IssueM Articles

Success of African Cattle Linked to Admixture Event 1,000 Years Ago

If cattle had or 23andMe (er, make that 31andMe), it would look a lot like this study. An international team of researchers sequenced the DNA of 172 cattle from 16 breeds indigenous to Africa to understand their genetic history and identify genetic markers for traits related to the cattle’s survival and success (and that of the pastoralist populations who rely on them) across the continent over the last several millennia.

The Early Influence of Breastfeeding on the Infant Immune Response

Breastfeeding is known to have several long-term impacts on health and immunity, including a lower incidence of allergy, asthma, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. But researchers still know relatively little about the development of the immune system within the first few weeks of life, and about the effect of breastfeeding on this early immune development.

Immune System-stimulating Proteins Influence the Development of the Neonatal Microbiome and Immune System

In a new study, Dr. Viemann Dorothee of Hannover Medical School and her colleagues investigated the role of certain proteins found at high levels in breast milk, S100A8 and S100A9, in the development of the microbiome and early immune responses. Breast milk contains extremely high levels of S100A8 and S100A9, and these proteins are also found at high levels in healthy breast-fed infants. Physiologically, these proteins form a complex (S100A8-A9) known as calprotectin.

Dental Time Machines: Tartar Provides Direct Evidence of Dairy Consumption in Africa

Six-thousand-year-old tartar is a dental hygienist’s nightmare but an archaeologist’s dream. That’s because the same yellow, cement-like deposits that have to be manually scraped off during a dental visit are also dietary time capsules. Like an insect preserved in amber, food particles from a lifetime of meals get trapped in tartar’s mineral matrix and become part of the fossil record. Rather than infer what past populations might have eaten, researchers can analyze ancient plaque and say what one particular individual actually ate.

Primate Milk Microbiome Reveals Shared and Unique Features

Mammalian milk was once thought to be free of bacteria, but it is now well understood that milk has its own microbiome, or community of bacteria. Although only recently “discovered,” microbes were likely one of milk’s original ingredients and have an evolutionarily ancient relationship with their mammal hosts. Many bacterial species are likely common to all. But because some bacterial strains could potentially benefit infant health by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut or enhancing infant immunity, there may have been numerous opportunities for the evolution of species-specific milk bacterial communities. Does each mammal, including humans, pass on its own unique mix of bacterial strains in milk or is there a more general milk microbiome shared across mammals?

The Environmental and Nutritional Impact of Removing Dairy Cattle

The United States dairy industry is a major contributor to the US food and nutrient supply. Dairy products are a major source of protein, calcium, and many essential vitamins not just in the US but all over the world. The US dairy industry also accounts for 16 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions from all of US agriculture, and contributes roughly 1.58 percent of the total US greenhouse gas emissions.

The Promise and Challenges of Producing Human Milk in the Lab

Breastfeeding is known to be both nutritious and beneficial to the health of infants, including improving their immunity and helping to protect them from infections. However, not everyone is able to breastfeed, and many mothers have to rely on donor milk or formula instead.

Replacing Red Meat with Dairy Could Lower the Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

From eating clean to eating like a caveman, there is no shortage of fad diets promising weight loss and improved health. But what is trendy might not always be effective. Although dietary regimes that eschew carbohydrates and focus on proteins seem ideal for keeping blood sugars in check, not all proteins have the same effect on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, and some can even increase the risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). For people wanting to maintain a high protein diet, a new study offers some helpful guidance—replacing red meat consumption with other protein sources, including dairy, lowers the risk of developing T2DM.

The Effects of Dairy on Metabolic Risk Depend on the Type of Dairy Product Consumed

Researchers have long been interested in understanding the effects of different types of dairy products on cardiometabolic health. Studies have looked at the effects of consuming different types of dairy on metabolic markers such as body weight, body fat, lean mass, or cholesterol. Although some studies have found that dairy products are associated with lower cardiometabolic disease incidence, other study results have been mixed or inconclusive. As a result, there’s still a lot researchers don’t know about the effects of long-term habitual dairy consumption on cardiometabolic risk, or the potential pathways linking the two.

3D  Printing Milk-based Products while Maintaining Their Nutrients

As 3D printers have become more affordable and accessible over the past 10 years, their potential applications have also increased. One emerging application of 3D printing is food printing, which could enable the creation of aesthetically pleasing food products with customized nutrients and internal structures.