Dr A. Elgersma visited to Dr S.K. Jensen and colleagues at Aarhus University in Foulum, Denmark.
1. Aim STSM
The intention of this STSM was to strengthen the existing collaboration with Dr Jensen and his collegues in Denmark, to write joint publications on existing data and to to learn a new technique using instruments not available in my home situation.
Discussing and analysing data on forage herb species regarding vitamin content, feed value and fatty acid composition of on-going projects. We prepared and submitted a paper during the STSM as contribution for a scientific meeting of the Association of Applied Biologists (AAB) (Elgersma et al., 2012). A manuscript for a full paper on the same data is currently being produced with the intention to offer it for publication in a scientific refereed journal (Grass and Forage Science) with Dr Elgersma as first author.
The STSM has therefore strengthened our collaboration and as an output, knowledge has been and will be disseminated on healthy feed for animals. Furthermore, discussion with a PhD student, M.B. Petersen, her current experiments on biohydrogenation of various feeds with rumen fluid of cows fed TMR and herbs. A visit to the barn and the herb (chicory) silage took place. Lab experiments were discussed and new knowledge on the methods used was obtained.
Because priority was given to the data of the 2-year forage herb experiment, also in the scope of the deadline for the AAB conference, the data of Warner et al. (2010) have not yet been further elaborated.
Future collaboration would be welcome to complete the current joint manuscript on herb species and to prepare another joint scientific article on the earlier joint work with Warner et al. and perhaps more.
Discussion of the need for standardization of herbage fatty acid analyses across Europe. The urgency of this topic was illustrated by questions raised during my STSM on preferred forage drying methods from COST member Dr F Vicente from Spain. There are still questionmarks on the protocol and these issues should be discussed in a broader context with various labs.
The range in analytical procedures and sample preservation methods currently in use contributes to inconsistency in research findings. Therefore, this is an obstacle to real progress in understanding and altering FA composition of ruminant fats to improve long-term human health. We might prepare a proposal with other interested COST members to have a half-day or a day session in the joint COST meeting Sept 2012. This could include some (invited) speakers, and discussion sessions on forage sample preparation, wilting, drying, sample storage and extraction methods. Interested groups might be interested in future collaborative projects on this topic.
3. Articles resulting from STSM
Elgersma A., Søegaard K. and Jensen S.K., 2012. Vitamin and fatty acid contents in forage herbs. Submitted to Conference: Restoring diverse grassland: What can be achieved, where and what will it do for us? The Oxford Belfry, Thame, Oxon, UK (AAB/BES/BGS Conference) 19 June, 2012 [copy attached]
Elgersma A., Søegaard K. and Jensen S.K., in preparation. Forage quality, vitamin concentration and fatty acid composition of seven forage herb species. Target journal: Grass and Forage Science.