Published online by Cambridge University Press: 23 August 2017
This research communication describes a study aimed at evaluating the effects of heat treatment of milk on growth performance, N retention, and hindgut's inflammatory status and bacterial populations using young dairy calves as a model. Twenty-one Holstein calves were randomly allocated to one of three treatments: raw milk (RM), pasteurised milk (PAST), or UHT milk (UHT). Calves were submitted to a N balance study, and a biopsy from the distal colon and a faecal sample were obtained from 5 animals per treatment to determine expression of several genes and potential changes in the hindgut's bacterial population. Milk furosine content was 33-fold greater in UHT than in RM and PAST milks. Calves receiving RM grew more than those fed UHT, and urinary N excretion was greatest in calves fed UHT. Quantification of Lactobacillus was lower in calves consuming PAST or UHT, and Gram negative bacteria were greater in UHT than in PAST calves. The expression of IL-8 in the hindgut's mucosa was lowest and that of IL-10 tended to be lowest in RM calves, and expression of claudin-4 tended to be greatest in UHT calves. In conclusion, the nutritional value of UHT-treated milk may be hampered because it compromises growth and increases N excretion in young calves and may have deleterious effects on the gut's bacterial population and inflammation status.