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Boosting milk production major focus of research


21 March 2011

Boosting milk production major focus of research

Significantly, increasing milk production is the theme of research being presented by AgResearch scientists at the NZBIO Conference 2011 in Auckland on 21 March 2011, focusing on enabling successful biotechnology.

AgResearch scientists will detail their innovative research aimed at further lifting production in New Zealand’s key export income earner, the dairy industry.

Lead researcher in the Lactation Biology Team, Animal Biosciences Section, at AgResearch Ruakura in Hamilton, Dr Kuljeet Singh, along with a team of scientists, is at the cutting edge of this internationally recognised research.

“We’re trying to understand the complex cellular and molecular mechanisms in the cow’s mammary gland which result in natural increases and decreases in milk production,” says Dr Singh. “This is a complex and relatively unknown area that will make a huge difference to the dairy industry.”

“Many dairy farms only milk once a day, or would like to do so, but this often results in a fall in production. So we’re researching the protein and cell signaling pathways that control the lactation process to see if we can manipulate it to improve milk production.”

Dr Singh says the aim is to determine the nature of the switch or trigger at a cellular level in the cow’s mammary gland, which stops and starts lactation. She says there is a range of environmental influences, for example nutrition, that may cause a chemical change to DNA of mammary glands’ cells. The research focuses on identifying such changes and understanding if these changes could cause epithelial cells of the mammary gland to turn off.


ends

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