The use of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and measures of cattle temperament to predict feedlot perfromance of commercial beef cattle
Bouffiou, Jesse James
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The objective of this study was to identify small molecule metabolites in a serum sample taken at entry into the feedlot that can predict performance, and animal health. One-hundred and thirty-one Angus x Simmental steers from a single ranch were sampled at a commercial feedlot. Blood samples for metabolite analysis, chute score, exit velocity, and blood lactate concentration for temperament classification were collected in addition to feedlot performance data and carcass quality measurements. The GLM and LSM procedures of SAS were used to evaluate differences between temperament classifications. Steers were divided into three exit velocity classifications with fast animals having exit velocity greater than one standard deviation from the mean and slow animals having exit velocities lower than one standard deviation from the mean. Forty metabolites were quantified using 1H NMR Spectroscopy from serum. Metaboanalyst was used to analyze serum metabolites and phenotypic values using one way- ANOVA, PCA, PLS-DA, and a permutation test to cross validate. Data was normalized and scaled. No metabolites were predictive of any of the animal health metrics collected. Five metabolites were different in exit velocity class at p < 0.01 (methanol, isopropanol, lactate, isobutyrate, and pyruvate). Similarly, 7 metabolites were different between chute score classes at p < 0.01 (methanol, isobutyrate, creatinine, dimethyl sulfone, hippurate, isopropanol, and succinate). Furthermore, several metabolites in serum at entry in the feedlot were related to carcass quality metrics: back fat (urea and 2-hydroxyisobutyrate at p < 0.01), a trend for prediction of quality grade at p = 0.068, carcass value p = 0.085. The relationship between serum metabolites, feedlot performance traits, and eventual carcass quality warrants further research to elucidate the roles these metabolites play during the feedlot period and in predicting carcass merit.