Indian Journal of Animal Research

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Indian Journal of Animal Research, volume 55 issue 8 (august 2021) : 900-904

Vitamins Supplementation Affecting Colostrum Composition in Murrah Buffaloes

Vipin2, Vishal Mudgal1,*, Anurag Bharadwaj1, A.K. Verma2
1Division of Animal Nutrition and Feed Technology, ICAR-Central Institute for Research on Buffaloes, Hisar-125 001, Haryana India.
2Center for Advanced Faculty Training in Animal Nutrition, ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, Bareilly-243 122, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Cite article:- Vipin, Mudgal Vishal, Bharadwaj Anurag, Verma A.K. (2021). Vitamins Supplementation Affecting Colostrum Composition in Murrah Buffaloes . Indian Journal of Animal Research. 55(8): 900-904. doi: 10.18805/ijar.B-4151.
Background: Vitamins A and E are unable to get synthesized by animal’s body and due to unavailability of sufficient green fodder in the ration, supplementation is required. Buffaloes are the major milk producer dairy animal in India and hence a study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of supplementing vitamin A and E on the colostrum composition of peri-parturient Murrah buffaloes.  

Methods: Twenty-two multiparous Murrah buffaloes during their advance stage of pregnancy (-30 day) were selected and divided into three groups i. e. control (C, n=8), treatment 1 (T1, n=7) and treatment 2 (T2, n=7) based on the most probable producing ability of milk, parity and body weights. Buffaloes were fed either control diet (C) or supplemented with vitamin A and E @ 75,000 IU  and 1,500 IU/day, respectively, in group T1 and @ 1,50,000 IU and 3,000 IU/day, respectively in group T2. Colostrum samples were collected from one day after parturition up to day 5th after calving and analysed for fat, protein, lactose, solid-not-fat and total solids. 

Result: Supplementation of vitamin A and E at a higher level (T2) was helpful to increase (P<0.05) colostrum protein levels for first three days and total solids percentage for first two days as compared to control, while colostrum lactose and solid not fat % were high (P<0.05) in T1 groups as compared to control at day third only. The fat percentage had a reducing tendency (P<0.05) in control and T1 group and total solids in the T1 group only with the advancement of the post-parturient period. Based on the findings of the study, it may be concluded that vitamins A and E supplementation had a positive influence on the colostrum composition of peri-parturient Murrah buffaloes.
India is endowed with the largest livestock population in the world. Livestock rearing is one of the most important economic activities in the rural areas of the country, providing supplementary income for most of the family’s dependent on agriculture. The milk production in India is increasing with a growth rate of 6.47% (BAHS, 2019) and India’s total milk production ranks first among the world’s milk-producing nations. Buffaloes play a very important role in the Indian dairy industry with a contribution of about 49% in the annual milk production of the country (BAHS, 2019). Dairy animals undergo intense mammary growth and repair processes throughout the lactation period with extreme pressure during early lactation. Since colostrum is rich in vitamins A and E, blood circulatory levels of these vitamins decrease at the time of around parturition and are reported to be a cause of severe health problems (Goff et al., 2002). Furthermore, maternal under-nutrition is also associated with reduced colostrum and milk production (O’Doherty and Crosby, 1996; rgaardet_al2008). Newborn colostrum intake is associated with survival and daily weight gain (Meza-Herrera and Tena-Sempere, 2012; Decaluwéet_al2014; Hernández-Castellanoet_al2015).
Fat-soluble vitamins (i.e. A and E) are potent antioxidants. Animals cannot produce these vitamins in their bodies; hence an exogenous regular supply is needed to cover the physiological requirements and to sustain production performance. During the peri-parturient period (transitional period) the concentrations of these vitamins reduce dramatically in the peripheral blood (Goff and Stabel, 1990 and Weiss et al. 1994). Thus, animals are venerable to different metabolic disorders, contagious diseases and a reduction in milk production and quality during this period (Block, 2010). Increasing the proportion of both A and E vitamins starting a few weeks pre-partum was found to increase milk production in cattle (Oldham et al., 1991 and Panda et al., 2006). Peri-parturient buffaloes undergo intense mammary growth and marked production of colostrum and milk, hence a study was undertaken to determine the qualitative traits of colostrum due to feeding of vitamin A and E in Murrah buffaloes.
The study was performed on Murrah buffaloes maintained at Animal Farm Section of ICAR-Central Institute for Research on Buffaloes, Hisar, Haryana, India, from December 2017 to June 2018. The farm is located 212 meters above the mean sea level. The animal experimentation was carried out on 22 multiparous buffaloes in the advanced stage of pregnancy (30 days before expected date of parturition) after distributed randomly into three groups (control group had 8 and in each of the treatment groups 7 buffaloes) keeping in mind to keep the parity, most probable producing ability (MPPA) of milk and body weights almost similar among three groups.
Buffaloes were individually fed as per the nutrient requirements (ICAR, 2013) during the study period, using concentrate mixture (Table 1), wheat straw and green berseem. Buffaloes of group T1 were fed additionally 75,000 and 1,500 IU of vitamin A and E, respectively, daily and buffaloes of group T2 were fed additionally 1,50,000 and 3,000 IU of vitamin A and E, respectively, daily after mixing with concentrate mixture during morning feeding.

Table 1: Ingredient composition of concentrate mixture

Representative samples of feed offered were collected, processed and analyzed for proximate principles (AOAC, 2012), neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and acid detergent fiber (ADF) content (Van Soest et al., 1991).
Buffaloes were hand milked at 5.00 AM and 4.00 PM every day. After complete milking of individual animals’ the colostrum collected was well stirred and samples were taken in plastic tubes (dry, clean). The quantity of colostrum sample taken was about 50 ml for more reliability. Colostrum samples were collected daily from each buffalo for 5 days after the calving. Representative samples of colostrum were analysed for chemical composition including protein, lactose, fat and solids-not-fat using pre-calibrated ultrasonic milk analyser (LACTOSCAN LA, 8900 Zagora BULGARIA) just after collection. Samples of colostrum were taken in triplicate daily for the accuracy of the chemical composition of colostrum.
All the data were analyzed with the help of Statistical Package for Social science (SPSS, 2010) version 16 software using the General Linear Model; multivariate. For comparison among groups, repeated measures were applied to determine the difference among different days within the same group.
Grouping of animals
Twenty-two buffaloes in the advanced stage of pregnancy (-30 days) were selected and grouped into three equal groups based on their most probable producing ability (MPPA) for milk (average 2184.58 kg), parity (average 2.27) and body weights (average 589.22 kg). Eight buffaloes were assigned to control, while seven each in two treatment groups, i.e. T1 and T2.
Chemical composition of feeds
The chemical composition of representative feed samples collected during the experimental period indicated that the feed was capable to fulfill the nutrient requirements (ICAR, 2013) of buffaloes. Concentrate mixture, wheat straw and green berseem had 19.21%, 3.08% and 16.19% crude protein and 56.25%, 44.79% and 47.9% nitrogen-free extract, respectively.
Variation in colostrum composition
The colostrum composition is highly variable and is affected by factors like the breed of buffalo, parity, pre-partum and dry period nutrition and also the length of the dry period. The day-wise variation in colostrum composition due to supplementation of vitamin A and E in Murrah buffaloes is represented in Table 2.

Table 2: Variation in colostrum composition due to supplementation of vitamin A and E in Murrah Buffaloes.

Colostrum fat
No significant (P>0.05) variation was observed on colostrum fat % due to treatment effect (Table 2), though values were high in treatment groups and were up to the tune of about 20% or higher as compared to control group on the day just after parturition. Mutoni et al., (2012) also reported improvement in colostrum fat (4.88% vs. 5.05%, P>0.05) percentage due to supplementation of vitamin E in Sahiwal cows as compared to the un-supplemented group. Similar to present findings De Ondarza et al., (2009) also reported improvement in milk fat % due to supplementation of beta carotene especially in early lactation cows and mature cows. Lotthammer (1979) in his studies concluded that β-carotene deficiency was related to a lower milk fat percentage in dairy cattle. Improvement in milk fat percentage in response to β-carotene supplementation may be due to higher rumen cellulolytic bacteria, as seen in an in-vitro study by Hino et al., (1993). Another possible mode of action could be that supplemental β-carotene altered rumen bio-hydrogenation and reduced the formation of trans-10 isomers in the rumen, resulting in less milk fat depression, as vitamin E has been shown to do (Bell et al., 2006; Pottier et al. 2006).
Over the period of time i.e. day 1 to 5, a reduction was apparent in the fat percentage of colostrum in all three groups, though significant reduction (P<0.05) was observed only in control and T1 groups (Table 2). Kehoe et al., (2007), Abd El-Fattah et al., (2012) and Morrill et al., (2012) also showed that all components of colostrum except lactose decreased gradually with the advancement of the period after calving.
Colostrum protein
Improved protein % was observed in colostrum of buffaloes of both the treatment groups, during the first three days of the collection as compared to buffaloes of the control group, though the values were significant (P<0.05) in group T2 only. Similar to present observation Mutoni et al., (2012) also reported an improvement in colostrum protein (4.27% vs. 4.35%, P>0.05) percentage due to supplementation of vitamin E in Sahiwal cows as compared to control group. Likewise, Oliveira et al., (2015) reported an increase in milk protein content from 2.90 to 2.96% when supplemented beta carotene @ 1.2 gram/day/cow for 14 days pre-partum. Nieto et al., (2015) also reported that Colostrum protein concentration was affected by supplementation of vitamin E in Ewes (14.3% vs. 17.3%, P<0.05).
Reducing tendency was also visible in colostrum protein % with the advancement of days after calving in all three groups, though non-significant. Previous workers (Georgiev and Penchev, 2005; Kehoe et al., 2007; Patto et al., 2016) also reported reduced protein % of colostrum with the advancement of days after parturition.
Colostrum lactose
A significant (P<0.05) improvement was observed in colostrum lactose % on day 3rd in the T1 group as compared to the other two groups. In a study, Mutoni et al., (2012) reported an improvement in colostrum lactose (3.12% vs. 4.37%, P<0.05) percentage due to supplementation of vitamin E in Sahiwal cows as compared to control group. Nieto et al., (2015) interpreted that lactose synthesis regulates the amount of colostrum and thus had a significant role to play.
No significant (P>0.05) variation was observed in lactose % with the advancement of days after parturition in all three groups but an inclining pattern was being almost followed over the period of time. Likewise, Kehoe et al., (2007), Abd El -Fattah et al., (2012) and Morrill et al., (2012) also showed that lactose content gets increased gradually with the advancement of the period after calving.
Colostrum solid-not-fat
A significant (P<0.05) improvement was observed in colostrum solid-not-fat % at day 3rd in group T1 as compared to T2 and control groups. No significant (P>0.05) variation was also observed in solid-not-fat% over a period of time after parturition, though a numerical reduction was reported in values due to the advancement of days after parturition. Kehoe et al., (2007), Abd El-Fattah et al., (2012) and Morrill et al., (2012) also reported a declining trend in most of the colostrum constituents with the advancement of days in milk except lactose.
Colostrum total solids
Total solids of colostrum in buffaloes of treated groups were significantly high (P<0.05) during the first two days of study though the values were numerically high throughout the collection period over the values of the control group. Similar to present observation Capper et al., (2006) observed improvement in the quality of colostrum due to vitamin E in late pregnancy. Oldham et al., (1991) also observed a trend for increased milk yield when cows were supplemented with β-carotene from -75 d prepartum to 42 d postpartum. These results suggest that to elicit a positive milk yield response to β-carotene, the supplementation may need to occur in early lactation.

A significant (P<0.05) reduction was apparent in total solids values of group T1 over a period of time, while the effect was non-significant (P=0.129) in group T2. Previous workers (Kehoe et al., 2007; Abd El -Fattah et al., 2012 and Morrill et al., 2012) also concluded regarding a similar trend in most of the components of colostrum.
The study concludes that prepartum one month’s supplementation of vitamin A and E improved the protein and total solids percentage of colostrum in Murrah buffaloes and the effect was more pronounced at higher (1,50,000 IU  of vitamin A and 3000 IU of vitamin E per day) level of supplementation, which could be beneficial to boost the health and growth performance of newborn calves.
The first author acknowledges the Junior Research Fellowship received by ICAR during the study period.

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