The first objective of this study was to describe the effect of on-farm heat treatment of colostrum on colostral bacteria counts and IgG concentrations. The second objective was to describe the effect of feeding heat-treated (vs. raw) colostrum on passive transfer of colostral immune and nutritional parameters in neonatal calves. Pooled batches of colostrum were mixed and divided equally: one half was fed raw whereas the other half was fed after heat treatment at 60°C for 60 min using a commercial on-farm batch pasteurizer. Colostrum samples were cultured for total bacteria count and total coliform count and analyzed for total IgG concentration. Forty-nine Holstein calves were fed either raw colostrum (n = 24) or heat-treated colostrum (n = 25) within 1 to 2 h after birth. Serum samples collected from calves at 0 h (precolostrum) and 24 h (postcolostrum) were assayed for serum total protein; IgG, IgA, and IgM concentrations; peripheral total leukocyte counts; neutrophil counts; lymphocyte counts; lymphocyte phenotypes; vitamin A, vitamin E, cholesterol, and β-carotene concentrations. Serum samples collected from 2- to 5-d-old calves were tested for immunoglobulin function via a bovine viral diarrhea virus type I serum neutralization titer and for neutrophil bacterial opsonization activity. On-farm batch heat treatment of colostrum at 60°C for 60 min resulted in lower colostrum bacteria concentrations while maintaining colostral IgG concentration. Calves fed heat-treated colostrum had significantly greater serum total protein and IgG concentrations at 24 h, plus greater apparent efficiency of IgG absorption (total protein = 6.3 mg/dL; IgG = 22.3 mg/mL; apparent efficiency of absorption = 35.6%) compared with calves fed raw colostrum (TP = 5.9 mg/dL; IgG = 18.1 mg/mL; apparent efficiency of absorption = 26.1%). There was no effect of treatment on serum concentrations of IgA, IgM, vitamin A, vitamin E, cholesterol, β-carotene or vitamin E:cholesterol ratio, or on serum bovine viral diarrhea virus type I serum neutralization titers. There was no difference between treatment groups when examining calf plasma total leukocyte counts, neutrophil counts, lymphocyte counts, or neutrophil opsonization activity. However, the latter results were considered inconclusive.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project was funded by the Minnesota Rapid Agricultural Response Fund . We would like to thank Megan Becker, Krista Steffenhagen, Grant Williams, and Megan Bandrick for their assistance with sample collection and laboratory analysis. We gratefully acknowledge the support provided by the owners and management of the Transition Management Facility in facilitating the completion of this project.
- Heat treatment
- Passive transfer of immunity