Early postpartum intravenous infusion with carnosic acid, a rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) antioxidant compound, improves milk performance in transition dairy cows

Document Type


Publication Date



American Dairy Science Association


Journal of Dairy Science




Suppl. 1






peripartum period, oxidative stress, natural plant extract


One of the greatest challenges associated with the transition period of dairy cows is the high occurrence of oxidative stress due to the rapid increase in milk production in the first days of lactation. Providing effec- tive antioxidants to cows during this period is an important strategy to improve cows’ overall health and performance. Hence, the objective of this experiment was to evaluate the effects of a rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) antioxidant compound (carnosic acid) on transition dairy cows. Sixteen multiparous Holstein cows were enrolled in a randomized complete block design from −21 to 21 d in milk (DIM) and blocked according to expected calving day, parity, and previous lactation milk yield. During 1 to 3 DIM, cows received a daily intravenous infusion of 500 mL of saline (CON, n = 8) or carnosic acid at a rate of 0.3 mg/ kg of BW (CA, n = 8). Carnosic acid (Combi Blocks, QC-4383) was diluted with alcohol to 0.5 mg/mL, and the dose according to the cow’s respective BW was supplied in 500 mL of saline. Milk yield and dry matter intake were measured daily, while BW and BCS were recorded weekly. Milk samples were collected weekly for determination of fat, protein, SCC, and MUN concentrations. Data were analyzed using PROC MIXED of SAS with treatment, time, and their interaction as fixed effects and cow within treatment as random effect. CA cows had greater milk yield (P = 0.03; 40.6 vs. 34.5 kg/d) and energy-corrected milk (P = 0.04; 51.2 vs. 43.0 kg/d) compared with CON cows until 21 DIM. Moreover, milk efficiency (milk yield/feed intake) tended to be greater (P < 0.09; 2.2 vs. 2.0) for CA cows than CON. Feed intake, BW, BCS, and milk composition were not affected (P > 0.10) by treatment. These results indicate that an adequate supply of antioxidants such as carnosic acid can have a substantial positive effect on milk performance in early lactation in dairy cows.

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