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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Davis, California » Western Human Nutrition Research Center » Immunity and Disease Prevention Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #402733

Research Project: Impact of Diet on Intestinal Microbiota, Gut Health and Immune Function

Location: Immunity and Disease Prevention Research

Title: Increasing fiber in dairy cow feed is associated with altered milk composition which may support a more beneficial milk microbial community for cows and humans

item Coates, Laurynne
item DURHAM, SIERRA - University Of California, Davis
item Storms, David
item Magnuson, Andrew
item Van Hekken, Diane
item Plumier, Benjamin
item Finley, John
item Fukagawa, Naomi
item Tomasula, Peggy
item Lemay, Danielle
item Picklo, Matthew
item BARILE, DANIELA - University Of California, Davis
item Kalscheur, Kenneth
item Kable, Mary

Submitted to: Current Developments in Nutrition
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/3/2023
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: A sustainable cattle diet comprised of elevated forages was fed to dairy cows. Raw milk samples were collected and analyzed to understand the impacts of a high forage (high fiber) diet on the milk composition and microbiota. Several milk branched chain fatty acids and several milk oligosaccharides were increased with the high fiber diet. These compounds promote health in humans. Meanwhile potential commensal microbes and microbes associated with fiber consumption in mammalian guts were enriched with a high fiber diet, and microbes associated with mastitis and spoilage were depleted with the fiber diet. There were congruent associations among the branched chain fatty acids and the milk microbes altered with the high fiber diet. Fatty acids can have antibacterial effects therefore changes in there abundance may have partially contributed to the fiber-related changes in the milk microbiota. On the other hand, there were incongruent associations among the milk oligosaccharides and milk microbes altered with the high fiber diet. This suggests that milk oligosaccharides might not serve as prebiotics in the mammary tissue, as they have been shown to serve as prebiotics in the human gut. To our knowledge, associations among the milk microbial composition, fatty acids, and glycans have not been reported in healthy lactating cows. Our results suggest a high forage (high fiber) diet may be beneficial for the mammary health of dairy cows and the health of humans consuming the milk.

Technical Abstract: Objectives: Dairy cow diets with predominantly ruminant digestible forages (fibers) and low quantities of grain crops could help improve agriculture sustainability. Therefore, we examined how a high fiber feed can affect the composition of microbes detected in bovine milk and how those microbes correlate with mammary inflammation, milk glycans and milk fatty acids. Methods: In a cross-over design, Holstein dairy cows were fed a high fiber/low starch diet and a low fiber/high starch diet in consecutive interventions of 10-weeks each. The 16S rRNA V4-V5 gene region was sequenced from raw milk samples collected at baseline and during each intervention. Milk fatty acids (MFAs) were measured by gas chromatography with flame ionization detection, lactose abundance by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and milk oligosaccharides (MOs) by liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry. Differential abundance of milk microbes with diet was determined using the Friedman test and pairwise Wilcoxon signed rank test. Associations among milk microbes and milk components were determined using generalized linear mixed effects modeling. Results: Taxa involved in fiber digestion, such as Lachnospiraceae, Lactobacillus, Bacteroides, and Methanobrevibacter, were enriched with the high fiber diet and were positively associated with branched-chain MFAs (BCFAs) that were also enriched with the high fiber diet. Potential mastitis and/or spoilage taxa, such as Pseudomonas, Stenotrophomonas, and Enterobacteriaceae, were depleted with high fiber diet and negatively associated with several BCFAs. The seven MOs that positively associated with high fiber diet had mostly negative associations with symbiotic microbial genera and mostly positive relationships with opportunistic pathogens. Conclusions: High fiber dairy cow feed results in milk microbial changes that might benefit udder health. These changes in milk microbiota may be partly due to increased BCFAs. Negative associations between MOs and common mammalian gut commensals, suggest that milk glycans might not serve strong prebiotic roles in mammary tissue. Funding Sources: United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service.