Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 477–480 | Cite as

Spirulina supplementation during the transition period by grazing dairy cattle at tropical highland conditions

  • C. N. Garcés
  • D. Vela
  • A. Mullo
  • V. Cabezas
  • A. Alvear
  • C. H. PonceEmail author
Short Communications


The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the effects of spirulina supplementation on oxidative stress, immunity, and productive performance during the transition period by grazing dairy cattle. Thirty multiparous gestating cows with an initial body weight (BW = 544 ± 57 kg) were enrolled in this experiment and were stratified by expected calving date. Cows were randomly assigned to one of the three experimental groups: (1) control, no supplementation of spirulina; (2) spirulina-15 (15 g/day of spirulina); and (3) spirulina-30 (30 g/day of spirulina). Body weight and body condition score (BCS) were recorded and blood samples were collected at − 21, 1, and 14 days, relative to calving. The day of parturition, colostrum and blood samples from calves were collected to measure IgG concentrations. After parturition milk yield, milk components and somatic cell count were monitored. Body weight, BW loss, BCS, and total antioxidant capacity were not affected by spirulina supplementation (P > 0.23) at any time point measured. Milk yield, milk components, and somatic cell count were not altered by treatment (P > 0.13). Results from this experiment suggest neither positive nor negative effects of spirulina supplementation on oxidative stress and productive performance during the transition period.


Dairy cattle Oxidative stress Spirulina 



The authors appreciate the help of Ms. Martha Alicia Perez owner of the dairy farm “Hacienda Guagrabamba” and their entire workforce for their invaluable assistance and data collection.

Compliance of ethical standards

The study was conducted following the Guidelines for Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching and FASS.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Abuelo, A., M. Pérez-Santos, J. Hernández, and C. Castillo. 2014. Effect of colostrum redox balance on the oxidative status of calves during the first 3 months of life and the relationship with passive immune acquisition. The Veterinary Journal. 199:295–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Atakisi, O., H. Oral, E. Atakisi, O. Merhan, S. Metin, A. Ozcan, S. Marasli, B. Polat, A. Colak, and S. Kaya. 2010. Subclinical mastitis causes alterations in nitric oxide, total oxidant and antioxidant capacity in cow milk. Research in Veterinary Sci. 89:10–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bernabucci, U., B. Ronchi, N. Lacetera, and A. Nardone. 2005. Influence of Body Condition Score on Relationships Between Metabolic Status and Oxidative Stress in Periparturient Dairy Cows. Journal of Dairy Sci. 88:2017–2026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bhat, V. B., and K. M. Madyastha. 2001. Scavenging of Peroxynitrite by Phycocyanin and Phycocyanobilin from Spirulina platensis: Protection against Oxidative Damage to DNA. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 285:262–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boerman, J. P., C. L. Preseault, J. Kraft, H. M. Dann, and A. L. Lock. 2014. Effect of antioxidant supplementation on milk production, milk fat synthesis, and milk fatty acids in dairy cows when fed a diet designed to cause milk fat depression. Journal of Dairy Sci. 97:1077–1081.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Christaki, E., M. Karatzia, E. Bonos, P. Florou-Paneri and C. Karatzias. 2012. Effect of Dietary Spirulina platensis on milk fatty acid profile of dairy cows. Asian Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances 7 (7): 597–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fahey, J. L., and E. M. Mickelvey. 1965. Quantitative Determination of Serum Immunoglobulins in Antibody-Agar Plates. J. Immunol. 94:84–90.Google Scholar
  8. FASS. 2010. Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Research and Teaching. 3rd ed. Federation of Animal Science Societies, Champaign, IL.Google Scholar
  9. Halliwell, B. and J. M. C. Gutteridege. 2015. Free radicals in biology and medicine, 5th ed. Oxford University Press, New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. He, M., and L. E. Armentano. 2011. Effect of fatty acid profile in vegetable oils and antioxidant supplementation on dairy cattle performance and milk fat depression. Journal of Dairy Sci. 94:2481–2491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kamada, H., I. Nonaka, Y. Ueda, and M. Murai. 2007. Selenium Addition to Colostrum Increases Immunoglobulin G Absorption by Newborn Calves. Journal of Dairy Sci. 90:5665–5670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kulpys, J., E. Paulauskas, V. Pilipavicius, and R. Stankevicius. 2009. Influence of cyanobacteria Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis biomass additive towards the body condition of lactation cows and biochemical milk indexes. Agronomy Research. 7:823–835.Google Scholar
  13. Lykkesfeldt, J. and O. Svendsen. 2007. Oxidants and antioxidants in disease: Oxidative stress in farm animals. The Veterinary Journal 173:502–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mandebvu, P., J. B. Castillo, D. J. Steckley, and E. Evans. 2003. Total antioxidant capacity: A tool for evaluating the nutritional status of dairy heifers and cows. Can. J. Anim. Sci: 605–608.Google Scholar
  15. Miller, N. J., C. Rice-Evans, M. J. Davies, V. Gopinathan, and A. Milner. 1993. A novel method for measuring antioxidant capacity and its application to monitoring the antioxidant status in premature neonates. Clinical Sci. 84:407–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Sordillo, L. M. and S. L. Aitken. 2009. Impact of oxidative stress on the health and immune function of dairy cattle. Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 128:104–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Spears, J. W. and W. P. Weiss. 2008. Role of antioxidants and trace elements in health and immunity of transition dairy cows. The Veterinary Journal. 176:70–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Suriyasathaporn, W., U. Vinitketkumnuen, T. Chewonarin, S. Boonyayatra, K. Kreausukon, and Y. H. Schukken. 2006. Higher somatic cell counts resulted in higher malondialdehyde concentrations in raw cows’ milk. Int. Dairy J. 16:1088–1091.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Turk, A. D. Juretic, D. Gerês, A. Svetina, N. Turk, and Z. Flegar-Mestric. 2008. Influence of oxidative stress and metabolic adaptation on PON1 activity and MDA level in transition dairy cows. Animal Reproduction Sci. 108:98–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Vázquez-Añón, M., J. Nocek, G. Bowman, T. Hampton, C. Atwell, P. Vázquez, and T. Jenkins. 2008. Effects of Feeding a Dietary Antioxidant in Diets with Oxidized Fat on Lactation Performance and Antioxidant Status of the Cow. Journal of Dairy Sci. 91:3165–3172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Xu, C. Z., H. F. Wang, J. Y. Yang, J. H. Wang, Z. Y. Duan, C. Wang, J. X. Liu, and Y. Lao. 2014. Effects of feeding lutein on production performance, antioxidative status, and milk quality of high-yielding dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Sci. 97:7144–7150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Yokus, B., S. Bademkiran, and D. U. Cakir. 2007. Total anti-oxidant capacity and oxidative stress in dairy cattle and their associations with dystocia. Medycyna Wet. 63:167–170.Google Scholar
  23. Yuan, K., R. D. Shaver, S. J. Bertics, M. Espineira, and R. R. Grummer. 2012. Effect of rumen-protected niacin on lipid metabolism, oxidative stress, and performance of transition dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Sci. 95:2673–2679.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Zheng, J., T. Inoguchi, S. Sasaki, Y. Maeda, M. McCarty, M. Fujii, N. Ikeda, K. Kobayashi, N. Sonoda, and R. Takayanagi. 2013. Phycocyanin and phycocyanobilin from Spirulina platensis protect against diabetic nephropathy by inhibiting oxidative stress. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 304:110–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. N. Garcés
    • 1
  • D. Vela
    • 2
  • A. Mullo
    • 2
  • V. Cabezas
    • 2
  • A. Alvear
    • 2
  • C. H. Ponce
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Escuela de Medicina Veterinaria, Colegio de Ciencias de la SaludUniversidad San Francisco de Quito USFQQuitoEcuador
  2. 2.Departamento de Ciencias de la Vida y AgriculturaUniversidad de las Fuerzas Armadas ESPESangolquíEcuador

Personalised recommendations