Cattle Studies

1. Effect of beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan on somatic cell counts.  Trial 1. Somatic cells in milk are an indication of infection and reduce the price paid to the farmer.  To assess the effect of beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan on somatic cell counts a heard of 255 cows in the Midwest were fed a feed containing 2.0 grams/day beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan for 45 days. Somatic cell counts at day 0 were compared to somatic cell counts at 45 days (Table 5).


Table 5

Effect of beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan somatic cell counts in milk from a Midwest dairy farm.



Somatic Cell Counts

Tank 1

Tank 2








It is clear from the data in Table 5 that there was a significant drop in somatic cell counts after 45 days.


Effect of beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan on somatic cell counts.  Trial 2.  In the Eastern United States a herd of 115 milk cows with high somatic cell counts was fed a feed containing beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan at 2 grams/day/cow.  Somatic cell counts were recorded on day 0 and on day 30. 


Fig. 5.  Somatic cell counts in the milk of 14 cows with the highest somatic cell counts 
30 days after the inclusion of beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan in their feed. 

At day 30 the average somatic cell counts of the herd had decreased by 40%.  Figure 5 shows a plot for the somatic cell counts in the milk of 14 cows with the highest counts at day 0.  Of the 14 cows 3 (Nos. 7, 82 and 86) showed an increase and 11 showed a decrease in somatic cell counts. 

2.  beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan on newborn calves.  A small farm in Virginia suffered a high rate of mortality of newborn calves due to Cryptosporidiosis and upper respiratory infections.  To determine the effect of beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan on survival 13 calves were administered 500 mg of beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan in the replacement milk on the first day and 250 mg every day for the following 8 weeks.


The results show that survival is greatly improved in calves treated with beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan (Table 6)

Table 6

Effect of Agrastim® on calf survival.



Calves Born

Calves Alive at 8 weeks

Milk Replacement



Milk Replacement + Agrastim®

500 mg – day 1

250 mg – day 2-56




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