Publications by authors named "Sarah Figueiredo Martins Bonilha"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Assessing the relationship between the rumen microbiota and feed efficiency in Nellore steers.

J Anim Sci Biotechnol 2021 Jul 15;12(1):79. Epub 2021 Jul 15.

Departamento de Microbiologia, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Viçosa, MG, 36570-900, Brazil.

Background: Ruminants rely upon a complex community of microbes in their rumen to convert host-indigestible feed into nutrients. However, little is known about the association between the rumen microbiota and feed efficiency traits in Nellore (Bos indicus) cattle, a breed of major economic importance to the global beef market. Here, we compare the composition of the bacterial, archaeal and fungal communities in the rumen of Nellore steers with high and low feed efficiency (FE) phenotypes, as measured by residual feed intake (RFI).

Results: The Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio was significantly higher (P < 0.05) in positive-RFI steers (p-RFI, low feed efficiency) than in negative-RFI (n-RFI, high feed efficiency) steers. The differences in bacterial composition from steers with high and low FE were mainly associated with members of the families Lachnospiraceae, Ruminococcaceae and Christensenellaceae, as well as the genus Prevotella. Archaeal community richness was lower (P < 0.05) in p-RFI than in n-RFI steers and the genus Methanobrevibacter was either increased or exclusive of p-RFI steers. The fungal genus Buwchfawromyces was more abundant in the rumen solid fraction of n-RFI steers (P < 0.05) and a highly abundant OTU belonging to the genus Piromyces was also increased in the rumen microbiota of high-efficiency steers. However, analysis of rumen fermentation variables and functional predictions indicated similar metabolic outputs for the microbiota of distinct FE groups.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that differences in the ruminal microbiota of high and low FE Nellore steers comprise specific taxa from the bacterial, archaeal and fungal communities. Biomarker OTUs belonging to the genus Piromyces were identified in animals showing high feed efficiency, whereas among archaea, Methanobrevibacter was associated with steers classified as p-RFI. The identification of specific RFI-associated microorganisms in Nellore steers could guide further studies targeting the isolation and functional characterization of rumen microbes potentially important for the energy-harvesting efficiency of ruminants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40104-021-00599-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8281616PMC
July 2021

Animals selected for postweaning weight gain rate have similar maintenance energy requirements regardless of their residual feed intake classification.

J Anim Sci 2021 Mar;99(3)

Instituto de Zootecnia, Centro Avançado de Pesquisa de Bovinos de Corte. Rodovia Carlos Tonani, Sertãozinho, SP, Brazil.

Data of comparative slaughter were used to determine Nellore bulls' net energy requirements classified as efficient or inefficient according to residual feed intake (RFI) and selection lines (SL). Sixty-seven Nellore bulls from the selected (SE) and control (CO) lines of the selection program for postweaning weight gain were used. The animals underwent digestibility trials before being submitted to the finishing trial. Sixteen bulls were slaughtered at the beginning of the finishing trial, and their body composition was used as the baseline for the remaining animals. For body composition determinations, whole empty body components were weighed, ground, and subsampled for chemical analyses. Initial body composition was determined with equations developed from the baseline group using shrunk body weight, fat, and protein. The low RFI (LRFI) and CO animals had a lower dry matter (DMI) and nutrient intake (P < 0.05) than high RFI (HRFI) and SE animals, without alterations in digestibility coefficients (P > 0.05). During the finishing trial, DMI remained lower for LRFI and CO animals. Growth performance was similar between RFI classes, except for empty body weight gain that tended to be higher for LRFI than HRFI (P = 0.091). The SE animals had less fat content on the empty body (P = 0.005) than CO. Carcasses tended to be leaner for LRFI than HRFI (P = 0.080) and for SE than CO (P = 0.066) animals. LRFI animals retained more energy (P = 0.049) and had lower heat production (HP; P = 0.033) than the HRFI ones. Retained energy was not influenced by SL (P = 0.165), but HP tended to be higher for SE when compared to CO (P = 0.075) animals. Net energy requirement for maintenance (NEm) was lower for LRFI than HRFI (P = 0.009), and higher for SE than CO (P = 0.046) animals. There was an interaction tendency between RFI and SL (P = 0.063), suggesting that NEm was lower for LRFI+CO than HRFI+CO (P = 0.006), with no differences for SE (P = 0.527) animals. The efficiency of ME utilization for maintenance (km) of LRFI and HRFI animals were 62.6% and 58.4%, respectively, and for SE and CO were 59.0% and 62.1%, respectively. The breeding program for postweaning weight has not improved feed efficiency over the years, with RFI classification not being a promising selection tool for SE animals. Classification based on RFI seems to be useful in animals that have not undergone the breeding program, with LRFI animals having lower energy requirements than the HRFI ones.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jas/skab067DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8034416PMC
March 2021

Association between residual feed intake, digestion, ingestive behavior, enteric methane emission and nitrogen metabolism in Nellore beef cattle.

Anim Sci J 2020 Jan;91(1):e13455

Instituto de Zootecnia, Centro Avançado de Pesquisa de Bovinos de Corte, Rodovia Carlos Tonani, Sertãozinho, Brazil.

This study aimed to evaluate nutrient intake and digestibility, enteric methane emission and nitrogen utilization efficiency in Nellore cattle ranked by residual feed intake (RFI). Twenty-four Nellore bulls at 466 ± 24 days of age and with 352 ± 14.6 kg of body weight, classified as low and high RFI, were evaluated. Animals were kept in individual pens for three periods of 28 days and variables were measured. Data were analyzed as repeated measures over time, considering as fixed effects RFI class, period and RFI class x period interaction, and linear (co)variate of age. No significant differences in dry matter or nutrient intake were detected between RFI classes, but total digestible nutrients intake tended to be lower in low RFI animals, and apparent nutrient digestibility was higher in high RFI animals. Partial efficiency of growth tended to be lower in high RFI animals. RFI class did not interfere with enteric methane production or microbial protein synthesis, but fecal nitrogen output was higher in low RFI animals. The greater efficiency of low RFI animals is consequence of lower maintenance requirements, since energy from higher nutrients digestibility in high RFI animals was spent on metabolic processes other than body tissue deposition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/asj.13455DOI Listing
January 2020

Feed efficiency and maternal productivity of Bos indicus beef cows.

PLoS One 2020 3;15(6):e0233926. Epub 2020 Jun 3.

Instituto de Zootecnia (IZ), Centro Avançado de Pesquisa de Bovinos de Corte, Sertãozinho, SP, Brazil.

This study evaluated 53 primiparous cows (36.8±1.23 months old and 484±40.9 kg of body weight) performance tested (GrowSafe® System) from 22±5 to 190±13 days of lactation in order to obtain daily dry matter intake (DMI). The animals received a high-forage diet (forage-to-concentrate ratio of 90:10). Milk production of the cows was evaluated three times by mechanical milking and the energy-corrected milk yield (ECMY) was calculated. Energy status (through the indicators glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, and β-hydroxybutyrate), protein status (indicators albumin, urea, and creatinine), mineral status (indicators calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium), and hormonal status (indicators insulin and cortisol) were estimated four times throughout lactation. The residual feed intake (RFI) of cows was calculated considering DMI, average daily gain (ADG) and mid-test metabolic weight (BW0.75) obtained in early lactation (from 22±5 to 102±7 days), and the animals were classified as negative (most efficient) or positive RFI (least efficient). The RFI model explained 53% of the variation in DMI. The mean DMI, ADG, ECMY, and calf weight as a percentage of cow weight were 12.47±2.70 kg DM/day, 0.632±0.323 kg/day, 10.47±3.23 kg/day, and 36.6±5.39%, respectively. Negative RFI cows consumed 11.5% less DM than positive RFI cows, with performance and metabolic profile being similar to those of positive RFI cows, except for a lower milk protein content and higher blood cholesterol concentration. In conclusion, negative (most efficient) and positive RFI (least efficient) Nellore cows, fed an ad libitum high-forage diet, produced similar amounts of milk, fat and lactose and had similar subcutaneous fat thickness, weight, calf weight as a percentage of cow weight, and blood metabolite concentrations (except for cholesterol). Therefore, there are economic benefits to utilizing RFI in a cow herd since cattle had decreased DMI with similar overall performance, making them more profitable due to lower input costs.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0233926PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7269248PMC
August 2020

The Bacterial and Fungal Microbiota of Nelore Steers Is Dynamic Across the Gastrointestinal Tract and Its Fecal-Associated Microbiota Is Correlated to Feed Efficiency.

Front Microbiol 2019 25;10:1263. Epub 2019 Jun 25.

Departamento de Microbiologia, Universidade Federal de Viçosa, Viçosa, Brazil.

The ruminant gastrointestinal tract (GIT) microbiome plays a major role in the health, physiology and production traits of the host. In this work, we characterized the bacterial and fungal microbiota of the rumen, small intestine (SI), cecum and feces of 27 Nelore steers using next-generation sequencing and evaluated biochemical parameters within the GIT segments. We found that only the bacterial microbiota clustered according to each GIT segment. Bacterial diversity and richness as well as volatile fatty acid concentration was lowest in the SI. Taxonomic grouping of bacterial operational taxonomic units (OTUs) revealed that (24.61 ± SD 6.58%) and (20.87 ± SD 4.22%) were the two most abundant taxa across the GIT. For the fungi, the family dominated in all GIT segments, with the genus being the most abundant. Twenty-eight bacterial and six fungal OTUs were shared across all GIT segments in at least 50% of the steers. We also evaluated if the fecal-associated microbiota of steers showing negative and positive residual feed intake (n-RFI and p-RFI, respectively) was associated with their feed efficiency phenotype. Diversity indices for both bacterial and fungal fecal microbiota did not vary between the two feed efficiency groups. Differences in the fecal bacterial composition between high and low feed efficiency steers were primarily assigned to OTUs belonging to the families and and to the genus . The fungal OTUs shared across the GIT did not vary between feed efficiency groups, but 7 and 3 OTUs were found only in steers with positive and negative RFI, respectively. These results provide further insights into the composition of the Nelore GIT microbiota, which could have implications for improving animal health and productivity. Our findings also reveal differences in fecal-associated bacterial OTUs between steers from different feed efficiency groups, suggesting that fecal sampling may represent a non-invasive strategy to link the bovine microbiota with productivity phenotypes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2019.01263DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6603086PMC
June 2019

Digestion and metabolism of low and high residual feed intake Nellore bulls.

Trop Anim Health Prod 2017 Mar 26;49(3):529-535. Epub 2017 Jan 26.

Instituto de Zootecnia, Centro APTA Bovinos de Leite, Rua Heitor Penteado, 56, 13.460-000, Nova Odessa, SP, Brazil.

Understanding the reasons why animals of similar performances have different feed requirements is important to increase profits for cattle producers and to decrease the environmental footprint of beef cattle production. This study was carried out aiming to identify the associations between residual feed intake (RFI) and animal performance, nutrient digestibility, and blood metabolites related to energy balance of young Nellore bulls during the finishing period. Animals previously classified as low (n = 13) and high RFI (n = 12), with average initial body weight of 398 kg and age of 503 days were used. Cattle were fed a high energy diet and were slaughtered when rib fat thickness measured by ultrasound between the 12th and 13th ribs reached the minimum of 4 mm. A completely randomized design was adopted, being data analyzed with a mixed model that included the random effect of slaughter group, the fixed effect of RFI class, and linear effect of the covariate feedlot time. No differences were found (p > 0.10) between RFI classes for performance, dry matter, and nutrients intake. However, dry (p = 0.0911) and organic matter (p = 0.0876) digestibility tended to be lower, and digestibility of neutral detergent fiber corrected for ash and protein (p = 0.0017), and total digestible nutrients (p = 0.0657) were lower for high RFI animals, indicating lesser capacity of food utilization. Difference between low and high RFI animals was also found for blood cortisol at the end of the trial (p = 0.0044), having low RFI animals lower cortisol concentrations. Differences in the ability to digest food can affect the efficiency of transforming feed into meat by Nellore cattle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11250-017-1224-9DOI Listing
March 2017

Genomic Regions Associated with Feed Efficiency Indicator Traits in an Experimental Nellore Cattle Population.

PLoS One 2016 19;11(10):e0164390. Epub 2016 Oct 19.

Universidade Estadual Paulista, Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e Veterinárias, Departamento de Zootecnia, Via de acesso Prof. Paulo Donato Castellane, s/no, CEP 14884-900 Jaboticabal, SP, Brazil.

The objective of this study was to identify genomic regions and metabolic pathways associated with dry matter intake, average daily gain, feed efficiency and residual feed intake in an experimental Nellore cattle population. The high-density SNP chip (Illumina High-Density Bovine BeadChip, 777k) was used to genotype the animals. The SNP markers effects and their variances were estimated using the single-step genome wide association method. The (co)variance components were estimated by Bayesian inference. The chromosome segments that are responsible for more than 1.0% of additive genetic variance were selected to explore and determine possible quantitative trait loci. The bovine genome Map Viewer was used to identify genes. In total, 51 genomic regions were identified for all analyzed traits. The heritability estimated for feed efficiency was low magnitude (0.13±0.06). For average daily gain, dry matter intake and residual feed intake, heritability was moderate to high (0.43±0.05; 0.47±0.05, 0.18±0.05, respectively). A total of 8, 17, 14 and 12 windows that are responsible for more than 1% of the additive genetic variance for dry matter intake, average daily gain, feed efficiency and residual feed intake, respectively, were identified. Candidate genes GOLIM4, RFX6, CACNG7, CACNG6, CAPN8, CAPN2, AKT2, GPRC6A, and GPR45 were associated with feed efficiency traits. It was expected that the response to selection would be higher for residual feed intake than for feed efficiency. Genomic regions harboring possible QTL for feed efficiency indicator traits were identified. Candidate genes identified are involved in energy use, metabolism protein, ion transport, transmembrane transport, the olfactory system, the immune system, secretion and cellular activity. The identification of these regions and their respective candidate genes should contribute to the formation of a genetic basis in Nellore cattle for feed efficiency indicator traits, and these results would support the selection for these traits.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0164390PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5070821PMC
June 2017

Phenotypic and Genetic Correlations of Feed Efficiency Traits with Growth and Carcass Traits in Nellore Cattle Selected for Postweaning Weight.

PLoS One 2016 18;11(8):e0161366. Epub 2016 Aug 18.

Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e Veterinárias, Universidade Paulista "Júlio de Mesquita Filho", Jaboticabal, SP, Brazil.

This study evaluated phenotypic (rph) and genetic correlations (rg) between 8 feed efficiency traits and other traits of economic interest including weight at selection (WS), loin-eye area (LEA), backfat thickness (BF), and rump fat thickness (RF) in Nellore cattle. Feed efficiency traits were gain:feed, residual feed intake (RFI), residual feed intake adjusted for backfat thickness (RFIb) and for backfat and rump fat thickness (RFIsf), residual body weight gain (RG), residual intake and body weight gain (RIG), and residual intake and body weight gain using RFIb (RIGb) and RFIsf (RIGsf). The variance components were estimated by the restricted maximum likelihood method using a two-trait animal model. The heritability estimates (h2) were 0.14, 0.24, 0.20, 0.22, 0.19, 0.15, 0.11 and 0.11 for gain:feed, RFI, RFIb, RFIsf, RG, RIG, RIGb and RIGsf, respectively. All rph values between traits were close to zero, except for the correlation of feed efficiency traits with dry matter intake and average daily gain. High rg values were observed for the correlation of dry matter intake, average daily gain and metabolic weight with WS and hip height (>0.61) and low to medium values (0.15 to 0.48) with the carcass traits (LEA, BF, RF). Among the feed efficiency traits, RG showed the highest rg with WS and hip height (0.34 and 0.25) and the lowest rg with subcutaneous fat thickness (-0.17 to 0.18). The rg values of RFI, RFIb and RFIsf with WS (0.17, 0.23 and 0.22), BF (0.37, 0.33 and 0.33) and RF (0.30, 0.31 and 0.32) were unfavorable. The rg values of gain:feed, RIG, RIGb and RIGsf with WS were low and favorable (0.07 to 0.22), while medium and unfavorable (-0.22 to -0.45) correlations were observed with fat thickness. The inclusion of subcutaneous fat thickness in the models used to calculate RFI did not reduce the rg between these traits. Selecting animals for higher feed efficiency will result in little or no genetic change in growth and will decrease subcutaneous fat thickness in the carcass.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0161366PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4990259PMC
July 2017

Feed efficiency, blood parameters, and ingestive behavior of young Nellore males and females.

Trop Anim Health Prod 2015 Oct 4;47(7):1381-9. Epub 2015 Jul 4.

Instituto de Zootecnia, Centro APTA Bovinos de Corte, Rodovia Carlos Tonani, km 94. Caixa Postal 63, CEP14.160-970, Sertãozinho, SP, Brazil.

This study aimed to evaluate differences in efficiency of feed utilization between young Nellore males and females by comparing growth traits, feed intake, blood parameters, and ingestive behavior of the animals. Data from 768 Nellore males and females that participated in eight performance tests for individual feed intake evaluation were used. Performance and feed efficiency measures, efficiency-related hematological, metabolic and hormonal variables, and data regarding ingestive behavior were collected. Feed efficiency measures were defined by the relationship between performance and feed intake. Data were analyzed using mixed models that included the fixed effects of sex, herd, and the covariate age within sex and the random effects of facility within year, year, and residual. Significant differences between males and females were observed for traits related to weight gain and feed intake. Although individual dynamics of feed efficiency measures differed between males and females, no significant differences in residual feed intake, feed efficiency, or relative growth rate were observed between sexes. Significant differences between sexes were found for platelets, red blood cells, hemoglobin, creatinine, glucose, urea, triglycerides, insulin, cortisol, and IGF-I. Females spent more time feeding and less time ruminating when compared to males. However, males exhibited higher feeding efficiency and lower rumination efficiency than females. Growing Nellore males and females are efficient in feed utilization, and the differences in blood variables observed are probably due to differences in body size and feed intake. Males spend less time eating, consume more food, and spend more time ruminating than females.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11250-015-0875-7DOI Listing
October 2015

Expression of genes related to mitochondrial function in Nellore cattle divergently ranked on residual feed intake.

Mol Biol Rep 2015 Feb 14;42(2):559-65. Epub 2015 Jan 14.

Departamento de Zootecnia, Faculdade de Ciências Agrárias e Veterinárias, UNESP Univ Estadual Paulista, Campus Jaboticabal, Via de Acesso Prof. Paulo Donato Castellane, Jaboticabal, SP, 14884-900, Brazil.

Several measures have been proposed to investigate and improve feed efficiency in cattle. One of the most commonly used measure of feed efficiency is residual feed intake (RFI), which is estimated as the difference between actual feed intake and expected feed intake based on the animal's average live weight. This measure permits to identify and select the most efficient animals without selecting for higher mature weight. Mitochondrial function has been indicated as a major factor that influences RFI. The analysis of genes involved in mitochondrial function is therefore an alternative to identify molecular markers associated with higher feed efficiency. This study analyzed the expression of PGC1α, TFAM, UCP2 and UCP3 genes by quantitative real-time PCR in liver and muscle tissues of two groups of Nellore cattle divergently ranked on RFI values in order to evaluate the relationship of these genes with RFI. In liver tissue, higher expression of TFAM and UCP2 genes was observed in the negative RFI group. Expression of PGC1α gene did not differ significantly between the two groups, whereas UCP3 gene was not expressed in liver tissue. In muscle tissue, higher expression of TFAM gene was observed in the positive RFI group. Expression of PGC1α, UCP2 and UCP3 genes did not differ significantly between the two groups. These results suggest the use of TFAM and UCP2 as possible candidate gene markers in breeding programs designed to increase the feed efficiency of Nellore cattle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11033-014-3801-6DOI Listing
February 2015
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