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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Nutrition, Growth and Physiology » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #383497

Research Project: Improve Nutrient Management and Efficiency of Beef Cattle and Swine

Location: Nutrition, Growth and Physiology

Title: Non-invasive metabolomics biomarkers of production efficiency and beef carcass quality traits

item Artegoitia Etchev, Virginia
item Newman, John
item FOOTE, ANDREW - Oklahoma State University
item Shackelford, Steven
item King, David - Andy
item Wheeler, Tommy
item LEWIS, RONALD - University Of Nebraska
item Freetly, Harvey

Submitted to: Scientific Reports
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/13/2021
Publication Date: 1/7/2022
Citation: Artegoitia, V.M., Newman, J.W., Foote, A.P., Shackelford, S.D., King, D.A., Wheeler, T.L., Lewis, R.M., Freetly, H.C. 2022. Non-invasive metabolomics biomarkers of production efficiency and beef carcass quality traits. Scientific Reports. 12. Article 231.

Interpretive Summary: Animals differ in their growth rates. Growth rate is dictated by the regulation of many physiological processes making their metabolites potential markers to identify animals that will have superior or inferior growth rates. A non-invasive approach for sample collection combined with non-targeted and targeted metabolomics was investigated as a method to predict growth. Urine samples were collected from steers when they were fed a high-forage growing diet and when they were fed a high-grain finishing diet. Mass spectrometry was used to identify urine metabolites that correlated with differences in growth. Overall, 85 metabolites segregated between the steers classified as having the least or greatest average daily body weight gain. From the 85 metabolites, 18 bile acids and five steroids were quantified and associated with growth and carcass quality.

Technical Abstract: The inter-cattle growth variations stem from the interaction of many metabolic processes making animal selection difficult. We hypothesized that growth could be predicted using metabolomics. Urinary biomarkers of cattle feed efficiency were explored using mass spectrometry-based untargeted and targeted metabolomics. Feed intake and weight-gain was measured in steers (n=75) on forage-based growing rations (stage-1, 84 d) followed by high-concentrate finishing rations (stage-2, 84 d). Urine from days 0, 21, 42, 63, and 83 in each stage were analyzed from steers with the greater (n = 14) and least (n = 14) average-daily-gain (ADG) and comparable dry-matter-intake (DMI; within 0.32 SD of the mean). Steers were slaughtered after stage-2. Adjusted fat-thickness and carcass-yield-grade increased in greater-ADG-cattle selected in stage-1, but carcass traits did not differ between ADG-selected in stage-2. Overall 85 untargeted metabolites segregated greater- and least-ADG animals, with overlap across diets (both stages) and breed type, despite sampling time effects. Total 18- bile acids (BA) and 5-steroids were quantified and associated with performance and carcass quality across ADG-classification depending on the stage. Stepwise logistic regression of urinary BA and steroids had >90% accuracy identifying efficient-ADG-steers. Urine metabolomics provides new insight into the physiological mechanisms and potential biomarkers for feed efficiency.