Characterization of the gastrointestinal microbiome and evaluation of methane emissions from Catrinas cows (primitive population) and Holstein breed as a contribution to the sustainability of farms on Terceira Island

Doutoral fellowships   From 2021 to 2025


Ana Rita Azevedo


Artur da Câmara Machado; Alfredo Borba; Maria Susana Lopes

Funding Institution

Fundo Regional para a Ciência e Tecnologia

Ref.ª M3.1.a/F/035/2020


This project aims to evaluate the influence of two types of grazing on the gastrointestinal microbiome in Catrinas (representative population of the primitive cattle of the Azores) and Holstein, and simultaneously evaluate the levels of gas emissions. Additionally, in the Holstein breed, it is also intended to correlate the diet and the microbiome with the levels of milk production, identifying the animals with the greatest feeding efficiency.

Adult animals will be selected, consisting of a microbiome with lower oscillations, the number of lactations already carried out and the genomic information referring to production genes, will also be taken into account by standardizing the results. To cover the various variables, samples of faecal products, saliva, ruminal fluid (to avoid saliva contamination, the first collected ruminal fluid sample will be discarded).

This project stands out for the fact that it is a pioneer project in the region, betting powerfully on technological and scientific innovations, stimulating a correct selection of the diets provided to animals, avoiding additional costs on farms and promoting the sustainable growth of the archipelago, valuing animals economically and their production (Europe 2030 strategy - environmental sustainability challenge: “Increase the added value of agriculture, animal production and food industries, while reducing their negative environmental impact thanks to better access to new technologies and greater consumer awareness”). As well as, it satisfies the twelfth, “Sustainable Production and Consumption” and the thirteenth “Climate Action” pillar of Sustainable Development (SDG), since it is intended in a first phase to increase scientific knowledge in relation to the microbiome and the levels of greenhouse gas emissions and, in a second phase, to raise the awareness of other entities, namely the Agricultural Associations and the producers themselves (who have been working in partnership with the members of this project to improve the sustainability of farms through genotyping), in order to maximize its impact on the future society, thus contributing to greater application of the strategy and the set of good practices resulting from this project.


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