Effects of antibiotic residues in milk on growth, ruminal fermentation, and microbial community of preweaning dairy calves.J Dairy Sci 2019; 102(3):2298-2307JD
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of antibiotic residues in milk on growth, ruminal fermentation, and microbial community of dairy calves in their first 35 d of age. Twenty newborn Holstein bull calves were assigned to 1 of 2 treatments equally: milk replacer without antibiotics (control) and milk replacer plus 4 antibiotics: 0.024 mg/L of penicillin, 0.025 mg/L of streptomycin, 0.1 mg/L of tetracycline, and 0.33 mg/L of ceftiofur (ANT). Starter intake and fecal consistency scores of each calf were recorded on a daily basis. Body weight, withers height, body length, and heart girth were measured on d 1, 7, 14, 21, 28, and 35 before feeding in the morning. Rumen fluid was collected on d 15, 25, and 35 to determine ruminal pH, volatile fatty acids (VFA), and NH3-N concentrations. A total of 10 (5 per treatment) samples of rumen fluid taken on d 35 were analyzed for microbial community. Rumen tissues from the cranial ventral sac and cranial dorsal sac were collected from 8 calves of each group for morphology analysis on d 35 after being harvested. The results showed that calves in 2 treatments had similar starter intake, body weight, withers height, body length, heart girth, and average daily gain. The ANT group showed a lower diarrhea frequency in wk 4, and no differences were found for other weeks. Calves in the ANT group exhibited a greater concentration of acetic acid in the rumen and no differences for other VFA, total VFA, rumen pH, or NH3-N. As for rumen morphology, the length of papillae from cranial ventral sac of the ANT group was longer than that of the control group. The results of ruminal microbial community showed that antibiotic residues had minor effects on bacteria phyla and bacteria diversity. At the genus level, calves in the ANT group showed lower richness of Prevotella and higher richness of Acetitomaculum. In conclusion, antibiotic residues stimulated the development of ruminal papillae and increased the production of acetic acid in rumen, which might be caused by the influence of antibiotics on the ruminal microbial community.