About this Research Topic
Ruminants are producers of high-quality products, such as meat and milk. The consumption of these products is increasing worldwide as emerging countries are experiencing an expansion in average income, which is expected to promote animal-protein products consumption. Furthermore, estimates point that human population will peak by 2050. As land available for agriculture and livestock exploration is a finite, it is mandatory to increase crops and animal production efficiency. Chemical species, such as ionophores, were employed in ruminal diets for several decades to modulate rumen fermentation and improve animal performance and feed efficiency. However, wide-spread use of antibiotics is facing social criticism due to presence of residues in meat, and the proliferation and transmission of resistant bacteria via the food chain. Hence, new alternatives to be used as rumen modulators are in need to cope with the increasing demand for production and safety of livestock products. Natural products are receiving increased attention to favor their utilization in improving livestock production. Several plant extracts and essential oils have been shown to modulate ruminal fermentation and improve nutrient utilization in ruminants. For example, active compounds found in essential oils, such as anethol, capsaicin, cardanol, cardol, cinnamaldehyde, eugenol and thymol, can positively impact ruminant production. Furthermore, these active compounds can improve meat and milk quality, by reducing lipid oxidation and extending shelf-life. Despite having great potential to be used in ruminant diets, there is a gap of information regarding how natural products modulate the rumen microbiome, how they are transferred to meat or milk, and how they affect both products.
This Research Topic will focus on emerging research which contributes to improve the current knowledge on the use of natural products on ruminant nutrition and meat or milk quality.
Research articles and Reviews exploring the role and impacts of natural products on ruminant nutrition to address challenges in agriculture, such as production, greenhouse emissions and food safety, are welcome.
Keywords: Beef cattle, Dairy cattle, Natural additives, Ruminants
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