Effect of Dietary Supplementation of Glutathione on Blood Biochemical Changes and Growth Performances of Holstein Calves

  • Kim, Jong-Hyeong (Ruminant Nutrition and Anaerobe Laboratory, Department of Animal Science and Technology, Sunchon National University) ;
  • Mamuad, Lovelia L. (Ruminant Nutrition and Anaerobe Laboratory, Department of Animal Science and Technology, Sunchon National University) ;
  • Lee, Hyun-June (Dairy Science Division, National Institute of Animal Science) ;
  • Ki, Kwang-Seok (Dairy Science Division, National Institute of Animal Science) ;
  • Lee, Wang-Shik (College of Applied Life Sciences, Jeju National University) ;
  • Ha, Jong-K. (Department of Agricultural Biotechnology and Research Institute for Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Seoul National University) ;
  • Lee, Sang-Suk (Ruminant Nutrition and Anaerobe Laboratory, Department of Animal Science and Technology, Sunchon National University)
  • Received : 2011.06.08
  • Accepted : 2011.09.17
  • Published : 2011.12.01


The objective of this experiment was to evaluate the effect of dietary supplementation of glutathione (GSH) on health, solid feed consumption, nutrient intake, body weight gain (BWG), feed efficiency, blood metabolites and the occurrence of diarrhea in Holstein neonatal calves. The calves were fed plain milk as a control (CON) or milk with GSH supplementation. Sixteen calves were separated from their mothers immediately after birth, moved into individual cages and fed colostrum for the first three days. For GSH supplementation, three grams of GSH powder were mixed in 1.8 L of heat-treated milk and placed in a plastic bottle with a rubber nipple. The calves were fed GSH-supplemented milk only once out of four daily feedings. For the first 25 d, calves were fed 1.8 L of milk four times per day. Milk feeding frequency was reduced to three times per day from days 26 to 30, followed by twice a day from days 31 to 44, and once a day from days 45 to 49, after which they were weaned at day 50. Body weight gain (BWG), feed consumption, and growth performance were monitored until day 70. The dietary supplementation of GSH had no effect on daily feed intake and growth performance in growing calves. Hematological results revealed red blood cell distribution width (RDW) was lower, and mean corpuscular volume (MCV) was significantly higher in calves fed GSH. Serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) concentrations were lower in calves fed GSH. Rectal temperature at day 70 was higher in calves that did not receive GSH, while mean frequency of diarrhea and enteritis was less in calves fed GSH. It is concluded from the present study that BW gain, total dry matter intake (DMI), feed efficiency, and breathing rate did not differ between groups. However, there were some positive blood parameters and the mean frequency of diarrhea and enteritis was less in calves fed GSH compared to CON which did not receive GSH. With the results obtained, supplementation of GSH is highly recommended.


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