The effect of condensed tannins on immune response in beef cattle



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Selection for nutrients alone is likely insufficient to account for highly variable ruminant diets. Selection for plant secondary compounds may occur to rectify deficiencies and even self-medicate. This study investigates the relationship between condensed tannins and immune response. Twenty angus heifers were randomly assigned treatment groups. All heifers were offered 4% body weight in feed, daily. Treatment feed contained 6% grape/blueberry pomace as a source of tannins. Intake was measured for the duration of the trial (21 days). On day 15, heifers were vaccinated with modified-live IBR/BVD vaccine. Body temperatures and blood (erythrocytes, leukocytes, and immunoglobulins) were collected pre/post-inoculation. Treatment group intake was higher post-inoculation (P ≤ 0.05). Blood data and average daily gain were similar among treatments. A significant, though apparently artifactual, group-day interaction was observed for body temperature. While a relationship between condensed tannins and immune cells/antibody production was not established, intake results suggest tannins may still be relevant.



tannins, animal science, secondary compounds