associate Professor Nick Paul, who is the leader of the Seaweed Research Group at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), said that if Australia could grow enough of the seaweed for every cow in the nation, the country could cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 10%.

“Seaweed is something that cows are known to eat. They will actually wander down to the beach and have a bit of a nibble,” Dr. Paul said.

RELATED: Student Treks to Yellowstone and Finds Bacteria That Eats Pollution and ‘Breathes’ Electricity

“When added to cow feed at less than 2% of the dry matter, this particular seaweed completely knocks out methane production. It contains chemicals that reduce the microbes in the cows’ stomachs that cause them to burp when they eat grass.”

The USC team is working at the Bribie Island Research Centre in Moreton Bay to learn more about how to grow the seaweed species, with the goal of informing a scale-up of production that could supplement cow feed on a national—and even global scale.

Photo by USC

“This seaweed has caused a lot of global interest and people around the world are working to make sure the cows are healthy, the beef and the milk are good quality,” Dr. Paul said.

“That’s all happening right now. But the one missing step, the big thing that is going to make sure this works at a global scale, is to make sure we can produce the seaweed sustainably.

LOOK: Trees Growing Out of Buildings Could Help Heal China’s Air Pollution Problem

“If we’re able to work out how to scale up the seaweed to such a level to that can feed all of the cows and the sheep and the goats around the world, then it’s going to have a huge impact on the climate; it’s going to address a whole lot of carbon-neutral agendas that different countries have; and it’s ultimately going to save us all billions of dollars,” he concluded.

This article was reprinted from the University of the Sunshine Coast.

(WATCH the intriguing interview with Dr. Paul below)

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Failing to Hold Violent 'Cow Protectors' to Account in India – Human Rights Watch

Irshad Khan holds a picture of his father, Pehlu Khan. Irshad, his brother, his father, and two others were attacked by members of a cow protection group while transporting cattle from Rajasthan to Haryana in 2017. Pehlu Khan was killed in the attack. 


© 2017 Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

Over two years after a mob killed a Muslim dairy farmer, no one has been held accountable for his death. Authorities in India are failing to properly investigate people responsible for a violent campaign against those engaged in the cattle trade or who consume beef.

On August 14, a court in Rajasthan acquitted all men on trial of killing a Muslim dairy farmer, Pehlu Khan, saying there were serious lapses in investigation. Khan, 55, and four others, were stopped by a mob in Alwar district in April 2017 as they were legally transporting cows. They were brutally beaten in an attack that was filmed on a mobile phone and widely shared on social media. Khan died two days later from his injuries.

Since 2014, at least 50 people, mostly Muslims, have been killed in similar attacks. Dalits, so-called untouchables, have also been targeted because they handle animal carcasses and leather. The government has promised justice for these hate crimes, but Khan’s case highlights many findings of a Human Rights Watch report that police stall investigations, ignore procedures, file criminal cases against witnesses to harass and intimidate them, and even cover up to protect perpetrators.

For instance, instead of filing a case against Khan’s attackers, police immediately proceeded against the victims, including Khan, who was fatally injured, and his sons, accusing them of smuggling cows. Police discarded Khan’s dying declaration in which he named alleged perpetrators – some of whom were allegedly linked with Hindu militant organizations affiliated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. The judgment said the investigating officer did not present to court details from that investigation. Instead, based on video evidence, the police accused other men. However, as the judgment noted, the police did not conduct a test identification parade, a legal procedure in which witnesses and victims are asked to identify an offender from a line-up of individuals. The court also noted that police failure to seize the mobile phone from which they got the video of the attack showed serious negligence of the investigating officer.

Two other accused are being separately prosecuted by a juvenile court. The state government has said that it will appeal the verdict.

In July 2018, India’s Supreme Court issued a series of directives for “preventive, remedial and punitive” measures to address “lynching” – the term used in India for killing by a mob. As the Khan case shows, authorities have yet to comply with the court’s directives.

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Video: Rescuers Save Cow From Water-Filled Trench | PETA – PETA

A harrowing day had a happy ending for one sweet bovine, thanks to a team of rescuers who refused to give up.

Indian animal rescue organization Animal Rahat (“rahat” means “relief”) was called to help a cow who had fallen into a 15-foot-deep, water-filled concrete gutter. She was terrified and possibly injured. A veterinarian with the group—which often works closely with PETA India—and three other staff members quickly gathered their gear and rushed to the scene.

A crowd had gathered around the distressed cow and her worried guardian, but no one had managed to pull her safely out of the trench. The Animal Rahat team contacted firefighters, who arrived with a steel ladder, and the cow’s guardian quickly climbed down. But he had barely made it into the water when a floating piece of glass cut his leg and became embedded in his skin. With the guardian now in need of treatment himself, a member of the Animal Rahat team jumped into the gutter and took over.

It took 30 minutes, but the team was able to locate a crane, position a series of ropes around the frightened cow’s body, and, finally, slowly lift her back onto dry land. The careful, determined rescue was all caught on video:

[embedded content]

Asking the cheering crowd to disperse so that they could calm their distressed patient, the team rubbed and petted the cow to comfort her while the vet treated her for a cut to one of her legs and an abrasion below her eye. After a terrifying day, she was ready to go home to a hearty meal and her bovine best friend.

A few days later, when the cow and her guardian were both on the mend, they had some special visitors: the Animal Rahat team. Her ordeal over and her wounds healing, the grateful animal seemed to remember the people who had saved her life.

Please, never ignore an animal who is injured or in danger—you may be his or her only chance of survival. If you need help and authorities or animal control won’t provide it, please contact PETA.

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Impact of US trade war on Idaho dairy farmers – 6 On Your Side

KUNA, Idaho — The dairy industry is struggling in the United States — especially since the beginning of the U.S. trade war. To help alleviate some of the struggle, the feds announced they would be giving

$24 million

to Idaho farmers, but those farmers say that money doesn’t even begin to cover what they’ve lost.

The U.S. trade war began after President Trump launched investigations into trading affairs with other countries. Trump said the investigations revealed that China was engaging in unfair trading practices, and because of that, he announced he would be putting tariffs on certain products imported to the U.S. from China.

China retaliated by placing tariffs on items imported to China from the U.S. — dairy products are one of those items.

Those taking the direct impact, are dairy farmers; including Ted Vander Schaaf, a Kuna dairy farmer who has been running his dairy for twenty years, today.

“The economy is running at a pretty high pace right now. Construction is flying, especially in Southern Idaho here, and you see a lot of guys moving and getting a lot of things done right now. Unfortunately agriculture, we’re like almost in a recession right now, its not been good for a while.”

Vander Schaaf referenced the Great Recession; from that point, the dairy industry, just like everyone else, tried to climb out of the financial mess they were left in.

“(20)14 we had a really good year,” said Vander Schaaf.

Then, Russia imposed an embargo on agricultural products from Europe, which pushed more agricultural products into the rest of the world, creating greater supply than demand.

“Into (20)15, milk prices dropped pretty hard. (20)15 was softening, (20)16 was soft, (20)17 was not real great, and so we’ve been on like a 4 year slide as it is,” said Vander Schaaf.

Then into 2018, the trade war begins, after President Trump launched those investigations into trading affairs with other countries and placed tariffs on Chinese imports, which was followed by the retaliatory tariffs China placed on U.S. imports, including dairy products.

That means the United States has to pay more to export dairy products to China, which means the products are more expensive when they hit the shelves. Because of that, Chinese people buy less of the product, which pushes dairy products back into the U.S., creating a greater supply here.

“We’re exporting 15 percent or so of our national dairy products overseas and so we are impacted by trade wars,” said Vander Schaaf.

And it’s not just China, but Mexico as well. The two countries are the largest exporters for dairy.

So from there, the decline in revenue for the dairy industry began. Then recently, to help alleviate those financial losses, the United States Department of Agriculture announced they would be paying

$24 million to Idaho farms and dairies

.

“It’s only going to make up maybe a half a percent of that shortfall or one percent. I’m still sitting here with 15 percent of a problem, you know, that I don’t know how to make up,” said Vander Schaaf.

Vander Schaaf said he is hopeful that the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, once finalized, will create more balanced trade, at least with those countries.

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Cow gut study finds bugs that could up yields – Phys.org

cow eat
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Cutting-edge DNA technologies have discovered thousands of bugs in cows’ stomachs that could improve meat and dairy production, and keep cattle healthy.

The findings build the clearest picture yet of how the microbes in a cow’s rumen—the first of its four stomachs—help cattle to digest, and extract energy from, their food.

Researchers analyzed the rumen contents of hundreds of cows and discovered thousands of bacteria, as well as archaea—a separate group of single-celled organism. Pinpointing which microbes are essential for livestock wellbeing and food production could inform future breeding programs.

These microbes enable cattle, and other ruminants, to convert plants and low-value products that humans cannot eat into food with high nutritional value, such as meat, milk and cheese.

Global Warming

The microscopic organisms provide cattle with nutrients and energy, contribute to the animals’ health and, as a bi-product, release methane which is a concern for global warming.

The latest research follows on from a study by the same team last year, in which DNA data from 42 cows was analyzed. Until this study, the diverse mix of bacteria and archaea that live in the rumen was poorly understood. Scientists had been unable to link DNA analysis to food digestion, animal health and greenhouse gas emissions.

The team used the latest DNA technologies, including a handheld sequencing device that can quickly generate DNA data that is incredibly long and detailed. This allowed the researchers to completely sequence the genomes, from beginning to end, of several new bacterial species.

New Strains

They studied samples from 283 cows, identified almost 5,000 new strains of microbe and more than 2,000 novel species—microbes that previously no-one knew existed.

Hundreds of thousands of novel enzymes, whose instructions are encoded in the DNA, may have potential uses as biofuels, or in the biotechnology industries. By analyzing their genetic information, the team pinpointed previously unknown enzymes that can extract energy and nutrition from plant material.

The study was carried out by researchers at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute, in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and the Rowett Institute at the University of Aberdeen. It is published in the journal, Nature Biotechnology.

“The cow rumen is a gift that keeps on giving. We were surprised by how many completely new microbes we have discovered, which is far more than in our previous study. The findings will inform studies of cow health and meat and dairy production for many years to come,” says Professor Mick Watson, Head of genetics and genomics at The Roslin Institute.

“We’ve identified some 5,000 novel genomes of microbial species in the rumen that all play a vital role. Not only do they enhance breeding and nutrition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cattle, they also improve production efficiency, product quality and animal health,” says Professor Rainer Roehe, professor of animal genetics and microbiome at SRUC.


Explore further

DNA study of cow stomachs could aid meat and dairy production


More information:
Robert D. Stewart et al. Compendium of 4,941 rumen metagenome-assembled genomes for rumen microbiome biology and enzyme discovery, Nature Biotechnology (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41587-019-0202-3

Provided by
University of Edinburgh

Citation:
Cow gut study finds bugs that could up yields (2019, August 13)
retrieved 13 August 2019
from https://phys.org/news/2019-08-cow-gut-bugs-yields.html

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part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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Motorcyclist killed in crash with cow on S. Oregon highway, troopers say – OregonLive

A motorcyclist died after hitting a cow on a southern Oregon highway early Monday, troopers say.

The Oregon State Police said Stephen Coolidge, 57, of Jacksonville hit the cow while traveling west on Oregon 238 in the Medford area.

The cow was also killed, troopers said.

The highway was closed for more than two hours. Authorities initially responded about 3:20 a.m.

— Jim Ryan; jryan@oregonian.com; 503-221-8005; @Jimryan015

Visit subscription.oregonlive.com/newsletters to get Oregonian/OregonLive journalism delivered to your email inbox.

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Cow deaths: toxic materialfound in viscera samples? – The Hindu

Veterinary officials who collected viscera, water and fodder samples from the dead cows at Sree Vijayawada Gosamrakshana Sangam, reportedly found some toxic material.

Doctors who performed postmortem on the dead cows have concluded that the deaths did not occur due to excess food consumption as expected, and the cows died due to presence of some toxic material.

A farmer, Y. Gopala Reddy of Sunkireddypalem village in Prakasam district is supplying green grass to Gosala twice a day. On Saturday, seven tonnes of grass was sent to Gosala on trucks.

Police said that 86 cows and a few calves died and 15 more fell sick after consuming fodder in the Gosala in the wee hours on Saturday.

Committee members under scanner

Vijayawada Gosamrakshana Sangam has 38 committee members and 300 general body members, headed by president Gopisetty Mallaiah, Suresh Kumar Jain, vice-president and Saboo Govind Singh, general secretary. The Sangam is also maintaining Gosalas in other places in the city, including at Kothur Tadepalli village. “The committee is running the Gosalas by collecting funds from donors. We are inquiring the activities of the committee members,” the police said.

Police, who clarified that there was no section under IPC for suspicious deaths of cattle, are waiting for the Regional Forensic Science Laboratory (RFSL) report in the case. If the forensic officials confirm that there was a conspiracy and the cows were poisoned, police will come into action.

Interestingly, Animal Husbandry Department officials, who are tight lipped over the cause of deaths, gave a non-commital response that police are investigating the tragedy.

Officials are focussing on the internal dissidents in Sree Vijayawada Gosamrakshana Sangam, which could be one of the reasons for killing cows. Police said there were no CCTVs in and around the Gosala.

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