Impact of a protected essential oils on the intestinal microbiota of dairy cows
The intestinal microbiota is essential for enhanced gut health and adequate fiber digestion. Factors such as diet transition and the stress of parturition are associated with changes in the normal microbiota of cows. Microbiota manipulation to improve performance can be achieved by the use of feed additives, such as and essential oils and vitamins, but its mechanisms of action are not completely understood. Furthermore, changes in the fecal microbiota can directly influence the vaginal microbiota of cows, which has been indicated as a major player in fertility. This study aims to investigate the consequences of a new coated additive on the intestinal microbiota of dairy cows. To do that, 30 Holstein cows will be divided in 2 subsequent groups (treatment and non-treatment). Supplementation will start when cows are moved into a transition diet (21 days before estimated calving). Fecal samples and vaginal swabs will be collected before supplementation (D-21), and at D-7, D7 and D21. Blood samples will be taken at D7 and D21 for beta-hydroxy butyrate and cortisol levels. Next generation DNA sequencing will be used for microbiota characterization to investigate the potential of the additive to enhance beneficial bacteria and control stress-related imbalances.