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Feeding Tall Fescue Seed during Mid and Late Gestation Influences Subsequent Postnatal Growth, Puberty, and Carcass Quality of Offspring

Authors
  • Greene, Maslyn A.1
  • Britt, Jessica L.1
  • Bertrand, J. Keith1
  • Klotz, James L.
  • Bridges, William Jr.
  • Andrae, John G.
  • Duckett, Susan K.1
  • 1 (J.K.B.)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Animals : an Open Access Journal from MDPI
Publisher
MDPI
Publication Date
Oct 12, 2020
Volume
10
Issue
10
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3390/ani10101859
PMID: 33053893
PMCID: PMC7601090
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Simple Summary Little is known about the exposure to ergot alkaloids, a class of mycotoxins, during fetal development on subsequent post-weaning growth, puberty, and carcass quality of the offspring. This study evaluated post-weaning growth, puberty attainment, and carcass quality in lambs that were exposed to endophyte-infected or endophyte-free tall fescue seed during different stages of gestation. Puberty was delayed in ewe lambs that were exposed to ergot alkaloids during late gestation. Ergot alkaloid exposure had minor effects on growth and carcass traits in wether lambs fed high concentrates but alterations in fat deposition and tenderness were observed. These results indicate that exposure to ergot alkaloids during gestation does alter subsequent post-weaning puberty attainment and body composition of the offspring. Abstract Weaned lambs ( n = 82), born to ewes fed endophyte-free (E−) or endophyte-infected (E+; 1.77 mg hd−1 d−1 ergovaline + ergovalinine) tall fescue seed from d 35 to 85 of gestation (MID) and/or d 86 of gestation to parturition (LATE), were used to examine how ergot alkaloid exposure during fetal development altered subsequent puberty attainment or carcass quality. Lambs were weaned at 75 d of age and separated by sex to assess puberty in ewe lambs ( n = 39) and to evaluate growth, carcass and meat quality in wethers ( n = 43). Data were analyzed with maternal fescue treatment, stage of gestation, and two-way interaction in the model. Age at puberty tended ( P = 0.06) to be longer for ewe lambs born to dams fed E+ fescue during LATE gestation versus those fed E−. Post-weaning average daily gain tended to be higher ( P = 0.07) for wether lambs born to dams fed E+ fescue seed during MID gestation compared to E−. Exposure to ergot alkaloids during fetal growth altered ( P < 0.10) longissimus muscle weight and color, lipid deposition, fatty acid composition, and shear force values of semimembranosus muscle in wether lambs. These results indicate that exposure to ergot alkaloids in utero does alter subsequent post-weaning puberty attainment and body composition in offspring.

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