Effects of dandelion (Taraxacum sp.,) supplements on lactation performance, antioxidative activity, and plasma metabolome in primiparous dairy cows

  • Yan, Li (College of Animal Sciences, Zhejiang University) ;
  • Jie, Mei (College of Animal Sciences, Zhejiang University) ;
  • Jiaqi, Wang (College of Animal Sciences, Zhejiang University) ;
  • Hongyun, Liu (College of Animal Sciences, Zhejiang University)
  • Received : 2022.02.18
  • Accepted : 2022.08.05
  • Published : 2023.02.01


Objective: This study evaluated the effects of dandelion supplements on lactation performance, circulating antioxidative activity and plasma metabolomics in primiparous dairy cows. Methods: A total of 60 mid-lactation dairy cows (milk yield = 34.29±0.34 kg/d; days in milk = 151.72±2.36 days) were divided into 4 treatment groups randomly, comprising the addition of dandelion at 0, 100, 200, 400 g/d per head. The experiment lasted for 8 weeks with an extra 10 days' pre-feeding period. Milk and blood samples were collected, and plasma samples were selected to perform metabolomics analysis. Results: Supplementing 200 g/d of dandelion increased the yield of milk and lactose (p≤0.05). The milk somatic cell counts (p≤0.05) were lower in all dandelion groups than those in the control group. The activity of glutathione peroxidase (p≤0.05) and superoxide dismutase (p≤0.05) were increased and plasma malondialdehyde (p = 0.01) was decreased when cows were fed 200 g/d dandelion. Plasma metabolomics analysis showed that 23 hub differential metabolites were identified in the 200 g/d dandelion group. These metabolites such as ribose, glutamic acid, valine, and phenylalanine were enriched in D-glutamine and D-glutamate metabolism (p = 0.06, impact value = 1), phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan biosynthesis (p = 0.05, impact value = 0.5), and starch and sucrose metabolism (p = 0.21, impact value = 0.13). Moreover, correlation analysis showed that circulating ribose, mannose, and glutamic acid were positively related to milk yield. Conclusion: Dandelion supplementation could improve lactation performance and elevate the plasma carbohydrate and amino acids metabolism and antioxidative activity. Supplementation of 200 g/d dandelion is recommended for lactating dairy cows.



This work was financially supported by China Agriculture Research System (No. CARS-36).


  1. Gonzalez-Castejon M, Visioli F, Rodriguez-Casado A. Diverse biological activities of dandelion. Nutr Rev 2012;70:534-47.
  2. Cho SY, Park JY, Park EM, et al. Alternation of hepatic antioxidant enzyme activities and lipid profile in streptozotocininduced diabetic rats by supplementation of dandelion water extract. Clin Chim Acta 2002;317:109-17.
  3. Schutz K, Carle R, Schieber A. Taraxacum--a review on its phytochemical and pharmacological profile. J Ethnopharmacol 2006;107:313-23.
  4. Choi UK, Lee OH, Yim JH, et al. Hypolipidemic and antioxidant effects of dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) root and leaf on cholesterol-fed rabbits. Int J Mol Sci 2010;11:6778.
  5. Mertenat D, Cero MD, Vogl CR, et al. Ethnoveterinary knowledge of farmers in bilingual regions of Switzerland - is there potential to extend veterinary options to reduce antimicrobial use? J Ethnopharmacol 2020;246:112184.
  6. Hristov AN, Oh J, Firkins JL, et al. Special topics--Mitigation of methane and nitrous oxide emissions from animal operations: I. A review of enteric methane mitigation options. J Anim Sci 2013;91:5045-69.
  7. Wang B, Ma MP, Diao QY, Tu Y. Saponin-induced shifts in the rumen microbiome and metabolome of young cattle. Front Microbiol 2019;10:356.
  8. Sun Z, Yu Z, Wang B. Perilla frutescens leaf alters the rumen microbial community of lactating dairy cows. Microorganisms 2019;7:562.
  9. Yan L, Zhang ZF, Park JC, Kim IH. Evaluation of houttuynia cordata and taraxacum officinale on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, blood characteristics, and fecal microbial shedding in diet for weaning pigs. Asian-Australas J Anim Sci 2012;25:1439-44.
  10. Tan X, Sun Z, Zhou C, et al. Effects of dietary dandelion extract on intestinal morphology, antioxidant status, immune function and physical barrier function of juvenile golden pompano Trachinotus ovatus. Fish Shellfish Immunol 2018; 73:197-206.
  11. Li Y, Lv M, Wang J, et al. Dandelion (Taraxacum mongolicum Hand.-Mazz.) supplementation-enhanced rumen fermentation through the interaction between ruminal microbiome and metabolome. Microorganisms 2020;9:83.
  12. AOAC. Official methods of analysis. Vol. I. 15th ed. Arlington, VA, USA: Association of Official Analytical Chemists; 1990.
  13. Van Soest PJ, Robertson JB, Lewis BA. Methods for dietary fiber, neutral detergent fiber, and nonstarch polysaccharides in relation to animal nutrition. J Dairy Sci 1991;74:3583-97.
  14. Wang B, Mao SY, Yang HJ, et al. Effects of alfalfa and cereal straw as a forage source on nutrient digestibility and lactation performance in lactating dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 2014;97:7706-15.
  15. Wang DM, Chacher B, Liu HY, Wang JK, Lin J, Liu JX. Effects of γ-aminobutyric acid on feed intake, growth performance and expression of related genes in growing lambs. Animal 2015;9:445-8.
  16. Zhao H, Lan Y, Liu H, et al. Antioxidant and hepatoprotective activities of polysaccharides from spent mushroom substrates (Laetiporus sulphureus) in acute alcohol-induced mice. Oxid Med Cell Longev 2017;2017:5863523.
  17. Valussi M. Functional foods with digestion-enhancing properties. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2012;63(Suppl 1):82-9.
  18. Kitts DD, Wijewickreme AN. Effect of dietary caffeic and chlorogenic acids on in vivo xenobiotic enzyme systems. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 1994;45:287-98.
  19. Hu C, Kitts DD. Luteolin and luteolin-7-O-glucoside from dandelion flower suppress iNOS and COX-2 in RAW264.7 cells. Mol Cell Biochem 2004;265:107-13.
  20. Bernabucci U, Ronchi B, Lacetera N, Nardone A. Markers of oxidative status in plasma and erythrocytes of transition dairy cows during hot season. J Dairy Sci 2002;85:2173-9.
  21. Draper HH, Hadley M. Malondialdehyde determination as index of lipid peroxidation. Methods Enzymol 1990;186:421-31.
  22. Wang Y, Walsh SW. Increased superoxide generation is associated with decreased superoxide dismutase activity and mRNA expression in placental trophoblast cells in preeclampsia. Placenta 2001;22:206-12.
  23. Suksrichavalit T, Prachayasittikul S, Nantasenamat C, Isarankura-Na-Ayudhya C, Prachayasittikul V. Copper complexes of pyridine derivatives with superoxide scavenging and antimicrobial activities. Eur J Med Chem 2009;44:3259-65.
  24. Hultquist KM, Casper DP. Effects of feeding rumen-degradable valine on milk production in late-lactating dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 2016;99:1201-15.
  25. Kim J, Lee JE, Lee JS, Park JS, Moon JO, Lee HG. Phenylalanine and valine differentially stimulate milk protein synthetic and energy-mediated pathway in immortalized bovine mammary epithelial cells. J Anim Sci Technol 2020;62:263-75.
  26. Wang F, Shi H, Wang S, Wang Y, Cao Z, Li S. Amino acid metabolism in dairy cows and their regulation in milk synthesis. Current drug metabolism 2019;20:36-45.
  27. Guo L, Tian H, Shen J, et al. Phenylalanine regulates initiation of digestive enzyme mRNA translation in pancreatic acinar cells and tissue segments in dairy calves. Biosci Rep 2018;38:BSR20171189.
  28. Meijer GA, van der Meulen J, van Vuuren AM. Glutamine is a potentially limiting amino acid for milk production in dairy cows: a hypothesis. Metabolism 1993;42:358-64.
  29. Nemati M, Menatian S, Joz Ghasemi S, Hooshmandfar R, Taheri M, Saifi T. Effect of protected-glutamine supplementation on performance, milk composition and some blood metabolites in fresh Holstein cows. Iran J Vet Res 2018;19:225-8.