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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Cell Wall Biology and Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #375918

Research Project: Improving Utilization of Forages in Integrated Dairy Production Systems to Enhance Sustainable Farming Systems and Food Security

Location: Cell Wall Biology and Utilization Research

Title: Brisket disease is associated with lower VFA production and altered rumen microbiome in Holstein heifers

item NARENGAOWA, FNU - China Agricultural University
item Panke-Buisse, Kevin
item WANG, SHUXIANG - Qinghai University
item CAO, ZHIJUN - China Agricultural University
item WANG, YAJING - China Agricultural University
item YAO, KUN - Xinjiang Agricultural University
item LI, SHENGLI - China Agricultural University

Submitted to: Animals
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/22/2020
Publication Date: 9/22/2020
Citation: Narengaowa, F., Panke-Buisse, K., Wang, S., Cao, Z., Wang, Y., Yao, K., Li, S. 2020. Brisket disease is associated with lower VFA production and altered rumen microbiome in Holstein heifers. Animals. 10(9). Article 1712.

Interpretive Summary: The process of producing more food while reducing environmental impact has become a global challenge and requires what has been referred to as “sustainable intensification” of global agricultural production. High altitude environments (1,500-3,500m), can create physiological challenges due to the low atmospheric pressure and oxygen availability. Bovine brisket disease, or high mountain disease, which is initiated by high altitude pulmonary hypertension (HAPH), could affect 3 to 25 percent of cattle transported from low to high altitudes and cause financial losses to farmers. High-altitude environments can impair rumen fermentation and elevate the basal metabolic rate of Holstein cows, but the rumen activity and microbiome associated with brisket disease are not well understood.

Technical Abstract: High-altitude plateau environments can affect the performance and health of dairy cattle and can result in brisket disease, or bovine pulmonary hypertension. Brisket disease is heritable, but is also associated with non-genetic risk factors, and effects of the disease on the rumen microbiome are unknown. In this study, Holstein heifers were transported from 1,027 m altitude to a 3,658 m altitude and exposed to the plateau environment for three months. Ten of them were selected and divided into two groups according to the index of brisket disease, the mean pulmonary arterial pressure (mPAP): brisket disease group (BD, n=5, mPAP > 63 mmHg) and healthy heifer group (HH, n=5, mPAP < 41 mmHg). Rumen fluid was collected for volatile fatty acids (VFAs) analysis. Extracted DNA from rumen contents was analyzed using Illumina MiSeq 16S rRNA sequencing technology. The concentrations of total VFAs were significantly lower in the BD group (P < 0.01). Alpha-diversity metrics including bacterial richness and diversity were lower in the BD heifers than the HH group (P < 0.05). Ruminococcus and Treponema were the predominant genera (abundance > 1%) and significantly decreased in BD heifers (P < 0.05). Correlation analysis indicated that 10 genera were related to the mPAP (P < 0.05). Among them, genera of Anaerofustis, Campylobacter, and Catonella were negatively correlated with total VFA and acetic acid (R < -0.7, P < 0.05), while genera of Blautia, YRC22, Ruminococcus, and Treponema were positively related to total VFA and acetic acid (R > 0.7; P < 0.05). The rumen bacterial community of Holstein heifers exhibiting high-altitude induced bovine brisket disease showed significant changes when compared to healthy heifers at the same altitude. Changes in genera Anaerofustis, Campylobacter, Catonella, Blautia, YRC22, Ruminococcus, and Treponema may influence total rumen VFA production in heifers suffering from brisket disease.