Start Date

21-1-2017 9:00 AM

Description

The field of nutrition has continued to expand since the 18th century. We once thought that the only important components in foods and feeds were proteins, carbohydrates, fats and salts. Evidence was slowly pieced together to show that certain minor components were essential for life, and the vitamins were discovered. Like the doctors that first suspected vitamins were essential, some cattlemen have long noted advantages in animal performance and health on certain diets in ways that cannot be explained by a simple forage analysis. Today, we are learning the roles that phenolic plant secondary metabolites, sometimes called polyphenols, play in both human and animal nutrition. In particular, our USDA-ARS unit is conducting research on a group of polyphenols called isoflavones, which are found in clovers and other legumes.

Isoflavones prevent damage by ultraviolet light in plants. They are also a chemical defense against infection by bacteria and fungi. It has long been recognized that isoflavones also have biological effects on animals that consume the plants. They are antioxidants and estrogens. The estrogenic effects of legumes, well known in ruminants, are due to isoflavones. Much of the early research on isoflavones in ruminant diets is about their negative effects on reproduction. However, new research is showing there are benefits to cattle that consume isoflavones. In this article, we will explore two recently discovered benefits of isoflavones: 1) improved dietary nitrogen efficiency, and 2) improved blood flow during fescue toxicosis.

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Jan 21st, 9:00 AM

Promote Growth and Animal Health with Isoflavones in Red Clover and Other Legumes

The field of nutrition has continued to expand since the 18th century. We once thought that the only important components in foods and feeds were proteins, carbohydrates, fats and salts. Evidence was slowly pieced together to show that certain minor components were essential for life, and the vitamins were discovered. Like the doctors that first suspected vitamins were essential, some cattlemen have long noted advantages in animal performance and health on certain diets in ways that cannot be explained by a simple forage analysis. Today, we are learning the roles that phenolic plant secondary metabolites, sometimes called polyphenols, play in both human and animal nutrition. In particular, our USDA-ARS unit is conducting research on a group of polyphenols called isoflavones, which are found in clovers and other legumes.

Isoflavones prevent damage by ultraviolet light in plants. They are also a chemical defense against infection by bacteria and fungi. It has long been recognized that isoflavones also have biological effects on animals that consume the plants. They are antioxidants and estrogens. The estrogenic effects of legumes, well known in ruminants, are due to isoflavones. Much of the early research on isoflavones in ruminant diets is about their negative effects on reproduction. However, new research is showing there are benefits to cattle that consume isoflavones. In this article, we will explore two recently discovered benefits of isoflavones: 1) improved dietary nitrogen efficiency, and 2) improved blood flow during fescue toxicosis.