Higher Vitamin D2 and 25(OH)D2, but Not Vitamin D3 Metabolites, in Bovine Plasma and Muscle from Grass-Based Finishing System, Compared to Concentrate

Erika Rosbotham, Colin McRoberts, Ruth Price, Sean Strain, Michael McWhinney, Kirsty Pourshahidi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

9 Downloads (Pure)


Meat and meat products are one of the largest contributors to vitamin D dietary intakes. Little is known, however, about how different animal husbandry practices and/or finishing diets might affect the vitamin D content of the animal. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the effect of bovine finishing diet (grass vs. concentrate) on the 25(OH)D plasma concentrations of cattle and subsequent vitamin D content in beef. Cattle were fed grass (n = 7) or concentrate (n = 9) finishing diets for 15 weeks prior to slaughter. Bovine blood samples were collected at slaughter and plasma aliquots were stored (−80 °C) until analysis. Beef top rump from each animal was chilled for an ageing period of 21 days, then homogenised and frozen (−80 °C) until analysis. Bovine plasma samples were analysed for circulating 25(OH)D3, and 25(OH)D2 (nmol/L), and raw beef muscle (top rump) samples were analysed for vitamin D metabolites; vitamin D3, vitamin D2, 25(OH)D3 and 25(OH)D2 (µg/kg), all by LC-MS/MS. Total vitamin D activity was defined: [vitamin D3 + (25(OH)D3 × 5) + vitamin D2 + (25(OH)D2 × 5)]. Statistical analysis was conducted by SPSS with independent t tests used to compare groups; significance level p < 0.05. Data were presented as mean ± SD. A significantly higher plasma 25(OH)D2 concentration was observed in the grass finished cattle compared to the concentrate group (43.18 ± 11.75 vs. 16.56 ± 1.58 nmol/L, p < 0.002). No difference in plasma 25(OH)D3 concentrations was observed between groups. In beef top rump, the grass finishing diet resulted in a significantly higher mean ± SD vitamin D2 [0.07 ± 0.05 vs. 0.01 ± 0.01 µg/kg] and 25(OH)D2 [0.70 ± 0.16 vs. 0.25 ± 0.07 µg/kg] compared to concentrate finishing diet (both p < 0.001). Moreover, beef from grass finished cattle demonstrated a significantly higher total vitamin D activity compared to those in the concentrate group [9.52 ± 2.43 vs. 6.78 ± 2.00 µg/kg, p < 0.05]. No difference was observed for muscle vitamin D3 or 25(OH)D3 between groups. In conclusion, a more favourable bovine vitamin D profile, driven by vitamin D2 metabolites specifically (not vitamin D3), is reported from a grass-based finished system, compared to concentrate finishing. Further research is required to understand the impact of these findings for both agriculture practices and human nutrition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of The 14th European Nutrition Conference FENS 2023)
Publication statusPublished online - 6 Mar 2024
EventThe 14th European Nutrition Conference FENS 2023: FENS 2023 - Belgrade, Serbia
Duration: 14 Nov 202317 Nov 2023

Publication series

ISSN (Print)2504-3900


ConferenceThe 14th European Nutrition Conference FENS 2023
Abbreviated titleFENS 2023
Internet address

Data Access Statement

The data presented in this study are available on request from the corresponding author (accurately indicate status).


  • vitamin D2
  • 25(OH)D2
  • beef
  • Grass-based finishing system


Dive into the research topics of 'Higher Vitamin D2 and 25(OH)D2, but Not Vitamin D3 Metabolites, in Bovine Plasma and Muscle from Grass-Based Finishing System, Compared to Concentrate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this