Giant panda colostrum XO activity is related to the survival of newborn pups

Qinling giant panda with the birth of a young son.

Qinling giant pandas Yongyong and Qin Qin and their young sons with different days of development and growth. All images provided by the author of the paper

Breast milk is an ideal food for mammalian pups, it contains a variety of enzymes, some of which are related to milk secretion in the mammary glands, some of which are related to the digestion and absorption of nutrients such as protein, fat or carbohydrates in breast milk by newborn pups, and a small part is involved in the formation of the immune system of newborn pups. The results of recent studies have shown that xanthine oxidase (XO) and polyamine oxidase (PAO) are two important types of oxidoreductase in breast milk, which play a certain antibacterial immune role in the intestine of newborn pups.

Newborn giant panda pups have a body mass of about 100 grams, a low level of growth and development, and are highly dependent on colostrum. The research literature of foreign scholars has also reported that through proteomics and metabolomics studies, the colostrum period of giant panda milk is about 30 days. Colostrum plays a decisive role in the survival of newborn pups of giant pandas, and all pups that do not eat colostrum will die. The author of this article, researcher Lei Yinghu of the Qinling Giant Panda Research Center, said that “1 ml of giant panda colostrum may save 1 panda cub, and the resistance of giant panda cubs is significantly weakened after weaning, which is very susceptible to gastrointestinal and respiratory related diseases.”

Professor Liu Yongfeng of the School of Food Engineering and Nutritional Sciences of Shaanxi Normal University and researcher Lei Yinghu of Qinling Giant Panda Research Center led Fu Shangchen, Zhao Pengpeng, Shen Jiena and others to establish the Amplex Red fluorescence method of XO and PAO activity using frozen cow, goat milk, fresh cow and goat milk, and then detected the XO and PAO activities in frozen giant panda colostrum, and compared with the XO and PAO activities in fresh and frozen cow and goat milk to explore the XO and PAO activities of frozen giant panda colostrum. Provide reference for the improvement of artificial giant panda child-rearing. The findings were published in a new edition of the Northwest Journal of Agricultural Sciences.

The authors’ findings found that the XO activity in giant panda colostrum was lower than that of cow’s milk but higher than that of sheep’s milk, and the PAO activity was lower than that of cow and sheep’s milk. Through the analysis of the synergistic antibacterial mechanism of XO, PAO and LPO systems in milk, it is believed that giant panda colostrum plays a role in the formation of intestinal microbes and innate immune system in newborn cubs. The lower PAO activity in its milk may be related to the special feeding patterns and digestive system of giant pandas, because giant panda cubs cannot develop rumen until adulthood.

Based on the analysis of relevant research literature, the authors of the paper believe that giant pandas have the intestinal structure of typical carnivores, but the dietary pattern of adult pandas is dominated by high-fiber foods such as bamboo (> 90%), which must rely on intestinal microorganisms to digest cellulose, so the formation of intestinal microorganisms in giant panda cubs is very important in their growth and development. The weaning time of giant panda cubs is usually after 1 year old, it can be predicted that although the PAO activity in giant panda milk is low, giant panda milk can achieve the regulation of intestinal microorganisms of giant panda cubs through the long-term synergistic antibacterial mechanism of XO, PAO and LPO systems, and then promote the formation of innate immune system of giant panda cubs. (Source: China Science News, Zhang Xingyong, Yan Tao)

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