Importance of Dietary Methionine and Selenomethionine on Health and Reproduction


Webinar held on October 14th, 2021.

For the session's questions and answers, click here.

Speakers:  Dr. Darren T. Juniper (retired), Former Associate Professor of Animal Science, University of Reading, England and Dr. Phil Cardoso,  associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Both methionine (Met) and selenium (Se) are essential to dairy cow performance.  Dr. Phil Cardoso, Associate Professor of Animal Science, University of Illinois, USA, says methionine, an essential nutrient, is heavily involved in the metabolic pathways of dairy cows. Methionine, however, cannot be synthesized in the required quantity. Research that extends to the 1970s shows that regularly meeting dairy cows’ methionine needs supports not only production – milk, milk protein and milkfat – but also animal health and reproduction. This includes metabolic diseases, timely breed backs and full-term pregnancies. For these reasons, methionine supplementation is becoming as common as daily vitamin and mineral supplementation.

Dr. Darren T. Juniper (retired), Former Associate Professor of Animal Science, University of Reading, England, reports that selenium is an essential trace element with key functions in antioxidant defense and immunity and inflammatory response modulation of the body. Feeding selenium in the form of SeMet, over inorganic sources or other organic selenium, is preferred because SeMet is metabolized as a constituent of the methionine pool. This leads to a storage depot of selenium being created in body tissues. Increased muscle and tissue reserves of selenium can enhance the resistance of livestock to stress and diseases, and represent a key strategy to help fight stress.

Dr. Phil Cardoso is an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He received his D.V.M. and M.S. degrees from the Universidade Federal Do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. Since 2012, Phil has established a unique program that seamlessly blends his teaching, extension, and research efforts. The impact of Phil’s Dairy Science program is in placing students in applied positions and academia. Phil and his students have published over 75 peer-reviewed manuscripts (original research and invited reviews) and three invited book chapters to date. The program builds from questions asked by dairy producers and focuses on having the dairy cow’s diet as a medical prescription for performance, health, and reproduction. That is achieved by understanding the impact of nutrition on metabolism, reproduction, and health in dairy cows, as well as the mechanisms of metabolic adaptation to stressors and forage quality.  

Dr. Darren T. Juniper worked within the University of Reading’s Animal Science Research Division. He gained his doctorate degree from Reading in 2003 – titled “Diet and Endocrine Responses in Beef Cattle.” He has been involved in animal production research for more than 30 years. During this time, he worked with most classes of domestic livestock (ruminant and monogastric) – covering a diverse range of research topics. Over the last 15 years, Dr. Juniper has researched trace element nutrition, primarily selenium and iodine in animal diets. His selenium-based research has focused on the effects of selenium source on aspects of animal and human health, as well as the deposition of selenium in the products and post-mortem tissues of both ruminant and monogastric livestock.

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