October 15, 2020

Interpretive Summary: Feeding anthocyanin-rich purple corn stover silage to dairy goats

Interpretive Summary: Effects of anthocyanin-rich purple corn stover silage on nutrient utilization, inflammation and antioxidant activity in dairy goats

By: Anne Kamiya, MS

Oxidative stress caused by free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) can be mitigated by supplemental antioxidants. External stressors, such as illness, weaning and high humidity creates a greater need for antioxidants due to increased oxidative stress. Identifying which naturally occurring antioxidants are most effective in reducing oxidative stress is therefore a valuable area of study. One such antioxidant is anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are naturally occurring plant pigments that create the dark red and purples found in many flowers, fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanins also have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Researchers in this recent Journal of Animal Science study evaluated an anthocyanin-rich purple corn (Zea mays L.) as a potential antioxidant supplement for dairy goat feed. Antioxidant-rich purple corn stover silage (PSS) was added to the feed of Saanen dairy goats and compared to positive and negative controls. Goats were evaluated for inflammatory markers in the mammary glands, nutrient utilization and antioxidant activity.

Goats fed the negative control had lower apparent digestibility of dry matter (DM), organic matter (OM), crude protein (CP) and digestible energy (DE) when compared to goats fed PSS and the positive control. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is a strong endogenous antioxidant and activity of this enzyme was increased in the positive control and the PSS groups when compared to the negative control. Inflammatory markers in mammary tissue were also down regulated in goats fed anthocyanin-rich purple corn.

The results of this study suggest that antioxidant-rich PSS has the potential to benefit dairy goats by increasing antioxidant activity and decreasing inflammation. Due to the small size of this study (8 goats), larger and more comprehensive studies would be useful in validating and expanding on the findings of this study.

The original article, 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 is viewable in the Journal of Animal Science.