Publications by authors named "Agostino Sevi"

23 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Effect of information on geographical origin, duration of transport and welfare condition on consumer's acceptance of lamb meat.

Sci Rep 2020 06 16;10(1):9754. Epub 2020 Jun 16.

Department of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences, University of Foggia, Via Napoli, 25-71121, Foggia, Italy.

Animal production system and welfare conditions can influence consumers' acceptance, as meat from animals grazing in natural pasture and labelled with information about high standards of welfare is preferred. In addition, geographical origin of food is recently considered one of the main information influencing the consumers' acceptance. Local products are collectively associated with high quality attributes by the consumers related to shorter transport and good welfare. Lamb meat is considered local and typical food; however, it is common to find in the same market both local and imported lamb meat. The present investigation aimed at understanding the importance of information about geographical origin, transport duration, and welfare condition of lambs for consumers and their actual liking. Moreover, the quality of lamb meat from local and imported animals as affected by short or long transport was assessed. Data demonstrated that both short and long transport did not affect organoleptic quality of meat; this result was corroborated by an absence of both metabolic and immune stressors in long term transport lambs except for haptoglobin, cortisol and glucose. However, the expected and actual acceptability were affected by the information with higher scores for local lamb when information on the geographical origin, transport duration, and welfare condition was provided to the consumers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-66267-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7298018PMC
June 2020

Effect of Diet Supplementation with Quinoa Seed and/or Linseed on Immune Response, Productivity and Meat Quality in Merinos Derived Lambs.

Animals (Basel) 2018 Nov 10;8(11). Epub 2018 Nov 10.

Department of Agricultural Food and Environmental Sciences, University of Foggia, Via Napoli, 25-71121 Foggia, Italy.

In the last years several studies have investigated the strong relation between nutrition and immune response in the livestock production, particularly in dairy cattle and sheep. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of supplementation based on linseed, quinoa seeds and their combination on welfare, productivity and quality of meat from merinos derived lambs. 32 weaned lambs were divided into 4 experimental groups: quinoa (Q), linseed (LS) and combination of quinoa and linseed (LS + Q) that received the respective supplementation and control group (C) without supplementation. Lambs from all supplemented groups showed lower plasma urea, creatinine and cholesterol than control. Both linseed and quinoa supplementation enhanced the cell-mediated immune responses of lambs, furthermore, linseed supplementation resulted in the lowest level of cortisol secretion after handling, loading and transport. Meat from lambs supplemented with linseed and LS + Q showed the highest pH, at 1 and 3 h post-mortem, while, meat from all supplemented groups was more tender than meat from control. Results indicated that linseed and quinoa seeds supplementation can help the animal to cope with stressful events due to the close link between stress responses and the immune system and for improving meat quality in terms of better tenderness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani8110204DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6262584PMC
November 2018

Proteomic approach to investigate the impact of different dietary supplementation on lamb meat tenderness.

Meat Sci 2017 Sep 29;131:74-81. Epub 2017 Apr 29.

Department of Agricultural Food and Environmental Sciences, University of Foggia, Via Napoli, 25-71121 Foggia, Italy.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of dietary supplementation of linseed and/or quinoa on tenderness and on proteome of lamb meat. Thirty-two Italian Merino lambs were distributed into 4 groups with different diet: control (CO) with no supplemental fat, linseed (LS), quinoa (QS) and QS+LS diets. Meat obtained by lamb fed linseed showed the lowest values of WBSF (P<0.001), hardness (P<0.01), gumminess (P<0.01) and chewiness (P<0.01). Proteomic changes of myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic proteins were estimated with SDS-PAGE, Western Blot and Two-Dimensional Gel Electrophoresis. In linseed group proteomic analysis revealed a degradation of desmin and TnT proteins complex and a major number of spots and phosphorylation isoforms of fast MLC2 patterns. Meat obtained by lamb fed quinoa showed a minor effect on the instrumental evaluation of meat tenderness and a major number of spots ascribed to sarcoplasmic proteins and fMHC. Data suggest that dietary supplementation may act on meat tenderness and on proteolytic pattern of myofibrillar fraction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2017.04.235DOI Listing
September 2017

Consumers' expectations and acceptability for low saturated fat 'salami': healthiness or taste?

J Sci Food Agric 2017 Aug 13;97(11):3515-3521. Epub 2017 Feb 13.

Department of Agricultural Food and Environmental Sciences, University of Foggia, Via Napoli, Foggia, Italy.

Background: Nutritional properties of meat and meat products are becoming very important in purchasing behaviour, because consumers are even more concerned about healthiness. The present study aimed to examine the influence of health information on the expected and informed acceptability of salami. Traditional salami and two low saturated fat salami produced with partial or total substitution of pork backfat with extra virgin oil were evaluated.

Results: Perceived acceptability was the lowest in salami with total animal fat substitution. In both low saturated fat salami, expected acceptability was significantly higher than perceived acceptability, while in traditional salami it was lower. Consumers completely assimilated their liking in the direction of expectations for salami with partial animal fat substitution, whereas incomplete assimilation was observed for salami with total animal fat substitution. The results also revealed that some sociodemographic characteristics discriminate consumer clusters from each other.

Conclusion: The present study highlights that nutritional information is not enough to satisfy consumers' expectations if the product is not sensorily acceptable. Findings about the relevance of information and consumers' segmentation could have important implications for policy makers and the meat product industry. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.8205DOI Listing
August 2017

Polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation: effects of seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum and flaxseed on milk production and fatty acid profile of lactating ewes during summer.

J Dairy Res 2016 Aug;83(3):289-97

Department of the Sciences of Agriculture,Food and Environment (SAFE),University of Foggia,Via Napoli,25,71122 Foggia,Italy.

The research reported in this Research Communication was undertaken to evaluate the effects of different sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) supplemented in the diet on milk production and milk fatty acid profile of lactating ewes exposed to long term heat stress. The experiment was conducted during summer, involved 32 ewes divided into 4 groups of 8 each, and lasted 6 weeks. The ewes in all groups were fed twice daily and received 1·8 kg/d of oat hay and 1 kg/d of concentrate. Flaxseed group (FS) was supplemented with 250 g/d of whole flaxseed, Ascophyllum nodosum group (AG) was supplemented with 25 g/d of seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum, and the combination group (FS + AG) received both flaxseed and Ascophyllum nodosum supplementation. The control group (CON) was fed with 1 kg/d of pelleted concentrate without PUFA supplementation. Milk samples were collected twice daily per week, and analysed for fat, total protein, casein, and lactose content. At the beginning and then at 2, 4 and 6 week of the experiment each milk sample was analysed for milk fatty acids. Temperature-humidity index (THI) was calculated daily. Supplementation of flaxseed and of the combination of flaxseed and Ascophyllum nodosum increased milk yield. The total content of saturated fatty acids (SFA) in milk decreased for ewes fed FS, followed by FS + AG. On the contrary, monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) increased for ewes fed FS and FS + AG. The total n-3 FA was found higher in FS and FS + AG than in AG and CON groups mainly because of the increase in C 18 : 3 n-3 in FS and FS + AG milk. Milk from FS + AG resulted in the highest n-3/n-6 ratio and decreases in atherogenic and thrombogenic indices. The combination of seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum and flaxseed can be suggested as an adequate supplementation to sustain milk production and milk fatty acid profile of sheep during summer season.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022029916000431DOI Listing
August 2016

Strategies to Improve Meat Quality and Safety.

ScientificWorldJournal 2016 5;2016:9523621. Epub 2016 Jul 5.

Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, University of Sao Paulo, 05508-270 Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/9523621DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4947498PMC
November 2017

Immune response, productivity and quality of milk from grazing goats as affected by dietary polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation.

Res Vet Sci 2016 Apr 24;105:229-35. Epub 2016 Feb 24.

Department of the Sciences of Agriculture, Food and Environment (SAFE), University of Foggia, Via Napoli, 25, 71122 Foggia, Italy.

This study was undertaken to assess how diet supplemented with fish oil and linseed improve the immune profile, the production performance, and milk quality of grazing goats by a diet supplementation of fish oil or linseed. Twenty-four Garganica grazing goats were divided into three groups named control (CON), fish oil (FO) and linseed (LIN) according to the fat supplement received in their diet. In vivo immune responses were evaluated by monitoring cell-mediated and humoral immune responses in order to verify the effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids supplementation on goats' health status. Goat milk samples were analysed weekly to determine milk chemical composition, fatty acid profile, and somatic cell count. Diet based on linseed supplementation (LIN) significantly increased milk yield by 30%, milk fat yield by 67%, protein yield by 34%, and casein yield by 41% as compared with CON. Fat content increased by 30% in LIN milk as compared with CON milk, and by 12% as compared with FO milk. Linseed modified milk fatty acid profile; LIN milk showed lower SFA and higher PUFA than FO milk. The modified fatty acid composition of LIN milk resulted in lower AI and TI indexes than FO and CON milk. Linseed and fish oil administration can reduce humoral immunity of goats, but has no effect in their cellular immunity. Dietary linseed supplementation in grazing dairy goat supports feeding programs to improve milk composition and quality, and a modulation of their immune responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rvsc.2016.02.018DOI Listing
April 2016

Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids from flaxseed affect immune responses of dairy sheep around parturition.

Vet Immunol Immunopathol 2015 Nov 19;168(1-2):56-60. Epub 2015 Aug 19.

Department of the Sciences of Agriculture, Food and Environment (SAFE), University of Foggia, Via Napoli, 25, 71122 Foggia, Italy.

The objective of the study was to characterize the immune profile of dairy ewes fed flaxseed, rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), around parturition. The hypothesis to be verified was that a physiological stressor, such as parturition, could be overcome with a nutritional manipulation in the diet of the animal in order to guarantee welfare of animals and to sustain their immune responses. Twenty Comisana ewes were divided in two groups (10 ewes/group), and fed a supplementation of whole flaxseed in the diet (FS group) or no supplementation (CON group). Blood samples were collected at parturition and then 7, 14, 21, 28, and 42 day post partum. Plasma samples were used to assess the humoral immune response after ovalbumin (OVA) immunization. At parturition, at 14 day, and 42 day post partum the level of plasma cytokines was assessed. The sheep showed a reduced responsiveness to OVA immunization. In FS ewes the IL-6 level remained unchanged until 14 day post partum and then significantly decreased from 14 day to 42 day post partum. IL-10 level was significantly higher in FS ewes than in CON ewes at 14 day. At parturition IL-1β level was significantly lower in FS ewes than in CON ewes and significantly decreased in both groups from parturition to 42 day. In conclusion, PUFA from flaxseed, as supplement in the diet of ewes around parturition can modulate sheep immune reactivity by influencing cytokine production.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetimm.2015.08.006DOI Listing
November 2015

Alterations in sheep peripheral blood mononuclear cell proliferation and cytokine release by polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in the diet under high ambient temperature.

J Dairy Sci 2015 Feb 12;98(2):872-9. Epub 2014 Dec 12.

Department of the Sciences of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Foggia, Via Napoli, 25, 71122 Foggia, Italy. Electronic address:

The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) supplementation from different sources in the diet of dairy sheep under high ambient temperatures on ex vivo lymphocyte proliferation and inflammatory responses. The experiment was carried out during summer: 32 Comisana ewes were divided into 4 groups of 8. The FS group was supplemented with whole flaxseed, the AG group was supplemented with Ascophyllum nodosum, the FS+AG group was supplemented with a combination of flaxseed and A. nodosum. The fourth group (CON group) was a control and received a diet containing no supplement. The average maximum temperature was around 33°C during wk 2 and 3, whereas the mean temperature never decreased below 26°C. Following 15 d of treatment with respective diets, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from sheep who received a diet supplemented with A. nodosum had impaired cell proliferation responses and IL-6 production after mitogen stimulation compared with PBMC from FS+AG sheep. In addition, PBMC from AG sheep displayed impaired cell proliferation compared with cells from the CON group. The FS+AG cells produced lower levels of IL-10 than CON cells, and higher IL-6 than AG and CON cells. Results demonstrated that the supplementation with PUFA from different sources in a sheep's diet can influence their immunological responses under high ambient temperatures depending on the composition of fatty acid supplementation. In particular, synergistic effects of different PUFA from flaxseed and A. nodosum, simultaneously administrated in the sheep diet, were observed on activation of inflammation response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3168/jds.2014-8333DOI Listing
February 2015

Composition and textural properties of Mozzarella cheese naturally-enriched in polyunsaturated fatty acids.

J Dairy Res 2013 Aug 23;80(3):276-82. Epub 2013 Apr 23.

Department of the Sciences of Agriculture, Food and Environment SAFE, University of Foggia, Via Napoli, 25, 71122 Foggia, Italy.

The effects of adding flaxseed or fish oil to the diet of dairy cows on the chemical and physical profile of Mozzarella cheese production were studied. The experiment involved 24 Friesian cows, divided into 3 groups accordingly fat supplementation: basal diet (CT), diet supplemented with flaxseed (FS) or fish oil (FO). Mozzarella cheeses were manufactured from bulk milk of each group. Bulk milk was analysed for chemical composition and renneting parameters. Mozzarella cheeses were analysed for chemical composition, fatty acid profile, and textural properties. Results suggest that Mozzarella cheese from cows receiving flaxseed supplementation showed a decrease in saturated fatty acids (SFA), an increase in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), and in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) compared with control Mozzarella cheese. The increased dietary intake of C18:3 in flaxseed supplemented cows resulted in increased levels of trans-11 C18:1, and of CLA cis-9 trans-11 C18:2, and in low Atherogenic and Trombogenic Indexes. FO Mozzarella cheese showed compositional and textural properties quite similar to CT Mozzarella cheese; however, increased levels of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in FO Mozzarella were found.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S002202991300023XDOI Listing
August 2013

A mixture of phytosterols from Dunaliella tertiolecta affects proliferation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells and cytokine production in sheep.

Vet Immunol Immunopathol 2012 Nov 13;150(1-2):27-35. Epub 2012 Aug 13.

Department of Sciences of Agriculture, Food and Environment (SAFE), University of Foggia, Via Napoli, 25, 71122 Foggia, Italy.

The aim of this study was to investigate the immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory role of a mixture of phytosterols extracted from the microalga Dunaliella tertiolecta on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) isolated from sheep. PBMC were treated to determine cell proliferation and cytokine production with different sterols: ergosterol (E), a mixture of eleven Algae sterols extracted and purified from D. tertiolecta (Algae Extract, AE), a mixture of ergosterol and 7-dehydroporiferasterol extracted and purified from D. tertiolecta (Purified Extract, PE). Cytokine production (TNF-α, IL-6, IL-1β, and IL-10) was evaluated after cell treatment with Concanavalin A (Con A) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The mixture of ergosterol and 7-dehydroporiferasterol extracted and purified from D. tertiolecta showed a suppressive effect on cell proliferation, and a reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines production. Furthermore, a stimulatory effect on the production of the regulatory cytokine IL-10 was found. The immunosuppressive effect exerted by the mixture of ergosterol and 7-dehydroporiferasterol from D. tertiolecta was dose-dependent both in suppressing cell proliferation and in stimulating IL-10 production. Present results showed that the immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory activities were more apparent in the purified extract characterized by the mixture of ergosterol and 7-dehydroporiferasterol, and might depend on the existence of a synergic effect of the structures of the two phytosterols. Furthermore, findings from our study suggest that the purified extract characterized by the mixture of ergosterol and 7-dehydroporiferasterol from D. tertiolecta could be used to reduce immune reactions resulting from inflammatory diseases in sheep production systems, and could have innovative implications on the modulation of sheep immune system when used as feed supplements.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetimm.2012.08.002DOI Listing
November 2012

Composition, indigenous proteolytic enzymes and coagulating behaviour of ewe milk as affected by somatic cell count.

J Dairy Res 2011 Nov 26;78(4):442-7. Epub 2011 Aug 26.

Department of Production Sciences and Innovation in Mediterranean Agriculture and Food Systems (PrIME), University of Foggia, Via Napoli, 25, 71100 Foggia, Italy.

This study was undertaken to assess the effect of somatic cell count in ewe milk on i) composition and hygienic traits; ii) plasmin, cathepsin and elastase activities; iii) leukocyte differential count; iv) renneting parameters. Individual ewe milk samples were grouped according to somatic cell count (SCC) into five classes: SC300 (<300 000 cells/ml), SC500 (from 301 000 to 500 000 cells/ml), SC1000 (from 501 000 to 1 000 000 cells/ml), SC2000 (from 1 001 000 to 2 000 000 cells/ml) and SC>2000 (>2 001 000 cells/ml). Individual milk samples were analysed for pH, chemical composition, microbial features, indigenous proteolytic enzymes, differential leukocyte population, and renneting parameters. Milk yield, lactose, protein, non casein nitrogen, microbial features were affected by SCC level. Plasmin and elastase activities were the highest in samples with more than 1 000 000 cells/ml; plasmin had intermediate values in samples with 300 000 to 1 000 000 cells/ml and the lowest in samples with less than 300 000 cells/ml of milk. Cathepsin D showed significantly lower values in SC300 and SC1000 classes than in SC500, SC2000 and SC>2000 classes. The highest percentages of lymphocyte were found in samples with less than 1 000 000 cells/ml, while the highest levels of polymorphonuclear leukocyte were found in samples with more than 1 000 000 cells/ml of milk. Longer clotting time was found in SC>2000 samples, while reduced clot firmness was observed in SC500 and SC>2000 samples. Results on milk yield and on compositional parameters evidenced an impairment of udder efficiency in ewe milk samples starting from 300 000 cells/ml. Plasmin activity in milk can be considered as a marker of the synthetic and secreting ability of the mammary gland; furthermore plasmin and elastase were consistent with the health status of the udder. Finally cathepsin D played a role in the worsening of renneting properties of ewe milk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022029911000525DOI Listing
November 2011

Influence of milk quality and production protocol on proteolysis and lipolysis in Monti Dauni Meridionali Caciocavallo cheese.

J Dairy Res 2010 Nov 19;77(4):385-91. Epub 2010 May 19.

Dipartimento PRIME, Università di Foggia, Via Napoli 25, 71100 Foggia, Italy.

The aim of this study was to assess the effect of milk source and of cheese production protocol on proteolytic and lipolytic pattern of cheese during ripening. The study involved six dairy factories located in Monti Dauni Meridionali area of Southern Italy; three dairy factories processed the milk produced by their own cow herds, while the other three dairy factories processed the milk collected in other dairy farms located in the neighbouring area. Cow milk processed to cheese had different nutritional parameters and hygienic quality. Caciocavallo cheese showed differences in the evolution of proteolysis during ripening and in the intensity of the lipolytic process detected at the end of ripening. The main factors influencing Caciocavallo cheese features were the quality of the starting milk, differences in technological steps such as milk heating, type of starter cultures and coagulant used.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022029910000269DOI Listing
November 2010

Focusing on casein gene cluster and protein profile in Garganica goat milk.

J Dairy Res 2009 Feb 5;76(1):83-9. Epub 2009 Jan 5.

Dipartimento PRIME. Università di Foggia, Italy.

A survey was carried out in eight goat dairy farms, a total of 71 individual Garganica goat milk samples were collected for genomic DNA extraction. Casein alleles and haplotype frequencies of Garganica population were estimated. Individual milks were also analysed for chemical composition, rheological properties, and protein profile. The strong A* allele of CSN1S1 was predominant in the population investigated, the weak allele F of CSN1S1 showed a relatively high frequency and the null alleles N and 01 were first observed in this breed. At CSN1S2 locus the strong A* allele was the most frequent, followed by the F allele and the null allele. The strong A* allele was predominant at CSN2 locus, and relatively high incidence of null allele 0 was observed. CSN3 locus was monomorphic for B* allele. The exact test of sample differentiation based on haplotype frequencies discriminate the farms into two groups characterized by the highest frequency of strong (S-CSN1S1) or weak (W-CSN1S1) alleles at CSN1S1. Protein and casein contents were higher in the group characterized by strong allele than in the group with weak allele at CSN1S1. The 2D electrophoresis technique was performed to screen goat casein variability at the protein level and to evaluate global casein genotype (alphas1, alphas2, beta and kappa-CN). Gels displayed the protein profile associated with casein genotype, and demonstrated differences in the protein expression deriving from interactions between loci. The variability of goat casein loci in Garganica goat breed could be exploited to differentiate the population on the basis of milk utilization and could represent a strategy to preserve the genotype of this autochthonous breed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022029908003853DOI Listing
February 2009

New strategies for reducing the pork back-fat content in typical Italian salami.

Meat Sci 2009 Jan 6;81(1):263-9. Epub 2008 Aug 6.

BIOAGROMED - Istituto per la Ricerca e le Applicazioni Biotecnologiche per la Sicurezza e la Valorizzazione dei Prodotti Tipici e di Qualità, Università degli Studi di Foggia, Via Napoli, 25-71100 Foggia, Italy; Department of Food Science, University of Foggia, Via Napoli, 25-71100 Foggia, Italy.

In this work the possibility to substitute pork backfat with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), adsorbed on whey protein-based crumb or white bread crumb, in typical Italian salami is addressed. Five types of salami were manufactured, under the usual commercial conditions, by replacing 0 (Control), 60% and 100% of pork backfat with whey protein-based crumb (WP60-WP100) and white pan bread (PB60-PB100), respectively, soaked in EVOO. Results highlighted that pH, weight loss, colour parameters and microbial counts did not show statistically significant differences between the Control and the modified salami. On the other hand, malonaldehyde was slightly lower in PB100, PB60, WP100 and WP60, compared to the Control. Chemical composition was significantly affected by formulations. Modified salami presented a better fatty acid profile showing lower saturated and higher monounsaturated fatty acids than control. Furthermore in all modified salami atherogenic and thrombogenic indices displayed the lowest values. The Control showed the highest values for Warner-Bratzler Shear, hardness, cohesiveness, gumminess and chewiness. Sensory evaluation of WP60 did not show significant differences compared to the Control, whereas PB100 and WP100 were unacceptable for taste.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2008.07.026DOI Listing
January 2009

Influence of space allowance and housing conditions on the welfare, immune response and production performance of dairy ewes.

J Dairy Res 2009 Feb 16;76(1):66-73. Epub 2008 Oct 16.

Dipartimento PRIME and Istituto per la Ricerca e le Applicazioni Biotecnologiche per la Sicurezza e la Valorizzazione dei Prodotti Tipici e di Qualità (BIOAGROMED), Università di Foggia, Via Napoli 25, 71100 Foggia (Italy).

The experiment used 45 Comisana ewes, divided into 3 groups of 15. The aim was to determine the effects of two different stocking densities and two different housing conditions on welfare, and on production performance of dairy ewes. The stocking densities tested were: high stocking density (1 x 5 m2/ewe, HD group) and low stocking density (3 m2/ewe, LD group); the two housing conditions tested were: ewes housed indoors (LD group, 3 m2/ewe) and ewes allowed to use an outdoor area (LDP group, 3 m2/ewe divided into 1 x 5 m2/ewe indoors and 1 x 5 m2/ewe outdoors). At the beginning of the experiment, and then every 2 months, the cell-mediated immune status of sheep was evaluated. One month after the beginning of the experiment, and 20 d later, the ewes were injected with chicken egg albumin (OVA) to assess their humoural immune responses. Starting from the beginning of the experiment and then monthly, behavioural activities of ewes were monitored using 15-min scans. After lamb weaning, milk yield from individual ewes was measured and milk composition analysed weekly. Housing conditions (low density reared ewes indoors v. low density reared ewes with free access to an outdoor area) affected cell-mediated response, which was higher in LDP than in LD ewes. Concentrations of anti-OVA IgG were mainly influenced by space allowance, with higher antibody titres in LD than in HD ewes throughout the experiment. Both housing conditions and space allowance affected sheep behavioural activities: a greater proportion of LDP ewes displayed standing and drinking behaviours than LD ewes, and a greater proportion of LD ewes was observed walking than HD ewes. Ewes allowed access to the outdoor area had a higher protein content and lower somatic cell count in their milk, whereas reduced space allowance led to a reduction in milk yield and an increase in somatic cell count of milk. Results indicate that both increased space allowance and availability of outdoor area can improve the welfare and production performance of the lactating ewe.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022029908003683DOI Listing
February 2009

Effects of ventilation rate and of dietary protein level in an intensive dairy sheep system on the features of Canestrato Pugliese cheese.

J Dairy Res 2007 Feb 15;74(1):26-33. Epub 2006 Sep 15.

Dipartimento PRIME. Università di Foggia, Italy.

Effects of ventilation rate and of dietary protein level in an intensive dairy sheep system on the features of Canestrato Pugliese cheese were studied. Cheeses were manufactured from the bulk milk obtained from ewes subjected to four different experimental treatments: (1) low dietary crude protein (CP) of 13% in dry matter (DM) at a low ventilation rate (23.5 m3/h per ewe) (LPLV); (2) low dietary CP at a moderate ventilation rate (47 m3/h per ewe) (LPMV), (3) moderate dietary CP of 16% DM at a low ventilation rate (MPLV); and (4) moderate dietary CP dietary at a moderate ventilation rate (MPMV). Bulk milk and cheeses (at 1, 15, 45 and 90 d of ripening) were analysed for chemical composition, N fractions and plasmin-plasminogen activities. The pH 4.6-soluble and insoluble N fractions were analysed by urea-PAGE. Bulk milk from ewes receiving the low CP diet displayed higher casein and lower urea contents. Ewes subjected to the low ventilation rate displayed a higher plasminogen activity in milk, whereas no differences emerged among treatments in the conversion of zymogen to plasmin. During ripening the plasmin-plasminogen system in cheese did not display significant changes across treatments. At 90 d of ripening, the cheese produced with milk from ewes receiving the low CP diet and exposed to the low ventilation rate displayed more markedly stained bands in the area of gamma-caseins in pH 4.6-insoluble N fraction. As from 15 d of ripening, the pH 4.6-soluble fraction showed a greater number of bands in the LPMV and MPMV than in the LPLV and MPLV cheeses. The results showed that Canestrato Pugliese cheese manufactured with milk from ewes fed the low CP diet and exposed to the moderate ventilation rate was characterized by higher protein and casein content in the fresh cheese and by a greater proteolysis after 90 d of ripening.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022029906002111DOI Listing
February 2007

Effects of dietary protein level on ewe milk yield and nitrogen utilization, and on air quality under different ventilation rates.

J Dairy Res 2006 May 14;73(2):197-206. Epub 2006 Feb 14.

Dipartimento Pr.I.M.E., Facoltà di Agraria di Foggia, via Napoli, 25, 71100 Foggia, Italy.

The experiment, which lasted 53 d, was conducted during the winter (February and March) of 2004 and used 48 Comisana ewes in mid lactation. A 2 x 2 factorial design was used, with ewes receiving two levels of dietary crude protein (CP) (moderate, 16% CP v. low, 13% CP) in the dry matter (DM) and being exposed to two ventilation rates (moderate, 47 m3/h v. low, 23.5 m3/h per ewe) for each dietary treatment. Air concentrations of NH3 and of microorganisms were measured twice weekly. Milk yield was recorded daily. Individual milk samples were analysed weekly for composition and fortnightly for bacteriological characteristics. After the last milk sampling (day 49 of the study period), four animals from each group were placed in a metabolism box and their individual faeces and urine were collected for three consecutive days. Amounts of urine and faeces excreted, and urinary and faecal N outputs were measured. The 16% CP diet resulted in a lower milk casein content and a higher milk urea concentration than the 13% CP diet, as well as in a reduced gross efficiency of utilization of dietary N, a greater amount of N excreted and a higher total coliform concentration in milk. The moderate ventilation rate resulted in higher yields of milk, irrespective of CP content. Significant interactions of CP level x ventilation rate were found for the amounts of urine, of total water and of faecal N, and for mesophilic concentration in milk, the highest values being displayed by the ewes fed the 16% CP diet and exposed to the low ventilation rate. The moderate dietary CP level and low ventilation rate had a deleterious effect on air concentrations of microorganisms and ammonia. Results suggested that a reduction of dietary CP level from 16 to 13% of DM had no detrimental effect on ewe milk yield in mid lactation and could even improve some of its nutritional and hygienic characteristics. Our findings also indicate that the choice of a proper ventilation rate is critical for high efficiency of production in the lactating ewe, especially in intensively managed flocks receiving diets high in CP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022029905001469DOI Listing
May 2006

Effect of different ventilation regimens on ewes' milk and Canestrato Pugliese cheese quality in summer.

J Dairy Res 2005 Nov;72(4):447-55

Dipartimento PRIME, Università degli Studi di Foggia, Via Napoli, 25, 71100 Foggia, Italy.

The influence of three different ventilation regimens on air pollution in sheep houses and on the quality of ewe milk and of Canestrato Pugliese cheese was investigated during the summer season. The experimental treatments were low ventilation regimen (VR=35 m3/h per ewe) split in 30-min ventilation cycles (LOV-30); moderate ventilation regimen (VR=70 m3/h per ewe) split in 30-min ventilation cycles (MOV-30); moderate ventilation regimen (VR=70 m3/h per ewe) split in 60-min ventilation cycles (MOV-60). The LOV-30 milk had higher microbial load and bulk milk somatic cell count (BMSCC) and resulted in a weaker casein matrix in the curd compared with the MOV-30 and MOV-60 treatments. At 45 d of ripening, the LOV-30 cheeses had a lower casein content and higher non-casein nitrogen (NCN) and water-soluble nitrogen (WSN) contents than the MOV-30 and MOV-60 cheeses. Urea-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (urea-PAGE) of the pH 4.6-soluble N extract showed that the MOV-60 cheeses had fewer bands derived from casein (CN) hydrolysis than the LOV-30 or MOV-30 cheeses, despite its having exhibited the highest plasmin (PL) activity levels. Our results suggest that the ventilation regimen is critical in dairy sheep housing for optimizing the hygienic quality of ewe milk and the proteolytic processes occurring in Canestrato Pugliese cheese during ripening.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022029905001305DOI Listing
November 2005

Proteolytic patterns and plasmin activity in ewes' milk as affected by somatic cell count and stage of lactation.

J Dairy Res 2005 Feb;72(1):86-92

Dipartimento PRIME, Università di Foggia, Via Napoli, 25, 71100 Foggia, Italy.

A total of 120 milk samples were collected from Comisana ewes throughout lactation. The ewes were ranked into two somatic cell count (SCC) categories: normal milk (N Milk) with SCC lower than 5.00x 10(5)/ml and high somatic cell milk (HSC Milk) with SCC higher than 1.00 x 10(6)/ml. Milk samples were analysed in triplicate for pH, fat and protein contents, renneting parameters, and plasmin and plasminogen activities. The peptide profile due to total proteolytic activity (endogenous and exogenous enzymes) on alpha- and beta-CNs were determined using urea-PAGE on sodium caseinate (pH 8.0 and pH 5.0) incubated at 37 degrees C for 4 d after sampling. The peptide profile due to non-plasmin enzyme activities at pH 5.0 was also determined using urea-PAGE. Plasmin activity was higher in the HSC milk than in the N milk throughout the study period. A decrease in plasmin activity was observed in the N milk during mid-lactation, which was probably related to decrease in pH, and in the HSC milk during late lactation, which may be ascribed to an enhanced influx of plasmin inhibitors from the blood stream. Proteolytic patterns in Comisana ewe milk were mainly affected by plasmin activity that increased with the SCC in milk. Also non-plasmin proteolytic activity was strongly enhanced by elevated SCC and resulted in a higher degradation of alpha-casein than of beta-casein. In general, plasmin activity did not increase with the advancement of lactation and exhibited a different trend in HSC and N milk, suggesting that physiological factors did not play a key role in regulating the plasminogen-plasmin system in ewes' milk. Plasmin activity, detected with the colorimetric assay was consistent with proteolytic activity on sodium caseinate shown in urea-PAGE electrophoregram.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0022029904000676DOI Listing
February 2005

Quality of milk and of Canestrato Pugliese cheese from ewes exposed to different ventilation regimens.

J Dairy Res 2004 Nov;71(4):434-43

Dipartimento PRIME Università di Foggia, Italy.

Effects of ventilation regimen on the quality of ewes' milk and on proteolysis in Canestrato Pugliese cheese during ripening were studied. Cheeses were manufactured from the bulk milk of Comisana ewes subjected to three different ventilation regimens, which were designated low (LOV, 23 m3/h per ewe), moderate (MOV, 47 m3/h per ewe) and programmed ventilation regimen (PROV, 73 m3/h per ewe; fan set to maintain 70% relative humidity). Bulk milk was analysed for chemical and microbial composition, renneting parameters and plasmin-plasminogen activities. At 1, 15, 30 and 45 d of ripening, the cheeses were analysed for gross chemical composition, nitrogen fractions, and plasmin and plasminogen activities. The pH 4.6-insoluble nitrogen fractions were analysed by urea-PAGE. Free amino acid content was determined at the end of ripening. Lower concentrations of bulk milk somatic cell count (BMSCC) and of mesophilic bacteria were found in the MOV group than in the LOV and the PROV groups. A lower plasminogen (PG) to plasmin (PL) ratio (PG/PL) was observed in the MOV and PROV than in the LOV cheeses. Irrespective of treatment, PL activity in cheeses was higher at 15d of ripening, while a sudden decrease of PL and PG activities was observed at 30 d, which was associated with a marked increase in non-protein nitrogen. The peptide profile characterized in the urea-PAGE showed a greater intensity of alpha- and beta-CN hydrolysis in the MOV than in the PROV and LOV cheeses. The results provide evidence that a proper ventilation regimen is critical for optimizing the hygienic quality of milk and the proteolysis of Canestrato Pugliese cheese during ripening.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0022029904000330DOI Listing
November 2004

Lambs prevented from suckling their mothers display behavioral, immune and endocrine disturbances.

Physiol Behav 2003 Jan;78(1):81-9

Dipartimento di Scienze delle Produzioni Animali, via Nazario Sauro, 85100 Potenza, Italy.

The aim of the experiment was to assess the effects of either maternal deprivation or prevented suckling on lambs. Thirty Comisana lambs were assigned to a control dam-suckled group (DS) and two test groups of 10 each. Test lambs were maintained with their mothers 24 to 30 h after parturition and subsequently offered ewe milk from buckets: EM lambs were separated from their mothers, while EM+D animals were reared with their dams but suckling was denied by covering ewe udders with juta bags. Behavioral, immune and cortisol responses of lambs were assessed throughout the experiment. EM+D lambs spent less time (P<.001) on investigative behavior compared to the two other groups. When isolated in a novel environment, EM+D lambs exhibited a shorter duration of movement (P<.01) and a longer latency time compared to DS and EM lambs (P<.001 and P<.05, respectively) as well as a higher number of bleats (P<.01) than EM lambs. EM+D lambs also displayed higher (P<.001) plasma cortisol levels than the other two groups when isolated at 4 days of age. When subjected to discrimination tests, EM+D lambs spent less time near their companions (P<.01) than EM lambs and took a longer time to reach their pen mates (P<.01) than DS and EM lambs. EM+D lambs displayed reduced growth (P<.001) compared to DS animals during the 0-7 and 8-14-day periods. We conclude that frustration arising from maternal feeding deprivation results in altered endocrine and behavioral responses and reduced growth suggesting emotional disturbances of lambs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0031-9384(02)00892-2DOI Listing
January 2003

Fatty acid composition of ewe milk as affected by solar radiation and high ambient temperature.

J Dairy Res 2002 May;69(2):181-94

Istituto di Produzioni e Preparazioni Alimentari, Facoltá di Agraria di Foggia, Italy.

Forty lactating Comisana ewes were either exposed to or protected from solar radiation and fed either in the morning or afternoon during summer in a Mediterranean climate. Individual milk samples were taken on days 7, 21 and 42 of the study period to determine fatty acid composition by gas chromatography. Exposure to solar radiation resulted in higher proportions of short-chain and saturated fatty acids in milk, primarily because of increased contents of caproic, capric, lauric, myristic and stearic acids (by 3-18%), and decreased contents of oleic, linoleic and linolenic acids (by 2-9%). As a consequence, the long to short chain and the unsaturated to saturated fatty acid ratios were significantly higher by 4 and 13% respectively in the milk of the protected ewes compared with that of the exposed animals. Provision of shade also led to an increase in the 18:0+18:1 to 16:0 ratio, and to a decrease in the 12:0 + 14:0 + 16:0 fatty acid group, which are regarded as reliable indexes of the nutritional property of dietary fat in reducing cholesterol levels in human plasma. Feeding time had little impact on milk fat. Our findings suggest that high ambient temperature may markedly modify the lipid composition of ewe milk and that provision of shade, but not feeding management, can improve the milk fatty acid profile in dairy sheep raised in hot climates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0022029902005447DOI Listing
May 2002
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