‘Stink bug’ odor compounds do not transfer into milk

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Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB; Halyomorpha halys) is an emerging invasive species of grave concern to agriculture as a polyphagous plant pest with potential negative effects on the dairy industry.

The purpose of this study was to determine the risk of including BMSB-contaminated silage in lactating dairy cow rations. First, six dairies, either highly infested (n=3; 30 to 100 bugs per stalk) or not infested (n=3), were sampled to assess the prevalence of bug secretion compounds tridecane (major component) and E-2-decenal (stink odor component) in silage and milk.

Second, using wild BMSB, a mini-silo dose-response experiment (adding 100, 50, 25, 10 and one freshly crushed bugs/0.5kg of chopped corn) was conducted to assess the effect of ensiling on BMSB stink odor compounds.

Finally, synthetic BMSB stink odor compounds (10g of tridecane and 5g of E-2-decenal) were ruminally infused twice daily over 3 days, and samples of milk, urine, and rumen fluid were collected to evaluate disposition. Bug stink odor compounds were sampled by solid-phase microextraction (SPME) and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Milk production and feed composition were unaffected when BMSB-contaminated silage was fed. Moreover, no E-2-decenal was detected in silage or milk (detection threshold = 0.00125μg/mL).

The dose-response of tridecane in mini-silo samples exhibited a linear relationship (R2=0.78) with the amount of BMSB added; however, E-2-decenal was completely decomposed and undetectable in spiked mini-silos after ensiling. Both synthetic secretion compounds infused into rumen were undetectable in all milk and urine samples. E-2-Decenal was not detectable in rumen fluid, whereas tridecane was detected only at 15 min postinfusion but not present thereafter. Feed intake was unaffected by infusion treatment and BMSB secretion compounds (E-2-decenal and tridecane) were not observed in milk. E-2-Decenal and tridecane from the metathoracic gland of BMSB are not able to contaminate milk either due to the ensiling process or because of metabolism within the rumen. Concern over BMSB stink odor compounds contaminating the fluid milk supply, even on highly infested farms, is not warranted.

Source: Journal of Dairy Science



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