Just submitted: Comparison of microalgae and rapeseed meal as supplementary protein for dairy cows

Update November 6, 2017: This article has now been accepted for publication in Animal Feed Science and Technology, and is currently in press. See the article on publisher’s web page: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0377840117305382 At he moment, due to embargo period of this journal I’m unfortunately unable to share publicly the full-text version of this article. If you are interested in reading the full-text of this article, please contact me via this blog or email (marjukka dot lamminen (a) helsinki dot fi).

Post originally published Published on May 3, 2017:

I’m happy to announce that yesterday we submitted the first paper of our research group about the use of microalgae as a protein feed for dairy cow nutrition. In this paper we present the results of two physiological experiments where we evaluated microalgae (Spirulina platensis or the mixture of Spirulina platensis and Chlorella vulgaris) as a protein supplement in the nutrition of lactating dairy cows in relation to unsupplemented and rapeseed supplemented diets. The experiments were conducted in University of Helsinki, Finland.

The key findings of this paper:

  • Microalgae did not affect dry matter intake or milk yield of dairy cows but the poorer palatability of microalgae decreased the proportion of concentrate in the diet in comparison to rapeseed meal.
  • Substitution of rapeseed meal by microalgae tended to decrease milk protein yield.
  • Compared to rapeseed meal, microalgae resulted in poorer nitrogen utilisation.
  • Histidine supply may have been suboptimal on microalgae supplemented diets. Histidine is typically the first amino acid limiting milk production in grass silage and cereal based dairy cow diets, which comprised the basal diet of animals in current experiments.
  • Microalgae is suitable protein feed for dairy cows, though the protein value is likely lower than that of rapeseed meal.

We are hoping for a quick review process after of which we are able to share more information about our recent findings!This paper is a part of my doctoral thesis which comprises in total of 4 to 5 scientific articles. In the following papers we will e.g. compare different microalgae species to soya bean meal, and study the effects of microalgae feeding on milk fatty acid composition, and nitrogen and phosphorus use efficiency of lactating dairy cows.

Article details:

  • Authors: Marjukka Lamminen, Anni Halmemies-Beauchet-Filleau, Tuomo Kokkonen, Ilkka Simpura, Seija Jaakkola and Aila Vanhatalo.
  • Title: Comparison of microalgae and rapeseed meal as supplementary protein in the grass silage-based nutrition of dairy cows.
  • Submitted to: Animal Feed Science and Technology.
  • Accepted for publication: October 2017.
  • Link to the article: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0377840117305382