Research Topic

Buffalo Health and Production

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About this Research Topic

Bubalus is a genus from the Bovidae family that is distributed widely in Eurasia in the Pleistocene. Wild animals from this genus includes the wild Asian buffalo (Bubalus arnee) which ranged across Asia but now is an endangered species. The Anoa from Indonesia is divided into Lowland Anoa (B. depressicornis) ...

Bubalus is a genus from the Bovidae family that is distributed widely in Eurasia in the Pleistocene. Wild animals from this genus includes the wild Asian buffalo (Bubalus arnee) which ranged across Asia but now is an endangered species. The Anoa from Indonesia is divided into Lowland Anoa (B. depressicornis) and Mountain Anoa (B. quarlesi), there is some debate whether they are the same or distinct species. The Tamaraw (B. mindorensis) is a critically endangered species from Philippines with only 220-300 mature animals.

The domestic buffalo (B. bubalis), also known as water buffalo or Asian buffalo to avoid confusion with the bison (Bison bison), incorrectly called Buffalo in North America, is divided into two subspecies: river buffalo (B. bubalis bubalis) and swamp buffalo (B. bubalis carabenesis) being genetically distinct with different chromosome number.

The worldwide water buffalo population is approximately 201 million heads with > 97.42% in Asia; 3,375 million in Africa; 1,387 million (0.69%) in America and 431,000 heads in Europe and Australia (0.21%). This animal is farmed in several countries of the world mainly for its high-fat milk and good quality meat that has superior nutritional characteristics compared to cattle. The buffalo is known for its rusticity and higher capacity to utilize feed with poor nutritional value and a high capacity for adaptation and survival at different environments with distinct climate, topography, and vegetation and it is well adapted to floodplains in many tropical and subtropical countries. Due to its strength, the water buffalo is also used as draft animals and used as riding animal at Marajó Island, Brazil.

Water buffalo contributes to the global milk production (14%) being the major milk producing animal in several countries, such as India and Pakistan, with comparative higher populations of dairy buffaloes than dairy cows in Egypt and Nepal. The water buffalo is among the most productive of domestic animals, having a significantly longer productive life when compared to cattle and is of economic importance specially to small-scale producers in developing countries.

Buffalo is affected mostly by the same diseases and parasites then cattle with importance drastically varying according to country, region and productive system. Buffalo breeds have varying degree of tick resistance and buffalo is infested by its specific lice (Haematopinus tuberculatus). Brucellosis, tuberculosis, leptospirosis, bovine viral diarrhea, fasciolosis, foot-and-mouth disease and protozoal infection have important economic impact to water buffalo industry. Regarding public health concern buffalo plays an important role as shedder of schistosomiasis infection to humans.

This amazing and sub-utilized animal can be more productive with additional quality products and better resistance and should be promoted as a target species to be used in smallholder production system. In this Research Topic we invite all buffalo scientists to submit their manuscript relating to disease and production of buffaloes to promote the knowledge of this species.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
• Diseases epidemiological surveys in buffalo herds.
• Molecular detection of pathogens of buffaloes.
• Parasite and parasites resistance
• Infectious diseases
• Beef production
• Milk and milk quality
• Buffalo meat characteristics and composition
• Reproduction and reproductive technologies
• Comparative studies of Buffalo and Cattle
• Rare/unusual diseases abnormalities in buffalo (clinical reports).
• Wild Asian buffalo (Bubalus arne)
• Animal Welfare
• Animal sustainability of buffalo farms

Photo credits: William G. Vale, Antonio Minervino


Keywords: Buffalo, water buffalo, Bubalus bubalis, pathogens, diseases, meat, milk, production, welfare, sustainability


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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