Tiia Ariko (Estonian University of Life Sciences) visits University of Ghent
Focus on effect of glycerol supplementation on rumen volatile fatty acid proportion and milk fatty acid profile

Purpose of the visit

The aim of the short term scientific mission was to start joint research on odd- and branched-chain fatty acid (OBCFA) profiles in milk between Ghent University and Estonian University of Life Sciences. During this stay we planned to focus on interpretation of data gathered during one of former experiments performed in Estonia about the effect of glycerol supplementation on rumen volatile fatty acid proportion and milk fatty acid profile, including OBCFA. A further aim was to be initiated in some running projects of Lanupro on milk OBCFA as markers. Follow-up collaboration will then focus on merging data from different experiments, focusing on extra-ruminal contribution to OBCFA profile in milk.

Description of the work carried out during the visit

The focus of this STSM was mainly on the work with data from the experiment with dietary glycerol in the rations of dairy cows and its effect on rumen environment and milk fatty acids. Glycerol affects ruminal volatile fatty acid proportions which is reflected in the milk fatty acid profile, giving an opportunity to observe if changes in milk fat are precursor or diet related by testing the models developed with conventional feeds. During very productive and interesting discussions in the first half of the visit we worked on interpreting the data, discussed the statistical analysis and set down the layout and main focus of the article. The second half of the STSM was mainly focused on the work with the manuscript and preparing it for the publishing. Simultaneously discussions took place about ongoing experiments in Gent University which will be involved in the future collaborated project. A joint abstract was prepared and submitted to 8th International Symposium on the Herbivore Nutrition (Aberystwyth, Wales UK, 6 - 9 September 2011) assessing the possibilities to use milk OBCFA production to describe microbial nitrogen flow in duodenum.

Description of the main results obtained

The STSM was the starting point of a close collaboration between two institutions and scientific groups. First common publication is in the finalizing process and will soon be submitted to Journal of Dairy Science for evaluation. A common abstract has been sent to a conference. For Tiia Ariko the STSM gave also a valuable experience of working and studying in a foreign university.

Future collaboration with host institution

The start of the collaboration between Gent University and Estonian University of Life Sciences was successful and will continue in the future. Co-supervision of PhD research is the main target of this collaboration. In particular, the focus of the ongoing project is on extra-ruminal effects which contribute to milk OBCFA in milk e.g. release of odd-chain fatty acids from adipose tissue, de novo synthesis in mammary gland or other tissues .

Projected publications/articles resulting or to result from the STSM

The article to result from this short term scientific mission needs finishing touches and will be sent for publication within few weeks after the end of STSM. Working title of the article: The effect of dietary glycerol on rumen parameters and milk fatty acid profile of dairy cows. An abstract was submitted to 8th International Symposium on Herbivore Nutrition (Aberystwyth, Wales UK, 6 - 9 September 2011). Title of the abstract: Milk odd- and branched-chain fatty acids: biomarkers to optimize microbial metabolism by ruminants? The COST action Feed for Health FA0802 will be acknowledged in both publications.

Tiia Ariko STSM
Design & Programming: Zenlex