Department of Animal Sciences - Research Articles

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    A systematic review on the prospects of X- and Y-sexed semen in ruminant livestock: Implications for conservation, a South African perspective
    (Frontiers Media, 2024-04-09) Ngcobo, Jabulani Nkululeko; Nedambale, Tshimangadzo Lucky; Sithole, Sindisiwe Mbali; Mtileni, Bohani; Mpofu, Takalani Judas; Ramukhithi, Fhulufhelo Vincent; Chokoe, Tlou Caswel; Nephawe, Khathutshelo Agree
    (Nguni Pedi, Zulu, and Namaqua Afrikaner, Afrino, Africander, Bezuidenhout Africander, Damara, Dorper, Döhne Merino, Meat Master, South African Merino, South African Mutton Merino, Van Rooy, and Dorper), goat (SA veld, Tankwa, Imbuzi, Bantu, Boer, and Savanna) and cattle (Afrigus, Afrikaner, Bolowana, Bonsmara, Bovelder, Drakensberger, South African Angus, South African Dairy Swiss, South African Friesland, South African Red, and Veld Master) animals. These breeds require less veterinary service, feed, management e􀀀orts, provide income to rural and or poor owners. However, most of the mare under extinction risks and some with unknown status, hence, require immediate conservation intervention. To allow faster genetic progress on the endangered animals, it is important to generate productive animals while reducing wastages and this can be achieved through sex-sorted semen. Therefore, this systematic review is aimed to evaluate the prospects of X and Y-sexed semen in ruminant livestock and some solutions that can be used to address poor sex-sorted semen and its fertility. This review was incorporated through gathering and assessing relevant articles and through the data from the DAD-IS database. The keywords that were used to search articles online were pre-gender selection, indigenous ecotypes, fertility, flow cytometry, artificial insemination, conservation, and improving sexed semen. Following a careful review of all articles, PRISMA guidelines were used to find the articles that are suitable to address the aim of this review. N Sex-sorted semen is a recently introduced technology gaining more attention M from researchers particularly, in the conservation programs. Preselection of semen based on the sex chromosomes (X- and or Y-bearing chromosomes) is of paramount importance to obtain desired sex of the offspring and avoid animal wastage as much as possible. However, diverse factors can affect quality Mof semen of different animal species especially after sex-sorting. Flow cytometry is a common method used to select male and female sperm cells and discard dead and abnormal sperm cells during the process. Thus, sperm sexing is a good advanced reproductive technology (ART) however, it is associated with the production of oxidative stress (OS) and DNA fragmentation (SDF). These findings, therefore, necessitates more innovation studies to come up with a sexing technology that will protect sperm cell injuries during sorting in frozen thawed.
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    Effect of agro-ecological zone, season of birth and sex on pre-weaning performance of Nguni calves in Limpopo Province, South Africa.
    (Springer, 2016-11-04) Mpofu, T. J.; Ginindza, M.M.; Siwendu, N.A.; Nephawe, K.A.; MTILENI, B. J.
    The study was conducted to determine the effect of agro-ecological zone, season of birth and sex on Nguni calves’ pre-weaning performance. Production indices such as birth weight (BW), weaning weight (WW), pre-weaning average daily gain (P-ADG) and pre-weaning gain (P-WG) were assessed in the different agro-ecological zones. Herd records on performance of 826 Nguni calves from nine Nguni herds representing different agro-ecological zones: arid zone (n = 217); semi-arid zone (n = 296); dry sub-humid zone (n = 118) and humid zone (n = 195) were used for the analysis of pre-weaning calf performance. General linear model (GLM) procedure of SAS (2013) was used to analyse data, whereas mean separation was conducted using Tukey’s HSD test. Agro-ecological zone had a great influence (P < 0.01) on performance levels arising from pasture conditions which were dependent on rain, temperature, topography and soil type. Fluctuations in WW, P-ADG and P-WG performance across agro-ecological zones depicted the sensitivity of Nguni calves to postnatal stress. Calves in humid zone had higher performance with 121.21 kg for WW, 96.83 kg for PWG and 0.477 kg/day for P-ADG. The lowest WW (114.51 kg), P-WG (89.98 kg) and P-ADG (0.438 kg/day) were observed in arid zone. Male calves were heavier at weaning (128.18 kg), P-ADG (0.503 kg/day) and total gain (103.03 kg); however, similar BW of 25 kg was observed for both male and female calves. Season had a significant (P < 0.05) effect on BW, P-ADG and P-WG. The P-ADG was 0.461 kg/day for calves born in summer and 0.449 kg/ day for calves born in winter season. Calves born in summer gained 94.69 kg and calves born in winter gained 92.10 kg. Summer calves gained 2.59 kg more than winter calves. Summer heifer calves performed poorly whilst summer male calves outperformed heifer calves in terms of WW, P-W Gand P-ADG. Pre-weaned calves in humid zone outperformed all calves in other agro-ecological zones. It was concluded that acceptable levels of growth are achievable from Nguni cattle under the different agro-ecological zones of Limpopo province, South Africa
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    Influence of male–male competition on reproductive performance and mortality of broiler breeders following intra-spiking.
    (Poultry Science Association Inc., 2019-05-02) Mphepya, Lesiba C.; Van Rensburg, Willie J.; Mpofu, Takalani J.; Mtileni, Bohani J.
    The study was conducted to determine the influence of male–male competition on reproductive performance and male mortality of Cobb 500 broiler breeder flocks following double intra-spiking. Broiler breeders were housed in 3 open-sided houses each accommodating 8,200 females and 820 males. Males of the same age on the same farm were exchanged between the houses (intra-spiking) to stimulate competition thereby changing the social hierarchy of each house. Intra-spiking was performed by replacing 25, 35, and 45% of males between the houses at 40 and 48 weeks of age (WOA), respectively. Eggs were collected from 36 to 55 WOA, when egg fertility and male mortality were recorded. Data was analyzed using repeated measures techniques of SAS 9.4, modeling the covariance structure of the observed data. Male–male competition (intra-spiking), age and their interaction significantly (P < 0.05) influenced egg fertility, hatchability, and male mortality. Average fertility and hatchability were increased in the 45% intra-spiked flocks (P < 0.05) (95.89 and 85.83%) compared with the 35% (95.13 and 86.30%) and 25% (94.42 and 0.23%) intra-spiked flocks. Fertility and hatchability with the 45% double intraspiked flocks was consistently higher (P < 0.05) over time than the other double intra-spiked flocks. Male mortality was lower (P < 0.05) in the 45% intra-spiked flock (0.23%) than in the 35% (0.40%) and 25% (0.44%) intra-spiked flocks. After double intra-spiking, the male mortality in the 25 and 35% double intra-spiked flocks significantly increased (P < 0.05), whereas that of 45% intra-spiked flocks remained relatively low. Male mortality in the 45% intra-spiked flocks was consistently low over time than other double intra-spike levels from 45 WOA until the end of the trial. Noteworthy, egg fertility and hatchability gradually decreased, and mortality increased with increasing flock age toward the end of the productive life cycle. High level of male–male competition (45%) showed great promise as a tool to slow down the decrease in egg fertility and hatchability and reduce male mortality in aging broiler breeder flocks.
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    Prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites in communal goats from different agro-ecological zones of South Africa.
    (Veterinary World, 2020-01-04) Mpofu, Takalani J.; Nephawe, Khathutshelo A.; Mtileni, Bohani
    Aim: A longitudinal study was conducted to assess the epidemiology of common gastrointestinal parasite (GIP) infections affecting goats in South Africa as influenced by agro-ecological zone (AEZ), sampling season, and the age and sex of animals. Materials and Methods: A total of 288 goats (101 male and 187 female) were randomly sampled during winter and summer in areas representing four AEZs (arid: 80; semi-arid: 76; humid: 62; and dry sub-humid: 70) of South Africa. Fecal samples from each animal were collected from the rectum, and the presence of GIP eggs was determined using a modified McMaster technique. A sample was considered positive when a minimum of one GIP egg was detected under the microscope. Fecal cultures were prepared, and infective larvae were collected and identified. The data were analyzed by MiniTab17 (2017) using the FREQ procedure, and the association between the independent factors and the prevalence of various GIPs were evaluated using the Pearson Chi-square test (p<0.05). Results: The overall prevalence of GIP in the present study was 37.1%, with a mean prevalence of 30.0, 26.4, 31.1, 36.6, and 59.6% for Eimeria spp., Trichuris, Strongyloides papillosus, Moniezia spp., and strongyles, respectively. There was a significant (p<0.05) association between the prevalence of strongyles, Trichuris, Moniezia spp., and AEZs, whereas an insignificant (p>0.05) association was observed for the prevalence of Eimeria spp. and S. papillosus. A significant (p<0.05) association between goat age and prevalence of all GIPs was observed, where the prevalence was higher in young goats, followed by adults, and then by suckling goats. The prevalence of various GIPs was similar between male and female goats. The percentage of infection with Eimeria spp., Trichuris, S. papillosus, and strongyle parasitic infections was marginally higher in males than in females, whereas that of the Moniezia spp. was higher in females. A significant (p<0.05) association between the prevalence of Eimeria spp. and sampling season was observed, and there was an insignificant (p>0.05) association between the other GIPs and sampling season. The prevalence of Eimeria spp. infection was higher in winter (34.0%) than in summer (26.0%). Conclusion: AEZs and goat age are the most important risk factors influencing GIP infections in South African communal goats. These epidemiological parameters are important for outlining effective parasite control management systems against these GIPs in goats.
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    An update on South African indigenous sheep breeds’ extinction status and difficulties during conservation attempts: A review.
    (MDPI, 2022-06-25) Ngcobo, Jabulani Nkululeko; Nedambale, Tshimangadzo Lucky; Nephawe, Khathutshelo Agree; Mpofu, Takalani Judas; Chokoe, Tlou Caswell; Ramukhithi, Fhulufhelo Vincent
    South African indigenous breeds’ population is decreasing at a time when their genetic material is mandatory due to the rising climate change and global warming. South African indigenous sheep breeds include Namaqua Afrikaner, Zulu, Bapedi, and Damara sheep. These breeds are the most preferred breeds by rural farmers in South Africa due to their adaptability, low feed, and veterinary requirements. However, since they are characterized by small body sizes, farmers tend to crossbreed them with exotic breeds. An early survey conducted in Kwa-Zulu Natal revealed a 7.5% decline in Zulu sheep between 2008–2011. It has recently been observed that the population left is genotypically mixed with exotic genetic material due to uncontrolled breeding techniques that rural farmers apply. Therefore, the aim of this review is to address the present status, difficulties, and conservation approaches applied to save these breeds. However, this review will be limited to the current extinction status as it appears in the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) system, data from recent studies, difficulties limiting the conservation success of these breeds, and the current conservation approaches in use to conserve these breeds.
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    Effect of temperature change and estradiol levels on cattle oocytes developmental competency: Comparing x-sexed and non-sexed sperm following in vitro fertilization
    (Science Publications, 2023-05-13) Sebopela, Maleke Dimpho; Mphaphathi, Masindi Lottus; Sithole, Sindisiwe Mbali; Chokoe, Tlou Caswell; Nedambale, Tshimangadzo Lucky
    The study aimed to investigate the effects of temperature change and estradiol (E2) hormone level on In Vitro Maturation (IVM) and fertilization of cattle oocytes using X-sexed and non-sexed sperm. In experiment 1: The oocytes were incubated at various temperatures of 35.5, 36.5, 37.5, 38.5, 39.5 and 40.5°C under similar conditions with 5% CO2, in humidified air for 22 h. In experiment 2: The IVM medium was supplemented with various concentrations of E2 (0, 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4 and 0.5 μg/mL). In experiment 3: The matured oocytes were fertilized in vitro using X-sexed and non-sexed frozen-thawed semen. An Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was performed. Comparisons were considered significantly different at (p<0.05) level of significance using Fisher's protected least significant difference test. All the above analyses were performed using SAS 9.2 statistical software, for continuous variables, means and standard errors were employed. The highest percentages of oocyte Polar Body (PB) extrusion were found at 39.5 (63.5±6.22), 38.5 (58.9±5.64) and 37.5°C (54.0±3.68) and differ from other treatments group (p<0.05). The oocytes with the first PB extrusion at 0 (2.42±4.39), 0.1 (21.00±7.194), 0.4 (29.90±8.19) and the 0.5 μg/mL (23.40±9.85) revealed significant difference with 0.2 (46.70±14.68) and 0.3 μg/mL (47.30±11.05) concentrations. The presumptive zygotes fertilized using non-sexed sperm had higher fertilization, cleavage, and blastocyst rates compared to the X-sexed sperm. In conclusion, oocytes matured at 39.5°C revealed optimal oocyte PB percentage as compared to other treatments. Oocytes matured at 0.2 and 0.3 μg/mL of E2 revealed the optimal oocyte PB percentage at 39.5°C. Overall, presumptive zygotes produced at 0.2 and 0.3 μg/mL of E2 and fertilized using X-sexed sperm provide lower oocyte developmental competency at 39.5°C.
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    Investigating methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and hydrogen sulphide content in agricultural waste during biogas production
    (MDPI, 2024-06-17) Sihlangu, Ephodia; Luseba, Dibungi; Regnier, Thierry; Magama, Primrose; Chiyanzu, Idan; Nephawe, Khathutshelo Agree
    The agricultural industry produces a substantial quantity of organic waste, and finding a suitable method for disposing of this highly biodegradable solid waste is a difficult task. The utilisation of anaerobic digestion for agricultural waste is a viable technological solution for both renewable energy production (biogas) and waste treatment. The primary objective of the study was to assess the composition of biogas, namely the percentages of methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and hydrogen sulphide. Additionally, the study aimed to quantify the amount of biogas produced and determine the methane yield (measured in NmL/g VS) from different agricultural substrates. The biochemical methane potential (BMP) measurements were conducted in triplicate using the BPC Instruments AMPTS II instrument. The substrates utilised in the investigation were chosen based on their accessibility. The substrates used in this study comprise cattle manure, chicken manure, pig manure, tomato plants, tomatoes, cabbage, mixed fruits, mixed vegetables, dog food, and a co-digestion of mixed vegetables, fruits, and dog food (MVMFDF). Prior to the cleaning process, the makeup of the biogas was assessed using the BIOGAS 5000, a Geotech Analyser. The AMPTS II flow cell automatically monitored and recorded the volume of bio-methane produced after the cleaning stage. The data were examined using the Minitab-17 software. The co-digestion of mixed vegetables, mixed fruits, and dog food (MVMFDF) resulted in the highest methane level of 77.4%, followed by mixed fruits at 76.6%, pig manure at 72.57%, and mixed vegetables at 70.1%. The chicken manure exhibited the greatest levels of ammonia (98.0 ppm) and hydrogen sulphide (589 ppm). Chicken manure had the highest hydrogen sulphide level, followed by pig manure (540 ppm), tomato plants (485 ppm), mixed fruits (250 ppm), and MVMFDF (208 ppm). Ultimately, the makeup of biogas is greatly affected by the unique qualities of each substrate. Substrates containing elevated quantities of hydrogen sulphide, such as chicken manure, require the process of biogas scrubbing. This is because they contain substantial amounts of ammonia and hydrogen sulphide, which can cause corrosion to the equipment in biogas plants. This emphasises the crucial need to meticulously choose substrates, with a specific focus on their organic composition and their capacity to generate elevated methane levels while minimising contaminants. Substrates with a high organic content, such as agricultural waste, are optimal for maximising the production of methane. Furthermore, the implementation of biogas scrubbing procedures is essential for efficiently decreasing carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide levels in biogas. By considering and tackling these problems, the effectiveness of biogas generation can be enhanced and its ecological consequences alleviated. This strategy facilitates the advancement of biogas as a sustainable energy source, hence contributing to the attainment of sustainable development goals (SDGs).
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    Phenotypic diversity of South African indigenous goat population in selected rural areas.
    (Science Publications, 2020-03-24) Chokoe, Tlou Caswell; Matelele, Tlou Cornelia; Maqhashu, Ayanda; Ramukhithi, Fhulufhelo Vincent; Mphahlele, Tumudi Desmond; Mpofu, Takalani Judas; Nephawe, Khathutshelo Agree; Mtileni, Bohani
    Phenotypic characterisation of indigenous goat populations is crucial in providing information on goat types and their attributes and may play an important role as guideline for conservation and sustainable us of these resources. The objective of this study was to characterise indigenous goat populations in rural areas of South Africa. Appearance of indigenous goat phenotypes and their typical features were observed from 297 individual goats. FREQ procedure of Statistical Analysis System was used to determine the descriptive statistics of the qualitative phenotypic variables. To detect the statistical differences for quantitative traits, the General Linear Model procedure of SAS was computed, whereas Fisher’s Least Significant Difference test was used to separate the least square means (P<0.05). Horns and toggles were the most dominant phenotypes found in the different regions, while the beard had low proportions across regions. Black coat colour was the dominant colour (9.68-69.57%) of most of the populations in Mopani, Vhembe, Tshwane, Westrand, Bojanala, Motheo and Thabo Mofutsanyane regions. There was a significant (P<0.05) difference in all phenotypic measurements, with higher (P<0.05) values for body length (48.23 cm), body weight (26.86 kg) and wither height (64.61 cm) observed in indigenous goats of Dr. Ruth Segomotsi Mompati (DRSM) region. Goats in Tshwane, Westrand and DRSM had significantly similar body length whilst also those in Motheo, Thabo and Vhembe had significantly similar body length. The indigenous goats of Thabo Mofutsanyana region had the highest (P<0.05) = value for rump length (17.52 cm), however have the shortest tail length (7.17 cm) compared to those at other regions. Results from the study shows considerable phenotypic heterogeneity in qualitative traits of indigenous goat population and their distributions in different regions.
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    Correlates of resistance to gastro-intestinal parasites infection in South African communal indigenous goat populations.
    (Science Publications, 2020-07-01) Mpofu, Takalani Judas; Nephawe, Khathutshelo Agree; Mtileni, Bohani
    The study was conducted to investigate the correlates of resistance to Gastro-Intestinal Parasites (GIPs) infection in South African communal indigenous goat. A total of 288 goats were randomly sampled for fecal and blood collection. Infection intensity was estimated through determining the fecal egg per gram using a modified McMaster technique. Packed Cell Volume (PCV), Hemoglobin (Hgb) and Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH) were determined through Auto-Haematology-Analyser BC-2800Vet®. Goat diagnosed free from GIP egg during coprologic evaluation were classified as uninfected, those whose Fecal Egg Count (FEC) were less than 800 as Low Fecal Count (LFEC) phenotype, those with FEC between 800 and 1200 as Intermediate Fecal Egg Count (IFEC) and those that were higher than 1200 as High Fecal Egg Count (HFEC) phenotype. Data were subjected to one-way ANOVA analyses, for dual co-infection, not all comparisons were possible. Pearson’s moment correlation test was computed to determine the relationship between variables. The HFEC phenotyped goats were highly (p<0.05) infected by GIPs followed by intermediate and lastly by LFEC phenotype. Higher (p<0.05) Hgb (10.26 g/dL), PCV (28.51%) and MCH (6.12 pg) were observed in uninfected goats compared to IFEC and HFEC phenotypes. A significant effect of infection status on Hgb and PCV was observed, however, MCH was not influenced (p>0.05). There was a negative relationship (p<0.05) between the Hgb and overall FEC, strongyles and Trichuris spp. intensity. Negative relationship (p<0.05) between PCV and overall FEC and all the GIPs except for Moniezia spp. intensity was evident. The MCH depicted a negative relationship (p<0.05) with Eimeria and Trichuris spp. intensity. The interactions between concomitant GIPs complicates the clinical outcome of infected goats and should be taken into consideration in any study that investigates disease under field conditions. The FECs, Hgb, PCV and MCH are correlates and potential selection criteria of GIP resistant goats.
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    Gastro-intestinal parasites co-infection and their interaction as drivers of host heterogeneity in South African communal goat populations.
    (ResearchersLinks, 2020-07-26) Mpofu, Takalani Judas; Nephawe, Khathutshelo Agree; Ganesan, Hamilton; Mtileni, Bohani
    The study was conducted to evaluate how the concomitant infecting gastro-intestinal parasites (GIPs) modifies the intensity of infection, distribution pattern and host susceptibility to parasite within the South African communal indigenous goat population. A total of 288 goats were randomly sampled in different agro-ecological zones of South Africa. For each goat, the intensity of the GIPs was determined using a modified McMaster technique. Four subsets of data were used: the first included goats infected with single GIP species, either strongyles, Strongyloides papillosus, or Trichuris sp., the second, third and fourth considered goats co-infected with any two possible combinations of the three GIPs. The GLM procedures were used to analyse data. The three nematodes exhibited different age– intensity profiles. For single infections, infection intensity for strongyles and Trichuris sp., were higher (p<0.05) in young goats compared to other age groups. Co-infection by S. papillosus and Trichuris sp., strongyles and Trichuris sp. increased the infection intensity with the host age, but their pattern did not change (p>0.05). Strongyles intensity pattern in co-infection with either S. papillosus or Trichuris sp. did not change, as young goats exhibited higher (p<0.05) intensity than other age groups. The infection intensity for S. papillosus and Trichuris sp. between goat of different ages were similar (p>0.05) when co-infected with strongyles. Sex–intensity profile of all GIPs in single infections did not differ (p>0.05). Co-infection by S. papillosus and Trichuris sp. did not influence (p>0.05) the sex-intensity profile of these nematodes. Goats co-infected by strongyles with either S. papillosus or Trichuris, the intensity of these GIPs was high (p<0.05) in females compared to males. Multiple GIPs infections resulted in the accumulation of GIPs in the host population and variation in parasitism between goat ages and sexes. Concomitant GIP infections modify host susceptibility and influence heterogeneity amongst individual hosts.
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    Gastrointestinal parasite infection intensity and hematological parameters in South African communal indigenous goats in relation to anemia
    (Veterinary World, 2020-10-27) Mpofu, Takalani Judas; Nephawe, Khathutshelo Agree; Mtileni, Bohani
    Aim: The study was conducted to determine the intensity of gastrointestinal parasite (GIP) infections and hematological parameters in South African communal indigenous goats in relation to anemia. Materials and Methods: A total of 288 goats were randomly sampled in areas representing four agro-ecological zones. Fecal and blood samples were collected from the rectum and jugular vein, respectively, of each animal. The number of eggs per gram (EPG) and oocysts per gram (OPG) of feces and the hematological parameters were determined using the modified McMaster technique and a BC-2800Vet® automatic hematology analyzer, respectively. Data were analyzed using the repeated measures techniques of Minitab 17, modeling the covariance structure of the observed data. Results: Based on EPG and OPG, goats in humid zone were significantly infected (p<0.05) with strongyles, Eimeria, Moniezia, and Trichuris spp. Hematological parameters of goats in arid and humid zone were lower (p<0.05) than those in semi-arid and dry sub-humid zone. GIP infection intensities were higher (p<0.05) in young animals than in adult and suckling goats. GIP infection intensity was similar between goat sexes, while hematological parameters were higher (p<0.05) in females. Higher (p<0.05) infection intensities for strongyles (302.90 EPG) and Eimeria (216.09 EPG) were observed in winter compared to summer (strongyles: 302.90, Eimeria: 216.09 EPG). Higher (p<0.05) values for the hematological parameters were observed during summer compared to that in winter. Conclusion: GIP infection intensity in the winter could be associated with hypochromic and normocytic anemia which likely to affects suckling goats while in the summer could be associated with normochromic and normocytic anemia which likely to affect young goats.
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    Genetic characterisation of non-descript cattle populations in communal areas of South Africa.
    (CSIRO PUBLISHING, 2020-08-31) Mamogobo, M. D.; Mapholi, N. O.; Nephawe, K. A.; Nedambale, T. L.; Mpofu, T. J.; Sanarana, Y. P.; Mtileni, B. J.
    Context. Indigenous cattle breeds represent an important genetic resource for livelihood of communal-area inhabitants. Indigenous breeds have the ability to withstand harsh climatic conditions, can adapt genetically to poor-quality forages and are resistant to parasites and diseases. These unique traits possessed by indigenous breeds are under threat because of unrestrained crossing with exotic commercial breeds, and this can lead to total loss of a breed. Aims. The study was conducted to assess the genetic diversity and population structure of South African non-descript communal beef cattle populations by using 25 microsatellite markers. Methods. Unrelated and non-descript animals (n = 150) were sampled from communal areas from five (5) provinces of South Africa, namely, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu–Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Northwest, with 30 samples per breed taken. Six (6) known cattle breeds (n = 180) were used as a reference population. This included Angus, Afrikaner, Bonsmara, Brahman, Drakensberger and the Nguni, with 30 samples per breed. Key results. High level of genetic diversity was found across the five non-descript populations, with an average heterozygosity of 75%. The Limpopo population was found to be the most diverse population, with the highest average number of alleles (8.5) and heterozygosity (ranging between observed heterozygosity of 70% and expected heterozygosity of 79%). STRUCTURE software assigned populations (2 K 20), with the most probable cluster being at K = 7. The Eastern Cape, KwaZulu–Natal and Limpopo populations had genetic material similar to those possessed by the Nguni and Bonsmara reference populations. Conclusions. Results from the study showed that most genetic differentiation occurred within populations rather than among populations, and this might be due to the fact that there is no selection for or against any specific production trait expressed in the populations. Implications. The obtained information will serve as a baseline for the development and implementation of sound breeding programs that will assist in controlling the gene flow, so as to lower the possible genetic dilution of the currently available genetic material.
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    Genetic diversity of South African indigenous goat population from four provinces using genome-wide snp data.
    (MDPI, 2020-12-11) Chokoe, Tlou Caswell; Mdladla-Hadebe, Khanyisile; Muchadeyi, Farai; Dzomba, Edgar; Matelele, Tlou; Mphahlele, Tumudi; Mpofu, Takalani J.; Nephawe, Khathutshelo; Mtileni, Bohani
    Genome-wide assessments of the genetic landscape of Farm Animal Genetic Resources (FAnGR)are key to developing sustainable breed improvements. Understanding the FAnGR adaptation to different environments and supporting their conservation programs from community initiative to national policymakers is very important. The objective of the study was to investigate the genetic diversity and population structure of communal indigenous goat populations from four provinces of South Africa. Communal indigenous goat populations from the Free State (FS) (n = 24), Gauteng (GP) (n = 28), Limpopo (LP) (n = 30), and Northwest (NW) (n = 35) provinces were genotyped using the Illumina Goats SNP50 Bead Chip. An Illumina Goats SNP50 Bead Chip data from commercial meat-type breeds: Boer (n = 33), Kalahari Red (n = 40), and Savanna (n = 31) was used in this study as reference populations. The Ho revealed that the genetic diversity of a population ranged between 0.39 0.11 Ho in LP to 0.42 0.09 Ho in NW. Analysis of molecular variance revealed variations of 3.39% (p < 0.0001) and 90.64% among and within populations, respectively. The first two Principal Component Analyses (PCAs) revealed a unique Limpopo population separated from GP, FS, and NW communal indigenous goat populations with high levels of admixture with commercial goat populations. There were unique populations of Kalahari and Savanna that were observed and admixed individuals. Marker FST (Limpopo versus commercial goat populations) revealed 442 outlier single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across all chromosomes, and the SNP with the highest FST value (FST = 0.72; chromosome 8) was located on the UHRF2 gene. Population differentiation tests (PCAdapt) revealed PC2 as optimal and five outlier SNPs were detected on chromosomes 10, 15, 20, and 21. The study revealed that the SNPs identified by the first two principal components show high FST values in LP communal goat populations and allowed us to identify candidate genes which can be used in the development of breed selection programs to improve this unique LP population and other communal goat population of FS, GP, and NW, and find genetic factors contributing to the adaptation to harsh environments. Effective management and utilization of South African communal indigenous goat populations is important, and effort should be made to maintain unique genetic resources for conservation.
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    Activity of mannose-binding lectin on bacterial-infected chickens—A review.
    (MDPI, 2021-03-12) Idowu, Peter A.; Idowu, Adeola P.; Zishiri, Oliver T.; Mpofu, Takalani J.; Veldhuizen, Edwin J. A.; Nephawe, Khathutshelo A.; Mtileni, Bohani
    In recent years, diseases caused by pathogenic bacteria have profoundly impacted chicken production by causing economic loss in chicken products and by-product revenues. MBL (mannosebinding lectin) is part of the innate immune system (IIS), which is the host’s first line defense against pathogens. The IIS functions centrally by identifying pathogen-specific microorganism-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) with the help of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). Studies have classified mannose-binding lectin (MBL) as one of the PRR molecules which belong to the C-type lectin family. The protective role of MBL lies in its ability to activate the complement system via the lectin pathway and there seems to be a direct link between the chicken’s health status and the MBL concentration in the serum. Several methods have been used to detect the presence, the level and the structure of MBL in chickens such as Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) among others. The concentration of MBL in the chicken ranges from 0.4 to 35 g/mL and can be at peak levels at three to nine days at entry of pathogens. The variations observed are known to depend on the bacterial strains, breed and age of the chicken and possibly the feed manipulation strategies. However, when chicken MBL (MBL) becomes deficient, it can result in malfunctioning of the innate immune system, which can predispose chickens to diseases. This article aimed to discuss the importance and components of mannose-binding lectin (MBL) in chickens, its mode of actions, and the different methods used to detect MBL. Therefore, more studies are recommended to explore the causes for low and high MBL production in chicken breeds and the possible effect of feed manipulation strategies in enhancing MBL production.
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    Flaxseed oil as a source of omega n-3 fatty acids to improve semen quality from livestock animals: A review.
    (MDPI, 2021-11-28) Ngcobo, Jabulani Nkululeko; Ramukhithi, Fhulufhelo Vincent; Nephawe, Khathutshelo Agree; Mpofu, Takalani Judas; Chokoe, Tlou Caswell; Nedambale, Tshimangadzo Lucky
    The demand to conserve indigenous species through the cryo-gene bank is increasing. Spermatozoa remain sensitive to cryopreservation damages especially that of avian species thus limiting the use of reproductive biotechnologies such as artificial insemination in the conservation programs. Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFAs), specifically omega n-3, expanded a research interest to improve animal reproductive efficiency through improving spermatozoa quality. This is driven by the fact that mammals cannot synthesize omega-3 de-novo because they lack delta-12 and delta-15 desaturase enzymes thus supplemented in the diet is mandatory. Delta-12 and delta-15 add a double bond at the 12th and 15th carbon-carbon bond from the methyl end of fatty acids, lengthening the chain to 22 carbon molecules. Fish oil is a pioneer source of omega n-3 and n-6 fatty acids. However, there is a report that numerous fisheries are over-exploited and could collapse. Furthermore, processing techniques used for processing by products could complement alterations of the amino acid profile and reduce protein retrieval. Alternatively, flaxseed oil contains 52–58% of total fatty acids and lignans in the form of -linolenic and linoleic acid. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA,18:3n-3) is enzymatically broken-down de-novo by delta-6 desaturase and lengthened into a long-chain carbon molecule such as eicosapentaenoic acid (C20:5n-3). Nevertheless, controversial findings following the enrichment of diet with flaxseed oil have been reported. Therefore, this paper is aimed to postulate the role of flaxseed oil as an alternative source of omega n-3 and n-6 fatty acids to improve semen quality and quantity from livestock animals. These include the interaction between docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and spermatogenesis, the interaction between docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and testicular cells, and the effect of flaxseed oil on semen quality. It additionally assesses the antioxidants to balance the level of PUFAs in the semen.
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    Cow efficiency, relative-birth weight and subsequent pre- weaning growth performance of Nguni cattle.
    (Science Publications, 2022-04-16) Mpofu, Takalani Judas; Nephawe, Khathutshelo Agree; Ginindza, Muzi Mandla; Siwendu, Ndyebo Anathi; Mtileni, BohanI
    The objective of this study was to evaluate factors influencing Cow Efficiency (CE), Relative-Birth Weight (R-BW), and subsequent pre-weaning growth performance of Nguni cattle in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Factors that were considered were dammed weight at calving, agro-ecological zone, the season of birth, sex of calves, parity, and dam age. Data from Nguni cows and their calves (n = 826) consisting of calf Birth Weight (BW), Weaning Weight (WW), and Dam Weight at calving were used in this study. Dams were classified according to their weights at calving into high (>385 kg), medium (326-385 kg), and low (<326 kg) categories. The General Linear Model (GLM) procedure of SAS (2015) was computed to analyze data; the means were separated using Fisher's Least Significant Difference (LSD) test. Dam weight at calving influenced CE, R-BW, WW, and P-ADG, but did not influence BW. Lighter and average dams had higher CE (36.74; 35.04 Vs 30.01%), RBW (8.04; 7.12 Vs 6.28%), WW (116.80; 116.62 Vs 115.13 kg), P-ADG (0.447; 0.446 Vs 0.438 kg/day) and P-WG (91.72; 91.40 Vs 89.77 kg) compared to heavier dams. Animals in the humid zone had higher CE (35.32%), WW (117.53 kg), P-ADG (0.452 kg/day), and P-WG (92.86 kg). Animals in arid yielded lower CE, WW, P-ADG, and P-WG compared to those in humid zone. Season of birth influenced R-BW and pre-weaning performance traits, however, it did not influence CE. Higher WW (116.78 kg), P-ADG (0.448 kg/day), P-WG (91.96 kg) were recorded for summer calves. The sex of calves, parity, and damage influenced all traits except R-BW and BW. Dams with male calves had higher CE (34.79%), WW (126.20 kg), P-ADG (0.491 kg/day), and P-WG (100.71 kg) compared to their female counterparts. Dams on the fifth (5th) parity had higher CE (37.00%), R-BW (7.18%), WW (127.01 kg), P-ADG (0.495 kg/day) and PWG (101.53 kg). Seven (7) years old dams had higher CE (42.32%), WW (143.33 kg), P-ADG (0.590 kg/day), and P-WG (121.17 kg). The findings indicate that breeding with lighter cows would result in calves with comparable or even better growth traits than heavier cows.
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    Prevalence and resistance to gastrointestinal parasites in goats: A review.
    (Veterinary World, 2022-10-21) Mpofu, Takalani Judas; Nephawe, Khathutshelo Agree; Mtileni, Bohani
    Gastrointestinal parasitism, particularly nematode infection, is a major health issue affecting goats worldwide, resulting in clinical diseases and productivity loss. Prevalent gastrointestinal parasites (GIPs) affecting goats in South Africa are the Strongyloides papillosus, Eimeria spp., and Strongyles, especially the Haemonchus contortus and Trichostrongylus spp. According to the issues discussed in this paper and by other authors, the prevalence and intensity of various GIPs vary with an animal’s location, breed, age, sex, and season. Because GIPs easily develop resistance to chemical treatment, selecting and breeding genetically GIP-resistant animals would be a relatively simple and inexpensive strategy for reducing or eliminating the current reliance on chemotherapy. Potential phenotypic indicators for selecting GIP-resistant goats include parasitological, immunological, and pathological phenotypic markers. Synergistic use of these indicators should be encouraged for a more accurate simplified genotype selection of resistant animals. Genes with Mendelian inheritance, particularly those involved in immunoregulatory mechanisms, have been identified in goats. Exploring this knowledge base to develop cost-effective molecular tools that facilitate enhanced genetic improvement programs is a current challenge. Future statistical and biological models should investigate genetic variations within genomic regions and different candidate genes involved in immunoregulatory mechanisms, as well as the identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms known to affect GIP infection levels.
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    An assessment of economic sustainability and efficiency in small-scale broiler farms in Limpopo Province: A review.
    (MDPI, 2023-01-20) Ramukhithi, Tumelo Francinah; Nephawe, Khathutshelo Agree; Mpofu, Takalani Judas; Raphulu, Thomas; Munhuweyi, Karen; Ramukhithi, Fhulufhelo Vincent; Mtileni, Bohani
    An important factor in determining the success of a small-scale broiler farm is its economic viability and efficiency. During times of trouble for the industry, the idea receives more attention. The conceptual considerations of economic sustainability and efficiency are frequently quite constrained, according to the difficulties raised in this study and by other authors. There is a lack of information about South Africa’s small-scale broiler production’s economic viability and effectiveness. Furthermore, it is clear that small-scale broiler producers have the ability to increase their economic efficiency. By reducing the mortality rate, feed conversion rate, and production duration, both their technical and financial efficiency could be improved. Profitability in the production of broilers will be considerably increased by lowering the cost of these variable inputs, particularly feed and day-old chicks. Additionally, raising the education level, capacity utilization ratio, and broiler production would all contribute to raising the farms’ efficiency levels. To ensure effective resource use and to maximize practicable profit, small-scale broiler producers who are not operating close to the profit frontier must make efforts to reduce both technical and allocation inefficiencies. Collectively, all these measures would ensure the economic sustainability of small-scale farmers in South Africa would be met. Moreover, the sustainability of small-scale broiler producers can be achieved if strategies that build local capacity and that empower them to sustain high levels of productivity are provided. In addition, the efficient use of resources will ensure that productivity is enhanced and might increase profitability. It is therefore important to ensure that small-scale broiler producers achieve maximum profit for a given set of inputs. Approaches in assessing the farm-level profitability such as cost-benefit and gross margin analyses can be used.
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    A systematic review on the prospects of X- and Y-sexed semen in ruminant livestock: implications for conservation, a South African perspective.
    (Frontiers Media, 2024-04-09) Ngcobo, Jabulani Nkululeko; Nedambale, Tshimangadzo Lucky; Sithole, Sindisiwe Mbali; Mtileni, Bohani; Mpofu, Takalani Judas; Ramukhithi, Fhulufhelo Vincent; Chokoe, Tlou Caswel; Nephawe, Khathutshelo Agree
    South Africa is home to numerous indigenous and locally developed sheep (Nguni Pedi, Zulu, and Namaqua Afrikaner, Afrino, Africander, Bezuidenhout Africander, Damara, Dorper, Döhne Merino, Meat Master, South African Merino, South African Mutton Merino, Van Rooy, and Dorper), goat (SA veld, Tankwa, Imbuzi, Bantu, Boer, and Savanna) and cattle (Afrigus, Afrikaner, Bolowana, Bonsmara, Bovelder, Drakensberger, South African Angus, South African Dairy Swiss, South African Friesland, South African Red, and Veld Master) animals. These breeds require less veterinary service, feed, management e􀀀orts, provide income to rural and or poor owners. However, most of the mare under extinction risks and some with unknown status, hence, require immediate conservation intervention. To allow faster genetic progress on the endangered animals, it is important to generate productive animals while reducing wastages and this can be achieved through sex-sorted semen. Therefore, this systematic review is aimed to evaluate the prospects of X and Y-sexed semen in ruminant livestock and some solutions that can be used to address poor sex-sorted semen and its fertility. This review was incorporated through gathering and assessing relevant articles and through the data from the DAD-IS database. The keywords that were used to search articles online were pre-gender selection, indigenous ecotypes, fertility, flow cytometry, artificial insemination, conservation, and improving sexed semen. Following a careful review of all articles, PRISMA guidelines were used to find the articles that are suitable to address the aim of this review. Sex-sorted semen is a recently introduced technology gaining more attention from researchers particularly, in the conservation programs. Preselection of semen based on the sex chromosomes (X- and or Y-bearing chromosomes) is of paramount importance to obtain desired sex of the o􀀀spring and avoid animal wastage as much as possible. However, diverse factors can affect quality of semen of different animal species especially after sex-sorting. Flow cytometry is a common method used to select male and female sperm cells and discard dead and abnormal sperm cells during the process. Thus, sperm sexing is a good advanced reproductive technology (ART) however, it is associated with the production of oxidative stress (OS) and DNA fragmentation (SDF). These findings, therefore, necessitates more innovation studies to come up with a sexing technology that will protect sperm cell injuries during sorting in frozen thawed.
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    Molecular detection and genetic characterization of mycoplasma gallisepticum and mycoplasma synoviae in selected chicken breeds in South Africa.
    (BMC, 2024-06-05) Idowu, Peter Ayodeji; Mpofu, Takalani Judas; Zishiri, Oliver T.; Adelabu, Olusesan A.; Nephawe, Khathutshelo Agree; Mtileni, Bohani
    Background The impact of chickens on maintaining the economy and livelihood of rural communities cannot be overemphasized. In recent years, mycoplasmosis has become one of the diseases that affect the success of South African chicken production. Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) and Mycoplasma synoviae (MS) are the most prevalent strains of Mycoplasma in South Africa. MG and MS are significant respiratory pathogens affecting the productivity of chickens. The present study aimed to molecularly detect using qPCR and characterize the presence of MG and MS using phylogenetic analysis. The phylogenetic analysis was utilized to clarify general evolutionary relationships between related taxa of different MG and MS observed in tracheal swabs from South African chicken breeds. Methods Forty-five tracheal swabs of the Lohmann Brown (n = 9), Rhode Island Red (n = 9), Ovambo (n = 9), Venda (n = 9), and Potchefstroom Koekoek (n = 9) breeds were collected from symptomatic chickens present in the commercial farm. To detect MG and MS, DNA was extracted from tracheal swabs and faecal samples, and qPCR was performed with a 16 s rRNA (310 bp) and vlhA (400 bp) gene fragment. Following the sequencing of all the amplicons, MG, and MS dendrograms showing the evolutionary relationships among the five South African chicken breeds and the GeneBank reference population were constructed. Results The qPCR revealed the presence of MG and MS in 22% (2/9) of the tracheal swab samples tested for MS only in Rhode Island Red breeds; 66.6% (6/9) and 33% (3/9) of the tested samples in Ovambo breeds; and 11.1% (1/9) and 44.4% (4/9) of the tested samples in Venda breeds. No MG or MS were detected in the Lohmann Brown or Potchefstroom Koekoek breed. Furthermore, qPCR revealed the presence of MG in pooled faecal samples from Lohmann Brown and Ovambo breeds. Eight different bacterial isolates were from both samples. Four isolateswere of the 16 s ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) gene (named PT/MG51/ck/00, PT/MG48/ck/00, PT/MG41/ck/00 and PT/MG71/ck/00) gene of Mycoplasma gallisepticum, and the other was Mycoplasma Synoviae variable lipoprotein hemagglutinin A (vlhA) gene (named PT/MSA22/ck/01, PT/MS41/ck/01, PT/MS74/ck/01 and PT/MS46/ck/01).