Colostrum composition and immunoglobulin G content in dairy and dual-purpose cattle breeds.

Kessler, Evelyne C; Bruckmaier, Rupert M; Gross, Josef J (2020). Colostrum composition and immunoglobulin G content in dairy and dual-purpose cattle breeds. Journal of animal science, 98(8) Oxford University Press 10.1093/jas/skaa237

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Immunoglobulins (Ig) are essential components in the colostrum of bovine species that enable passive immunization of newborn calves. Concentrations of fat and protein are greater in colostrum compared with mature milk and represent a vital source of energy and nutrients. Colostral IgG was shown to vary between individual dairy cows, but comparative data on different breeds and performance levels are scarce. The objective of the present field study was to investigate the contents of total IgG, fat, protein, and lactose in colostrum in different Swiss and German dairy and dual-purpose breeds. We collected colostrum samples of 458 cows of 13 different breeds (dairy breeds: Brown Swiss, Swiss and German Holstein Friesian, and New Zealand Holstein; dual-purpose breeds: German Fleckvieh, Holstein Friesian × Montbéliarde, Montbéliarde, Murnau-Werdenfels, Original Braunvieh, Pinzgauer, Rhetic Gray, and Simmental; and beef-type crossbred: Charolais × Holstein Friesian). Colostrum samples were obtained between 5 and 900 min after calving and analyzed for total IgG, fat protein, and lactose contents. Immunoglobulin G concentrations varied between 12.7 and 204.0 mg/mL. No effect of breeding purpose (i.e., dairy or dual-purpose) nor of previous lactation yield on IgG content was observed. However, milking of cows for the first time later than 12 h after parturition resulted in lower colostrum IgG concentrations compared with colostrum harvest within 9 h after calving (P < 0.05). Multiparous cows had a higher colostral IgG concentration than primiparous cows (P < 0.0001). Overall, concentrations of IgG and other constituents in colostrum varied widely in the different cattle breeds. High-yielding dairy cows did not have poorer colostrum quality compared with lower-yielding animals or beef and dual-purpose breeds, which suggests an individually different transfer of circulating IgG into colostrum.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Physiology

UniBE Contributor:

Bruckmaier, Rupert and Gross, Josef Johann


500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)




Oxford University Press




Josef Johann Gross

Date Deposited:

01 Feb 2021 15:31

Last Modified:

16 Feb 2021 10:31

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

breed cattle colostrum dairy cow immunoglobulin G




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