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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Livestock Behavior Research

2012 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Objective 1: Identify physiological, immunological, endocrinological and gastrointestinal-microbiological alterations which occur in infected livestock when subjected to common managerial stressors. Objective 2: Understand how handling and transportation stress influence livestock pathogens, such as, Salmonella and Campylobacter, which have the potential to detrimentally affect human health.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
We will subject livestock to both mixing and transportation and collect behavioral, physiologic, immunologic, endocrine, and bacterial data. The behavior data will include: agonistic encounters, loss of balance, vomiting, standing, lying, stereotypic behavior, and any other abnormal behaviors (i.e. shaking, jumping, etc). The physiologic, immunologic, and endocrine data will include: heart rate, body temperature, cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, immune cell populations, interferon-gamma, interleukin-1, interleukin-12, haptoglobin, alpha 1-acid glycoprotien, and immunoglobulins. The bacterial data will include: DGGE pattern, total aerobes, anaerobes, Enterobacteriaceae counts, and the proportion of antimicrobial resistant Enterobacteriaceae in different compartments of the gastrointestinal tract and in mesenteric lymph nodes. Analysis of these collective data will allow for identification of key processes that create high pathogen loads at slaughter plants. Our approach is a strategy that will 1) use a novel technique to monitor the progression of infection of stressed swine, 2) study the influence of mammalian stress hormones on bacteria, and 3) determine physiologically how a dietary supplement can impair bacterial infection. All three of these approaches will provide novel information on how stress influences bacterial pathogens.

3. Progress Report:
This fiscal year a preliminary study was completed that determined that cranberry products (juice or supplement added to dry feeds) were acceptable for weanling pigs. We used both consumption and behavioral measures to determine that the pigs readily consumed cranberry juice and that the cranberry fiber did not inhibit feed consumption. Additional collaborations were obtained to utilize another cranberry powder (DECAS) in dry feeds and to analyze the supplements and feeds for active compounds. The heat stress studies of dairy calves were completed.

4. Accomplishments
1. Piglet acceptance of cranberry juice and as a supplement in dry feed. Because weaning is a stressful time due to changing diets and environments, methods are needed to promote early development of intestinal populations, while keeping pathogenic bacteria from becoming invasive. Cranberry products have shown potential to reduce colonization by pathogens without harming the microbial populations necessary for digestive processes. ARS researchers at the Livestock Behavior Research Unit in West Lafayette, IN completed a study to determine the palatability and acceptance of a cranberry pumice dry feed additive or cranberry juice. Two preference tests were conducted; one tested juice consumption, the other tested supplements in dry feed. The dry supplement was added to weaning pig feeds. The cranberry juice was tested at 1 and 10% of cranberry juice (Marshall Ingredients). Consumption and behaviors were measured. Cranberry juice (10%) was consumed more readily than water or than the 1% cranberry juice. The dry feeds were consumed equally. Results of this study support the use of cranberry products as a liquid (10%) or as fiber (4%) added to dry feed. Consequently, cranberry products will be used in follow-up research to determine their efficiency as microbial and immune modulators in young pigs to decrease enteric disease at weaning.

Last Modified: 05/25/2017
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