Effects of phytonutrients and yeast culture supplementation on lactational performance and nutrient use efficiency in dairy cows

L. F. Martins, J. Oh, A. Melgar, M. Harper, E. W. Wall, A. N. Hristov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Yeast culture and phytonutrients are dietary supplements with distinct modes of action, and they may have additive effects on the performance of dairy cattle. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of a preparation of phytonutrients and a yeast culture from Saccharomyces cerevisiae on lactational performance, total-tract digestibility of nutrients, urinary nitrogen losses, energy metabolism markers, and blood cells in dairy cows. Thirty-six mid-lactation Holstein cows (10 primiparous and 26 multiparous) were used in an 8-wk randomized complete block design experiment with a 2-wk covariate period, 2 wk for adaptation to the diets, and a 4-wk experimental period for data and samples collection. Following a 2-wk covariate period, cows were blocked by days in milk, parity, and milk yield and randomly assigned to 1 of 3 treatments (12 cows per treatment): basal diet supplemented with 14 g/cow per day yeast culture (YC; S. cerevisiae), basal diet supplemented with 1.0 g/cow per day phytonutrients (PN; 5.5% cinnamaldehyde, 9.5% eugenol, and 3.5% capsicum oleoresin), or basal diet supplemented with a combination of YC and PN (YCPN). Treatments were top-dressed once daily on the total mixed ration at time of feeding. Dry matter intake, milk yield, and feed efficiency were not affected by treatments. Milk composition and energy-corrected milk yield were also not affected by supplementation of YC, PN, and YCPN. There were no differences in intake or total-tract digestibility of dietary nutrients among treatments. Compared with YC, the PN and YCPN treatments tended to decrease the proportion of short-chain fatty acids in milk fat. There was an additive effect of YC and PN supplementation on urinary urea nitrogen (UUN) excretion relative to total nitrogen intake. Cows fed a diet supplemented with YCPN had lower UUN excretion than cows in YC and tended to have lower UUN excretion compared with PN. Blood monocytes count and percentage were decreased in cows fed PN and YCPN diets compared with YC. Treatments did not affect concentrations of blood β-hydroxybutyrate and total fatty acids. Overall, lactational performance, digestibility of nutrients, energy metabolism markers, and blood cells were not affected by YC, PN, or YCPN supplementation. A combination of PN and YC had an additive effect on nitrogen excretion in dairy cows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1746-1756
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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