Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2016

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences

Program or Major

Biomedical Science: Medical and Veterinary Sciences

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Peter Erickson

Second Advisor

Shona Ort


In cows, colostrum is composed of several antibodies and nutrients to provide immunity and energy to the calf. Feeding calves high quality colostrum has been shown to improve calf health, leading to reduced mortality in calves and greater milk production in cows. The addition of direct-fed microbials (DFM) to cow diets has been theorized to improve feed efficiency and milk production, with studies showing mixed results. However, few experiments have studied the effect of feeding DFM on colostrum quality. In this experiment two treatments were given, 1) DFM and 2) DFM and enzymes (DFME). Colostrum was analyzed to determine if yield, composition, and immunoglobulin (IgG and IgA) concentration were affected. Calf serum IgG and IgA concentrations were analyzed to determine if 24 h concentrations and apparent efficiency of absorption (AEA) were affected. There were no differences with regard to yield or IgA concentration. The percent of ash showed a positive trend, indicating a higher percentage with the treatments (P = 0.067). The treatments had no effect on the additional components analyzed. The results for the IgG concentration were not significant although an increase was observed from 79.1 mg/mL in the control to 91.1 mg/mL in the DFME treatment. Neither treatment had an effect on calf immunoglobulin concentration or AEA. Based on the results, feeding DFM or DFME improves percent ash and might increase IgG concentration, but further research is necessary.

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Dairy Science Commons