My program addresses the regulation of nutrient use in lactation, growth and pregnancy, with emphasis on lactation and milk synthesis. Efforts involve an integration of nutritional, biochemical and endocrinological aspects of metabolic regulation with an overall program goal of developing an understanding of the regulation of nutrient utilization which 1) provides a conceptual basis broadly applicable to all physiological states and biology, 2) forms the biological basis for specific studies designed to enhance the efficiency of animal production, and 3) provides for an opportunity to design animal-derived foods consistent with health recommendations and consumer perceptions. Examples related to the goals above include crystallization of the concept of homeorhesis in metabolic regulation and delineation of the somatotropin/IGF axis in the regulation of nutrient utilization.
One current focus is nutritional genomics and the regulation of milk fat synthesis. Investigations range from in vivo studies establishing the role of diet and identification of the lipogenic inhibitors produced during rumen biohydrogenation of polyunsaturated fatty acids, to cellular studies establishing the signaling mechanisms in the regulation of milk fat synthesis.
A second current focus includes functional foods and the application of concepts of regulation to redesign foods, specifically milk fat. We have identified two milk fatty acids, cis-9, trans-11 conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and vaccenic acid (VA), that have a potential role in the prevention of chronic diseases such as cancer and atherogenesis. Our research ranges from establishing the biosynthesis and concentration of CLA and VA in milk fat of lactating ruminants, to collaborative research examining the biological benefits of functional foods with enhanced CLA/VA content in biomedical studies with animal models of human diseases and in human clinical using biomarkers for chronic disease.
Program goals also include education of the public about animal technologies, animal agriculture, and nutrition. This includes participation in the public discussion of science and interaction with producers, consumers and policy makers.
Recent reviews that indicate the direction and extent of our research are:
Bauman, D.E. and J.M. Griinari. 2003. Nutritional regulation of milk fat synthesis. Ann. Rev. Nutr. 23:203-227.
Lock, A.L. and D.E. Bauman. 2004. Modifying milk fat composition of dairy cows to enhance fatty acids beneficial to human health. Lipids 39:1197-1206.
Bauman, D.E., C. Tyburczy, A.M. ODonnell, and A.L. Lock. 2006. Conjugated linoleic acid in dairy products. Lipid Tech. 18:245-249.
Bauman, D.E., I. Mather, R. Wall, and A.L. Lock. 2006. Major Advances Associated with the Biosynthesis of Milk. J. Dairy Sci. 89:1235-1243.
Bauman, D.E., J.W. Perfield, II, K.J. Harvatine, and L.H. Baumgard. 2008. Regulation of fat synthesis by conjugated linoleic acid: Lactation and the ruminant model. J. Nutr. 138:403-409.