Significance of Volatile Fatty Acids (VFA) in Lactating Cow

Volatile fatty acids in lactating cow

Bacterial fermentation of organic matter like carbohydrates in the rumen produces Volatile Fatty Acid (VFA) that is readily absorbed and serves as a source of energy to the ruminant. VFA can have a major effect on the qualitative as well as quantitative production by the ruminant.

It is well-established that diets high in soluble carbohydrates (starch and sugar) can lead to over-production of VFA, particularly propionate and lactate, and consecutively lead to a drop in rumen pH and cause sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) or acute acidosis. Cellulolytic bacteria operate within a narrow pH range and can only survive for a relatively short time below this range before their growth and activity are compromised. Thus, fiber digestion is inhibited if rumen pH remains low for long periods.

Vinyeast-P enables to fine-tune the rumen environment in such a way that there is a striking balance between productivity and acidosis. Vinyeast-P is composed of Live Yeast Culture Saccharomyces cerevisiae (LYC) and Propionibacteria. Their mode of action differs on the individual front although when administered as a combination they produce a better stimulating effect on the rumen synergistically.      LYC maintains the anaerobic condition of the rumen, itself being an oxygen scavenging organism, as well as stimulates the growth of other microbial anaerobes. It also enhances fiber digestion and thus improves the utilization of starch supplied in the diet. Lactic acid is prone to get accumulated in the rumen as its absorption is much slower than propionic acid. Propionibacterium being a lactic acid utilizing bacteria helps to convert the accumulated lactic acid to propionic acid, restoring the pH of the rumen back to normal. Thus keeps in check the detrimental effects of acidosis. Propionic acid is used by the ruminants to make blood glucose, milk protein, and milk sugar lactose, thus conferring the rumen wholesome nutrition. Hence, it can be concluded that tailored production VFA is the key that assures a better yielding ruminant.

Role of antioxidants in feed

Antioxidants play a major role in animal health, production and performance. This is due to the detrimental effects of radicals and toxic products of their metabolism on various metabolic processes. It is a well known fact that oxidative stress is involved in many degenerative disorders. The oxidative free radicals are therefore considered as pathobiochemicals mechanism for initiating or progression of various diseases. The prooxidant-antioxidant balance can be regulated by optimal nutrient uptake or providing herbal antibiotics. Thus, the essential step in maintaining the balance between the oxidative damage and antioxidative defense in the animal body would be to boost the antioxidant capacity by optimizing the dietary intake of antioxidants.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant. It is an important anti-stress agent. However, it can be easily oxidized. Sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C is required in collagen biosynthesis and protein metabolism.

Vitamin E is the found in the biological membranes and lipid droplets. Vitamin E is absorbed in the small intestine with various efficacies depending on the diet composition, level of supplementation, age, sex and other individual characteristics of animals. It is the main chain-breaking antioxidant in biological systems.

Carotenoid is a natural pigment, responsible for yellow, orange and sometimes red pigmentations in plants, insects, birds and marine animals. They possess antioxidant activity. They have some health promoting properties, including immune system modulation. They are found in some plant-derived feed ingredients.

Manganese has an essential part of a range of enzymes taking part in antioxidant protection, bone growth and egg shell formation carbohydrate and lipid metabolism including processing of cholesterol.

Zinc is the second most abundant trace element trace element in mammals and they take part in antioxidant defense as an integral part of SOD, hormone secretion, keratin generation and epithelial tissue integrity immune function.

Iron has a vital role in antioxidant defense as an essential component of catalase, energy and protein metabolism, hence respiratory carrier, electron transport, oxidation-reduction reaction.