March 27, 2019

Interpretive Summary: Effects of anthocyanin-rich purple corn stover on dairy goats.

Interpretive Summary: Effects of anthocyanin-rich purple corn (Zea mays L.) stover silage on nutrient utilization, rumen fermentation, plasma antioxidant capacity, and mammary gland gene expression in dairy goats.

By: Anne Wallace

Oxidative stress from free radicals (FRs) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) are inflammatory and detrimental to animal health. Natural antioxidant scavengers—e.g. 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and superoxide dismutase (SOD)—produced within blood or tissue can deactivate these toxic chemicals. In conditions of heat stress, however, FRs and ROS are increased, and animals may fail to cope with oxidative stress. There is therefore a justified need to find alternative ways to ameliorate oxidative stress in animals.

In this paper published in the March 2019 Journal of Animal Science, researchers studied how anthocyanins, a purple plant pigment with known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, would impact oxidative stress in dairy goats. They supplemented feed with anthocyanin-rich purple corn stover silage (PSS; AR), citing a lack of in vivo studies evaluating the effects of anthocyanins in goats.

Eight Saanen dairy goats of similar weight were fed one of four diets for 21 days, as follows: (1) rice straw negative control diet (NC), (2) sticky corn stover silage positive control diet (PC1), (3) PC1 with added anthocyanin-rich purple corn pigment (PC2), (4) PSS; AR. Dry matter intake (DMI), nutrient digestibility, nitrogen absorption/retention, antioxidant and inflammatory markers in blood and mammary tissue, and rumen fermentation byproducts were evaluated. 

No significant difference in DMI, nitrogen absorption/retention, nutrient digestibility or fermentation byproducts were found in animals fed anthocyanin-containing feed over the other diets. However, the scavenging activity of DPPH and SOD were increased with PC2 and PSS; AR, compared to non-anthocyanin containing feed (NC and PC1). Mammary tissue in PC2 and PSS; AR animals had increased gene expression of NFE2L2 (regulates antioxidant production), and decreased expression of TNF (an inflammatory protein), compared to NC and PC1.

The results of this small study suggest that anthocyanins may have the potential to reduce oxidative stress from FRs and ROS in dairy goats. Larger studies are needed to reconfirm results and evaluate the effects of anthocyanin-supplemented feed under heat stress conditions more comprehensively.

To view the article, visit the Journal of Animal Science.