Supplementation effects of pomegranate by-products on oxidative status, metabolic profile, and performance in transition dairy cows

J Dairy Sci. 2018 Dec;101(12):11297-11309. doi: 10.3168/jds.2018-14506. Epub 2018 Oct 3.


Recent studies demonstrated a high antioxidant capacity for pomegranate components due to their rich bioactive compounds, such as conjugated fatty acids and phenolics. The objective of the present study was, therefore, to assess whether pomegranate seed or pomegranate seed pulp (peel + seed) supplementation could be effective to improve antioxidant status, and hence metabolic profile and performance in periparturient dairy cows. After a 1-wk pretreatment period, Holstein cows (primiparous n = 12, multiparous n = 18) were assigned to 3 dietary treatments from 25 d before expected calving through 25 d postcalving. The dietary treatments included (1) control (CON); (2) diet supplemented with pomegranate seeds (PS; 400 g/cow per day); and (3) diet supplemented with pomegranate seed pulp (PSP; 400 g of seeds/cow per day + 1200 g of peels/cow per day). Compared with CON, supplementation with either PS or PSP had no effects on dry matter intake, rumen fermentation, and plasma concentrations of cholesterol, total protein, globulin, and aspartate amino transferase, but enhanced plasma total antioxidant activity, and lowered triacylglycerol, free fatty acids (FFA), and β-hydroxybutyrate at both pre- and postpartum periods. Plasma concentration of glucose, albumin, malondialdehyde (MDA) and blood superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity were not affected by dietary treatments at prepartum, whereas SOD activity increased and glucose, albumin, MDA, and FFA-to-albumin ratio decreased by feeding both by-products at postpartum period. In contrast to PS, supplementing PSP resulted in a greater decrease in plasma glucose and triacylglycerol concentration and higher increase in SOD activity. Energy- and fat-corrected milk yields were higher in cows fed PSP diet compared with those fed CON or PS diets, but content of milk fat, protein, and lactose were similar across the dietary treatments. These findings indicated that dietary pomegranate by-products supplementation, in particular PSP, could improve antioxidant status, which was associated with a decline in lipid oxidation (FFA and β-hydroxybutyrate) and peroxidation (MDA) and an enhancement in glucose utilization as well as fat-corrected milk yield.

Keywords: oxidative stress; pomegranate peel; pomegranate seed; transition cows.

MeSH terms

  • 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid / blood
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Cattle / physiology*
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Female
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Lactation / drug effects
  • Lythraceae*
  • Metabolome / drug effects*
  • Milk / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Peripartum Period
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rumen / metabolism
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Antioxidants
  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Plant Extracts
  • Triglycerides
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid