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ARS Home » Plains Area » Mandan, North Dakota » Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory » Research » Research Project #441669

Research Project: Does a Diverse Plant Diet for Cattle Improve the Healthfulness of Grass-fed Beef for People

Location: Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory

Project Number: 3064-21600-001-005-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Nov 1, 2021
End Date: Oct 31, 2024

1. Determine if consumption of grass-fed beef from cattle that ate a plant species diverse diet elicits more healthful inflammatory and metabolite profiles in adults that grass-fed beef from cattle that ate a monoculture grass diet. 2. Translate information from the research to producers and consumers.

Diet composition: we will quantify plant species in the diet of the grass-fed cattle for about three months before slaughter. Chemical composition of beef sources – vitamin and mineral derivatives, fatty acids, organic acids, phenolics, xenobiotics, and bioactives – will be determined via untargeted metabolomics and overlaid with the serum and gut microbiome metabolome of participants to directly establish the impact of phytochemical richness of the meat on the human metabolome. Human Intervention Trial Subjects: Twenty (N=20) middle-aged adults (35-65 years) off all races and ethnicities will participate in this study. Inclusion criteria: body mass index =25 and <35.0 kg/m2; weight stable (±4.5 kg); and consistent physical activity levels. Exclusion criteria: use of tobacco products; medications that can affect inflammation; and/or evidence of disease (e.g., diabetes, impaired kidney function, cancer, etc.). Intervention: We will use a randomized, double-blind, cross-over design. Subjects will consume each source of beef (diverse vs. monoculture) as part of a controlled diet for 21-days with a 7-day washout period in between different meats, where subjects are allowed to consume foods in a self-selected unrestricted eating pattern. The 21-day interventional diets will be identical in all other foods (fruits, vegetables, grains etc.) and only differ in the source of beef consumed during this time. Plasma and stool samples will be taken in the morning after an overnight fast prior to- and after both dietary interventions. Analyses: Concentrations of 20 plasma inflammatory biomarkers will be measured by multiplex electro-chemiluminescence. 16s rRNA gene sequencing of stool samples will be used for taxonomic profiling of the gut microbiome. Serum and gut metabolites will be determined via untargeted metabolomics. Change scores (post – baseline) will be created for inflammatory markers and metabolites. Partial Least Square Discriminant Analysis (PLS-DA) of metabolomics data will be used to provide unbiased, in-depth insight into the metabolic activity of participants after the ingestion of the specific beef sources.