The effect of heat treatment on colostral and newborn calf redox status and oxylipid biomarkers

Sabine Mann, Jeff Gandy, Giulio Curone, Angel Abuelo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Newborn calves experience altered redox balance upon transition to extrauterine life. In addition to its nutritional value, colostrum is rich in bioactive factors, including pro- and antioxidants. The objective was to investigate differences in pro- and antioxidants as well as oxidative markers in raw and heat-treated (HT) colostrum and in the blood of calves fed either raw or HT colostrum. Eleven colostrum samples (≥8 L) of Holstein cows were each divided into a raw or HT (60°C, 60 min) portion. Both treatments were stored for <24 h at 4°C and tube-fed in a randomized-paired design at 8.5% of body weight to 22 newborn female Holstein calves within 1 h after birth. Colostrum samples were obtained before feeding, and calf blood samples were taken immediately before feeding (0 h) and at 4, 8, and 24 h after feeding. All samples were analyzed for reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) and antioxidant potential (AOP), from which the oxidant status index (OSi) was calculated. In 0-, 4-, and 8-h plasma samples, targeted fatty acids (FA) were analyzed using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, and oxylipids and isoprostanes (IsoP) using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Results for RONS, AOP, and OSi were analyzed by mixed-effects ANOVA or mixed-effects repeated-measures ANOVA, for colostrum and calf blood samples, respectively, whereas FA, oxylipid, and IsoP were analyzed using false discovery rate-adjusted analysis of paired data. Compared with control, HT colostrum showed lower RONS [least squares means (LSM) 189, 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 159-219 vs. 262, 95% CI: 232-292) relative fluorescence units] and OSi (7.2, 95% CI: 6.0-8.3 vs. 10.0, 95% CI: 8.9-11.1), but AOP remained unchanged (26.7, 95% CI: 24.4-29.0 vs. 26.4, 95% CI: 24.1-28.7 Trolox equivalents/µL). Changes in colostrum oxidative markers due to heat treatment were minor. No changes in RONS, AOP, OSi, or oxidative markers were detected in calf plasma. In both groups of calves, plasma RONS activity declined considerably at all postfeeding time points compared with precolostral values, and AOP reached its maximum 8 to 24 h after feeding. Generally, oxylipid and IsoP plasma abundance reached nadirs at 8 h post-colostrum in both groups. Overall, effects due to heat treatment on redox balance of colostrum and newborn calves and on oxidative biomarkers were minimal. In this study, heat treatment of colostrum reduced RONS activity but did not lead to detectable changes in calf oxidative status overall. This indicates that there were only minor changes in colostral bioactive components that could alter newborn redox balance and markers of oxidative damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3537-3547
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2023


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