Scientists are taking grazing to a new level by developing sheep that prefer or tolerate the bitter taste of plants.
Liver and Onions, Please. Hold the Abscess
In a groundbreaking study, ARS researchers showed for the first time that changes in cattle rumen associated with liver abscesses remain well after the early development of rumen acidosis caused by high corn diets.
Beef cattle liver abscesses are the highest cause of liver being deemed unsuitable for human consumption. Costs to the beef industry are estimated at a minimum of $64 million annually and up to $400 million in a combination of product loss, reduced animal production efficiency, and health. Liver abscesses are caused by bacteria transported from the rumen that subsequently colonize the liver. The rumen is the largest of a cow's four "stomachs," where bacteria digest the cellulose in grasses and feeds.
ARS scientists at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, NE, in collaboration with scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, studied gene expression in the cattle rumen and the variations in bacterial communities attached to the rumen in cattle with liver abscesses. They identified associations between differentially expressed genes in rumen tissue and the bacterial species attached to the rumen.
These findings indicate that measuring changes in gene expression may help identify the development of liver abscesses in feedlot cattle and for developing treatments. This groundbreaking discovery will lead to additional study of factors that contribute to liver abscess development, provide effective identification of animals susceptible to liver abscesses, and reduce the negative impacts of abscesses on production efficiency and animal welfare.
Research Project: Improve Nutrient Management and Efficiency of Beef Cattle and Swine
Explore Other Discoveries
Targeting Taste Buds, Targeting Grazing
Determining Risk of Avian Influenza
ARS researchers studied the transmission dynamics of avian influenza virus in disease outbreaks of both commercial and backyard flocks.
Protecting American Cattle From Ticks
ARS scientists collaborated to sequence and assemble the genomes of the ticks that cause cattle fever and anaplasmosis.
New Ways to Sterilize Mosquitoes
ARS researchers collaborated with scientists from the University of Florida to develop a simpler method to sterilize mosquitoes.
Better Water, Happier Fish
Scientists found that fish raised in reused water faced significantly higher mortality rates that those grown in tanks supplied with fresh spring water.
Leftovers Make Good Fish Food
Researchers determined that clam byproducts and hemp fibers meet the nutritional needs of farmed fish Florida pompano.
Stopping a Deadly Virus at the Border
ARS researchers collaborated with Kansas State University to reduce the potential consequences of the Japanese encephalitis virus entering the United States.