Sheep milk: A pertinent functional food
Arpita Mohapatra, Ajay Kumar Shinde, Raghvendar Singh
Modern human diet and changes in lifestyle are emerging as a challenge in developing countries resulting to endless ailments. Thus, in modern spectra of human health, bioactive foods play a pivotal role. Under the umbrella of food and nutrition security, functional dairy foods have become the need of the hour. Sheep milk is one of the functionally active dairy foods and it is also considered as nutritional powerhouse. The beneficial role of sheep milk results from its fatty acid, immunoglobulin and non-immune protein contents. In human gut, milk proteins turn into excellent source of bioactive peptides with antioxidative, antimicrobial, antihypertensive, immunomodulatory and antithrombotic role. It is also used in anti-ageing formulations and cosmetic soap preparations to soothe psoriasis and skin eczema like chronic conditions. The unique physicochemical and biochemical properties of sheep milk also include prebiotics and probiotics which make it perfect functional food for human health promotion and disease risk reduction. The milk from Indian sheep is relished by the shepherds and their households. They claim that it has many health benefits, but it is an untapped area by the Indian researchers. The major challenge in Indian prospect is non availability of dairy sheep breed, but their milk functional potential cannot be ignored. This review is focused on worldwide work done on sheep milk for its unique functional characteristics.
Sheep milk; Milk composition; Functional food; Bioactive peptides
Contribution of small ruminants to food security for Ethiopian smallholder farmers
Hiwot DestaWodajo, Biruk Alemu Gemeda, Wole Kinati, Annet Abenakyo Mulem, Anouka van Eerdewijk, Barbara Wieland
This study investigates how and to what extent arguments related to food security influence preference of livestock species for women and men. Data was collected in four regions of Ethiopia through 92 focus group discussions (FGD) in communities where small ruminant production is common, Using a gender sensitive study designs, 23 FGDs were held separately with men, women and youth (male and female), and through a household survey involving 217 male and 212 women. Qualitative analysis was conducted to extract reasons given to explain the importance of livestock. Reasons related to food security were mapped to the four dimensions underpinning food security—accessibility, availability, nutritional value and stability. All FGDs considered sheep the most important livestock species, followed by cattle, with women allocating higher scores to sheep than men. All four dimensions of food security came up in statements explaining the importance of species but with variations across species. Interestingly, food security related arguments were most prevalent for goats followed by poultry. Of reasons given by women concerning the importance of goats, 78 % were related to food security with all four dimensions represented, and 52 % for poultry with two dimensions (availability and nutritional value). Answers from men especially had a stronger focus on economic reasons directly linked to income generation. Nevertheless, 64 % of men’s arguments for goats were related to food security. For sheep however, women only scored higher for arguments related to availability. When investigating purpose of small ruminant production at household level through a household survey, the importance of small ruminants for food security were confirmed; however, gender differences were less apparent. Being able to sell animals at short notice was the main reason for keeping small ruminants for both women and men followed by meat and milk for home consumption. Women’s argument for prioritizing selling were accessibility. For men, key arguments for selling were related to availability. For meat and milk their nutritional value was an important argument. Comparing agroecologies, accessibility (selling) was ranked top in highland areas and nutritional value (milk) was most important in lowland areas. In conclusion, this study provides much needed evidence on how small ruminants contribute to different dimensions of food security and are promising entry points targeting women to improve food and nutritional security by providing adequate animal source foods in a household.
Gender; Small ruminants; Food security; Preference; Ethiopia
A review of dystocia in sheep
Caroline Jacobson, Mieghan Bruce, Paul R.Kenyon, Amy Lockwood, David Miller, Gordon Refshauge, David G. Masters
This review aims to describe the nutritional and non-nutritional factors that may affect parturition and dystocia in sheep. Dystocia is associated with fetopelvic disproportion, uterine inertia, failure of the cervix to fully dilate, malpresentation and disease or congenital defects in lambs. Dystocia can result in lambs that are born dead, or lambs that survive parturition but sustain birth injury including central nervous system damage. Dystocia risk is increased with high or low birthweight lambs, high (fat) or low liveweight ewes, and small first parity ewes. Other factors implicated include low muscle glycogen, pregnancy toxaemia, mineral imbalance causing hypocalcaemia, and a lack of antioxidant nutrients. Addressing these risks requires differential nutritional management for single and multiple bearing ewes. There is also evidence for stress and environmentally related dystocia. The stress related hormones cortisol, adrenaline and ACTH play a major role in the initiation and control of parturition in the sheep indicating a need for adequate supervision during lambing, provision of adequate feed and shelter at the lambing site, and small flock size to reduce physical and environmental stress. Hormonal control of parturition can be further disrupted by xenoestrogens or phytoestrogens in clovers and medics. Oestrogenic plants are still widely grown in mixed pastures but should be not be grazed by pregnant ewes. There is clearly a genetic component to dystocia. This is partly explained by incompatibility in physical size and dimensions of the ram, ewe and lamb. A rapid reduction in dystocia through direct genetic selection is problematic with low heritability of dystocia and some of its indicator traits such as lambing ease. This review provides broad interpretation of the literature, but conclusions are not definitive with widespread inconsistency in reported results. Further research is required to investigate dystocia under commercial production conditions, and this should be complemented by focussed studies under controlled conditions. Priorities include defining the fitness of the ewe to lamb, the role of stress and environment on parturition and the use of indicator traits to select for ease of birth.
Difficult birth; Lamb mortality; Merino; Parturition; Breed; Nutrition; Prevalence
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