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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Happy, healthy dairy cows provide a safe, healthy food supply

Gina PighettiAnimal Science

More than 6 billion people worldwide consume milk and milk products. This highly nutritious food plays an important role in our diets – containing energy, high quality proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins. However, the quality and safety of dairy products directly ties to the health, welfare, and management of the dairy animal supplying the milk. Our research focuses on ways to boost the immune system of dairy cows to prevent the development of infections in the mammary gland.  Our research works from very basic – identifying the impact of genetics, sleep, and stress on the effectiveness of dairy cows to resist infection. Once known novel strategies can be developed that target these mechanisms and prevent or treat infections in dairy cattle and other species.  Overall, this research leads to adaptations in management practices that promote healthier cows that produce high quality and safe milk.

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