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The use of modern metabolomics and proteomics to address the health challenges facing the Canadian cattle industry Open Access


Other title
prion diseases
Health challenges, cattle, metabolomics, proteomic, LPS, BSE
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Supervisor and department
Supervisor: Dr.David Wishart (Departments of Biological Sciences and Computing Science) cosupervisor:Dr. Burim Ametaj (Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science)
Examining committee member and department
Dr.David Wishart (Departments of Biological Sciences and Computing Science)
Dr. Lisa Stein (Department of Biological Sciences)
Dr.Judd Aiken (Prion center)
Dr. Burim Ametaj (Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science)
Dr.Brain Sykes (Department of Biochemistry)
Department of Biological Sciences
Micobiology and Biotechnology
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Naturally cattle only consumed grass, hay and other forage crops but modern cattle industry has started shifting them from a natural grazing diet to a more balanced grain-rich diet. However, feeding dairy cows grain rich diet is associated with a rapid release of large amounts of SCFA that have been linked to acute and sub-acute rumen acidosis and related metabolic diseases. However, one disease in particular had more profound impact than all of other disaeses-- bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). When BSE was discovered in Alberta in 2003 it nearly wiped out Canada’s beef export industry. The central objective of my thesis is to address: 1) Ruminal acidosis and acidosis-related metabolic disorders, 2) BSE, commonly known as mad mcow disease. More specifically, I tested the hypothesis that modern cattle feeding practices (i.e. grain rich diets) significantly changed the rumen environment, its chemical composition and is responsible for all of these conditions. Metabolomics is such a powerful approach for studying the chemical changes in biological systems. To test these hypotheses, I chose to use modern metabolomics techniques including NMR, GC-MS and DFI-MS to characterize the ruminal fluid of dairy cattle fed with different diets. From these experiments I determined that grain-rich diets led to ruminal acidosis along with unusually high levels of ruminal LPS. Based on the association of high-grain diets with various metabolic diseases, this suggests that feeding practices lower the ruminal pH and alter the chemical content of the ruminal fluid, thereby leading to elevated levels of LPS which, in turn, lead to greater risk for developing these diseases. LPS induces the conversion of helical native prion proteins into protease-resistant, beta-sheet rich proteins similar to that of infectious prions. This suggests that elevated levels of LPS in the rumen from grain-rich diets may also play a role in the induction of BSE.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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