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By Natalya NOVIKOVA, Dr. Sc. (Biol.), Russian State Agricultural University (correspondence)
As many scientists and cattle breeders point out, about one half of the young livestock of cattle are lagging behind their physiological potential and in 20 to 25 percent of them this retardation is especially striking. The situation becomes especially bad when no optimal conditions are provided for the livestock in which farm animals could fully implement what experts call their genetic potential to the maximum extent. Our own current investigations in this field are aimed at achieving this objective by using biologically safe natural adaptogenes (substances promoting organism's resistance) such as parasminobenzoic, succinic, malic, fumaric, folic and other organic acids.
With farm animals producing plentiful progeny, such as pigs, practically all piglets have different weight and mass. Scientists and livestock specialists have spent lots of their time and efforts in order to find out can this difference be levelled out with time. Prolonged experiments carried out this country in 1949 by Nikolai Chirvinsky and Anton Maligonov led them to the conclusion about the impossibility of what they called a complete compensation of growth retardation (this applies not to the size of a farm animal, but to increasing its mass by feeding).
An organism, however, can make up for a temporary retardation in its development due to various causes (poor diet, diseases, etc.) if and
when it is placed in favorable conditions (feeding and upkeep). But, as proved by an abundance of data, the growth and development and the state of health of livestock are processes which are inseparably linked together. And that means that in order to improve the general condition of livestock one should rely not so much on veterinary treatment, but on helping an animal itself to overcome various ailments or upsets. This can be done by using various biologically active substances including the most effective natural adaptogenes mentioned above. The explanation for this approach is simple: most of these preparations possess no "energetic" properties. But they stimulate certain physiological functions of livestock which boosts its productivity and resistance to gastro-intestinal and lung ailments and improves metabolism in general.
The aforesaid does not mean, however, that the preparations under discussion replace or add to the livestock diet. Their role is different. In addition to the aforesaid functions, such biostimulators impact the exchange of proteins, lipids and minerals and "direct" the circulation of amino- and high-molecular fatty acids in the organism. In some cases such adaptogenic preparations can, by activating physiological processes, "make up for" the upset body functions and boost an animal's resistance and stability with respect to any pathological factor or process.
As a result, these biostimulators, while possessing no antibacterial properties (as different from antibiotics) help reduce murrain, especially among cubs, by 3 to 5 percent.
Using adaptogenes in the rations of underdeveloped, exhausted or re-convalescent animals can produce an increase of 50 to 100 percent.
Our numerous experiments indicate that the use of biologically active substances normalizes and increases the weight of: chicken-by 10-20 percent; piglets-by 12-17 percent; sheep-by 10-15 percent and horned cattle-by 10-22 percent. This happens because under the effect of the preparations animal organism is able to overcome the negative impacts of pesticides, stresses and other adverse factors.
Our Institute researchers, including Yury Svechin, Dr. Sc. (Agric.), Igor Shilov and Yekaterina Reznikova (both Cand. Sc.) and Tatyana Romanenko (Cand. Sc. Biol.) carried out a range of experiments on piglets, calves, chicken and also polar foxes and minks and have come to the conclusion that adaptogenes not only promote the development of an animal, but have a broader range of impact. For example, a onetime administration of microdozes of biologically active substances can boost females' fertility and activate sexual glands. The introduction of bioadditives into the rations of animals helps improve the quality of meat, furs, etc.
Deserving of special attention among the suggested preparations are those which do not accumulate in body tissues and cause allergies. The best in this respect are vegetable-based preparations such as eleuterococcus and natural metabolites such as citric, fumaric, gammaaminobutyric and other organic acids. The best of them are considered to be the paraaminobenzoic (PABA) and succinic acids and MELACRIL preparation and we shall take a closer look at them now.
PABA is a white crystalline substance which gets a yellowish tint in storage; it well dissolves in water and alcohol and not so well in ethanol and ester. Some specialists attach it to vitamins, others-to vitamin-like substances. It is very common in nature: contained in animal and plant tissues, foodstaffs and microorganisms. Large amongst of it are present in the liver, kidneys, milk, mushrooms, easts and rice bran. It promotes the growth of many microorganisms (including those in human and animal intestines) and is an indispensable vitamin for the normal vital activities of mammals.
The biological role of PABA as a fodder additive is determined by the fact that it is transformed by the intestine microflora into vitamin B c which, in its turn, promotes the formation of tetrahydrophloic acid-the carrier of a range of enzymes promoting nitrogen exchanges in the organism.
As has been mentioned, PABA controls the "development" of certain aminoacids, including methionine, from which begins the synthesis of any protein filament on ribosomes.
In a word, it is not accidental that this substance is widely used today to boost crop productivity. Its addition to cattle rations helps improve their physiological status, growth, reproductive functions and the standards of farm products.
Another preparation which is being used at cattle farms is succinic
acid-an important link in the Krebs tricarboxylic acids cycle*. Its main features is good solubility in water and rapid evacuation from the body. Our studies have proved that the acid and its salts possess good adaptogenic properties and a number of other assets which help maintain the necessary levels of oxygen which normalize the energy and carbohydrate exchange and the general physiological condition of the organism. They also boost the processes of synthesis in various body organs in pathologies under the impact of extreme factors and eliminate metabolic acidosis** which simply means restoring normal metabolism.
In laboratory animals which received succinate and its salts with drinking water for a period of two months, the level of protein in the liver and skeleton muscles rose by 1.3 times with the levels of lipids, glucose and glycogen*** dropping in proportion. In the blood of lab animals there was a drop in the levels of protein, cholesterol and glucose. Succinate reduces the impact of all kinds of technological stresses upon animals and boosts reproductive functions and productivity.
As we all know, all living organisms are functioning and developing in keeping with biological rhythms, and it was believed until recently that rhythms are controlled by light. This theory, however, has been dashed by numerous studies conducted over the past few decades. It turns out that the vital function is actually performed by hormone melatonin, synthesized by the pineal gland**** in greater volumes at night or in artificial darkness.
Continued comprehensive biological, biochemical and related tests proved that the hormone is also produced by other organs and tissues- the intestine, lungs, pancreas and adrenal glands. The broad presence of melatonin in the body (in blood, lymph, urine, saliva and spinal fruid) determines its major role in maintaining homeostasis as the universal regulator of biological rhythms.
This influence of the substance on the organism put it into the focus of attention of scientists in various countries back in the 1970s. We joined these studies somewhat later, starting experiments on fur-bearing animals only in 1983. These studies were carried out in conjunction with researchers of the Scientific Research Institute of Pedigree Fur-Breeding named after V. Afanasyev, the All-Russia Scientific Research Institute of Molecular Technologies and the
All-Russia Institute of Chemico-Physical Research named after S. Ordzhonikidze. On the basis of an isolated hormone the MELAKRIL preparation for hypodermic injections was produced. Administered to puppies of fur animals, the preparation boosted their appetite, thus increasing their mass. Histological studies of the skin indicated marked improvements in the quality of fur. In adult animals, treated with the preparation in late May, the "ripening" of the fur was reduced by 65-80 days. And this result was achieved with only one administration.
We tested MELAKRIL on minks of different color. The biggest skins were from animals of dark-brown and pastel colors. In minks of sapphire and silvery-blue shades there were no conventional yellow patches on the belly. The immune system of the animals was consolidated and blood composition improved with the practical disappearance of the Aleutian
* Krebs tricarboxylic acids cycle-cyclic fermentative process of complete oxidation and living organisms of activated acetic acid down to CO 2 and water; the final stage of the decomposition in the body of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.- Ed.
** Acidosis-an abnormal state of reduced alkalinity of the blood and body tissues. -Ed.
*** Glycogen-polysaccharide synthesized in the body cells from hexoses and stored as reserve carbohydrate; the main reserve carbohydrate in man and animals. - Ed.
**** Pineal gland-organ of the vertebrates and man, a cone-shaped mass attached to the posterior end of the root of the 3rd ventricle of the brain.- Ed.
disease (reduced blood resistance leading to inferior furs). From 1998 to 2000 experts of the Chair of Technologies of Cattle-Breeding Products of our University studied for the first time the possibility of what they called compensations for pupplies with growth retardation. We assessed the optimal doses of PABA, succinic acid and METAKRIL on polar foxes, broiler chicken, calves and sucking-pigs, the patterns and forms of drugs administration and their effectiveness. It was established that adding to rations of PABA in doses of 1 mg/kg of live mass, beginning from 3 days after birth and up to 9 days later, and then another such course of feeding after 40 days of growth, makes it possible to make up to a considerable extent for the growth and development of what were originally born as hypotrophic mink pupplies. The difference in what we call "live mass" in the test group of 4 months reached 0.40 kg as compared with the control and in body size-0.15 cm in favor of the treated minks. 8 months later these figures were 0.50 kg and 3.67 respectively. The fur quality in the test group was also higher by an average of 1.48-3.67 percent, which made the fur more expensive.
In the course of the tests were also determined the optimal doses for subcutaneous implantations of MELAKRIL. For minks it turned out to be 5.0 mg.
On the basis of our recommendations breeders at the Saltykovsky farm of the Moscow Region reduced the time of maturation of "winter" furs of minks by an average of 44 days.
Our experiments make it possible to assume that the use of natural adaptogens (such as PABA, succinic acid and MELAKRIL) is one of the most promising trends not only for protecting the numbers and the health of the cubs, for achieving the best results in their subsequent growth and development.
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