Animal Nutrition/Production 2

Research title: 

Balance between pro-oxidants and antioxidants in animal nutrition and health

Tutor: Prof. Raffaella Rossi


Contact details:

Department of Health, Animal Science and Food Safety (VESPA),

Via Trentacoste 2,

20134 Milan, Italy.

E-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


State of the art

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are required for several physiological function but they can be harmful in an excessive amounts. Deficiencies in antioxidant substances or excess exposure to stimulators of ROS production may result in oxidative stress, defined as an impaired homeostasis between oxidants and antioxidants at a cellular level. (Finkel and Holbrook, 2000). The role of oxidative stress on livestock health and productivity has been observed and it was mainly related to physiological condition, inflammatory events, nutrition (diet composition, antioxidant supplement, fatty acid composition) and environmental factors (stocking density, temperature, and environmental stressors) (Lykkesfeldt and Svendsen, 2007). Moreover, an improvement of antioxidant status of food producing animals enhance products quality parameters (Rossi et al., 2014; Rossi et al., 2015). Oxidative stress biomarkers, including antioxidant status, lipid, protein and DNA oxidation products, represent reliable indicators of animal health and welfare. Moreover, it should be consider also a valuable predictor of products quality parameters.


Aims of the project

Considering data regarding the relation between oxidative stress and animal health, it is necessary to deepen the knowledge about this phenomenon. In particular, the determination of several oxidative markers in relation to different breeding conditions could be useful for decrease oxidative stress in farm animal.  For these reasons, the aim of the present project will be to evaluate oxidative status in farm animals in different breeding conditions. In particular, oxidative stress markers will be determined in different animal species in relation to nutrition, welfare condition and health. Several oxidative stress biomarkers (SOD, CAT, GPX, KRL value, Nrf2 factor, protein carbonyl groups, 8-OHDG) will be determined in order to identify problematic breeding phases and to define promising dietary interventions with natural antioxidants mixture able to strength antioxidant status and improve animal health.   Therefore, the enhancement of antioxidant defences offer a valid approach for the prevention of oxidative stress and the support of the antioxidant status in livestock. This approach results necessary in order to improve animal health, decreasing antibiotic treatment and enhance productive performance and products quality.


Recent publications of the tutor in the field

1. R. Rossi, S. Ratti, G. Pastorelli, F. Maghin, G. Martemucci, D. Casamassima, A.G. D’Alessandro C. Corino (2017). Effect of dietary plant extract on meat quality and sensory parameters of meat from. Journal of the science of food and agriculture. Accepted, in press.

2.Di Giancamillo, A., R. Rossi, G. Pastorelli, D. Deponti, V. Carollo, D. Casamassima, C. Domeneghini and C. Corino (2015) The effects of dietary verbascoside on blood and liver oxidative stress status induced by a high n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids diet in piglets. Journal of Animal Science 93(6): 2849-2859.

3. De Marco M., Lopez Salcedo W., Pastorelli G., Rossi R., Corino C., Bergagna S., Mellia E., Gennero M. S., Biasibetti E., Capucchio M. T., Nurisso S., ì Tarantola M., Forneris G., Schiavone A. (2015). Effects of verbascoside supplemented diets on growth performance, blood traits, meat quality, lipid oxidation and histological features in broiler chickens. Italian Journal of Animal Science, 14(2): 172-178.

4. Rossi R., Ratti S., Pastorelli G., Crotti A., Corino C. (2014). The effect of dietary vitamin E and verbascoside on meat quality and oxidative stability of Longissimus Dorsi muscle in medium-heavy pigs. Food Research International, 65 (A): 88-94.

5. Rossi R., Pastorelli G., Corino, C. (2013). Application of KRL test to assess total antioxidant activity in pigs: sensitivity to dietary antioxidants. Research in Veterinary Science, 94: 372-377.