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Response to different sources of vitamin E orally injected and to various doses of vitamin E in calf starter on the plasma vitamin E level in calves around weaning

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Calves often face a lower plasma vitamin E level than the recommended level (3 µg/ml for adult cows) after weaning, a level which has been related to a good immune response. Two experiments were performed to determine the most effective source and level of vitamin E to be included in a calf starter to maintain the plasma vitamin E level above the recommended level after weaning. Experiment 1 (Exp 1) and experiment 2 (Exp 2) included a total of 32 and 40 calves, respectively, from 2 weeks before weaning until 2 weeks after weaning. In Exp 1, calves were orally injected a daily dose of different vitamin E sources including, no α-tocopherol (0 dose; Control), 200 mg/d of RRR-α-tocopherol (ALC), 200 mg/d of RRR-α-tocopheryl acetate (ACT), or 200 mg/d of all-rac-α-tocopheryl acetate (SYN). In Exp 2, a dose response study was carried out with 0, 60, 120, and 200 mg/kg of ALC in a pelleted calf starter. Final BW (100 ± 16 and 86 ± 11 kg) and average daily gain (956 ± 303 and 839 ± 176 g/d in Exp 1 and 2, respectively; mean ± SD) were unaffected by either source or level of α-tocopherol. In Exp 1, the plasma RRR-α-tocopherol level was affected by α-tocopherol source (P < 0.001), week (P < 0.001), and interaction between them (P < 0.001). At weaning time, the plasma RRR-α-tocopherol was 2.7, 2.1, 1.1, and 0.8 μg/ml in ALC, ACT, SYN, and Control, respectively. In Exp 2, the plasma α-tocopherol level was affected by ALC dose (P = 0.04), week (P < 0.001), and a tendency for an interaction between them was observed (P = 0.06). At weaning, a 36, 31, and 28% reduction in plasma α-tocopherol level was observed compared to the beginning of the experiment with 0, 60, and 120 mg/kg of ALC, respectively; however, with 200 mg/kg of ALC, a 9% increase in the plasma α-tocopherol level was observed. In addition, 200 mg/kg of ALC was able to maintain plasma α-tocopherol after weaning higher than the recommended level. The results showed that the ALC was the most efficient source of α-tocopherol supplementation to be used in a calf starter. In addition, the 200 mg/kg of ALC in the calf starter was the only effective dose to maintain the postweaning plasma vitamin E concentration at the recommended level after weaning and α-tocopherol similar to that observed before weaning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100492
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

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© 2022 The Author(s)

    Research areas

  • Concentrate pellet, Growth performance, Holstein calf, Stereoisomers, α-tocopherol

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