Heat treatment of colostrum increases immunoglobulin G absorption efficiency in high-, medium-, and low-quality colostrum

S. L. Gelsinger, S. M. Gray, C. M. Jones, A. J. Heinrichs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Previous studies with heat-treated colostrum fed to neonatal calves have consistently used average-quality colostrum. Studies have not compared colostrum across a range of immunoglobulin levels. This study was conducted to investigate IgG absorption in neonatal dairy calves using colostrum of various qualities. Colostrum from the Pennsylvania State University dairy was collected over 2 yr and sorted into high, medium, and low quality based on colostrometer measurement. Colostrum within each category was pooled to create 3 unique, uniform batches. Half of each batch was frozen to be fed without heat treatment. The second half of each batch was heat treated at 60°C for 30min. This process was conducted in September 2011, and repeated in June 2012. Colostrum treatments were analyzed for standard plate count, coliforms, noncoliform gram-negative bacteria, and total IgG concentration. Plasma samples were collected from 145 calves 48h after birth and analyzed for IgG1, IgG2, total protein, and hematocrit. Colostrum quality (high, medium, or low), treatment (unheated or heat treated), and their interactions were analyzed as fixed effects, with year included as a random effect. Heat treatment significantly reduced all types of bacteria and IgG concentration. Plasma IgG concentration at 48h increased linearly with the concentration of IgG in the colostrum that was consumed. Heat treatment of colostrum increased plasma IgG concentration by 18.4% and apparent efficiency of absorption by 21.0%. Results of this study suggest that heat treatment of colostrum containing approximately 50 to 100mg IgG/mL increases absorption of IgG from colostrum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2355-2360
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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