Animal Science Terms - A

A band: broad, dark band that is doubly refractive or anistropic in polarized light in the sarcomere. Contains the myosin filaments
Acetylcholine: compound secreted by the neuron where it is attached to the muscle at the neuromuscular junction. Acetylcholine causes the transfer of the nerve impulse from the neuron to the muscle
Achilles tendon: tendon that is found in the hind limb of the beef animal that is used to suspend the beef carcass from the rail

Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF): highly indigestible part of forage, which includes lignin, cellulose, silica, and insoluble forms of nitrogen

Acidosis: increased acidity in the rumen. Prolonged periods of acidosis can lead to increased acidity of blood

Actin: myofibrillar protein and main component of the I-band or thin filament of the sarcomere. F-actin is made up of a series of the g-actin molecules that form a helical strand known as a thin filament
Actomyosin: protein complex formed when actin and myosin interact at the cross-bridge. At rigor-mortis this interaction is permanent
Adductor: muscle located in the hind limb of an animal which makes up part of the top round
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP): high-energy molecule that is the carrier of free energy used in animal systems
Adjusted backfat thickness: measure of subcutaneous fat thickness adjusted by the grader to take into account the fat deposition on the rest of the carcass
Aerobic metabolism: metabolism in the presence of oxygen
Aged livestock: cattle that are over 8 years old
Aging (for meat): process by which which meat is held under controlled temperatures for a period of time. This allows enzymatic activity to degrade complex proteins, changing flavor and tenderness
Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)agency of the United States Department of Agriculture that has responsibility for developing and applying the federal meat and poultry grading systems
Aitch bone: portion of the pelvic bone that is exposed when a carcass is divided at the medial line
Albumin: group of protein that are found in milk
Anaerobic metabolism: metabolism in the absence of oxygen

Anaplasmosis: often fatal infectious disease of cattle caused by a microscopic parasite of red blood cells spread by ticks or horsefly bites or by reusing needles or instruments between animals

Anhydrous Milkfat (AMF): commercially prepared extraction of cow's milkfat, found in bulk or concentrated form (comprised of 100% fat, but not necessarily all of the lipid components of milk)

Animal Protein: protein derived from meat, eggs or dairy products

Animal Welfare: animal welfare is the physical and psychological well-being of non-human animals

Ante-Mortem Inspection: inspection of the an animal before death to determine healthiness
Ante-mortem: before death
Anterior: sometimes known as "cranial", meaning toward the head

Anthelmintic: drug used to control infections of multi-celled parasitic worms (examples of helminthes: flukes, tapeworms, roundworms), commonly known as a wormer. The drug either expels or kills internal parasites

Antibiotic: class of pharmaceutical products (drug) usually produced by living organisms (molds, bacteria or green plants) that can inhibit or kill undesirable bacteria (e.g., penicillin). They are capable of destroying or weakening certain microorganisms, especially bacteria or fungi, that cause infections or infectious diseases. They are generally injected or fed to the animal that helps it fight off infection. Antibiotics do not kill viruses

Antibody: protein produced by the body’s immune system that recognizes and helps fight infections and other foreign substances in the body

Anticoccidial: see Coccidiostat

Antioxidant: compound added to feeds to prevent the oxidative rancidity of fats

Appendicular skeleton: bones associated with the limbs of the animal

Artery pumping: process of distributing a curing solution throughout a ham using the circulatory system of the animal. The injection site is the femoral artery

Artificial Insemination (AI): advanced breeding process that involves collecting semen from a male, inspecting it for quality, freezing it until it is ready, and then artificially inserted (by injection) into the female reproductive tract (cervix or uterus) through the use of an instrument (French gun) in order for the animal to become pregnant. Studies show that AI is safer and more efficient than using natural insemination. In addition, AI is one of many modern techniques that helps farmers improve the genetics of their herds

As fed: expression of feed nutrient content with moisture included. Nutrient content on an "as fed" basis is always lower than on a "dry matter" basis

Ascorbate: compound added to a curing mixture that hastens development and stability of the cured meat color. Four things that ascorbates do in a curing brine include: (1) taking part in the reduction of metmyoglobin to myoglobin, thereby accelerating the rate of curing; (2) reacting chemically with nitrite to increase the yield of nitric oxide from mitrous acid; (3) acting as an antioxidant, thereby stabilizing both color and flavor and (4) under certain conditions, reducing nitrosamine formation

Ash: inorganic mineral elements of animals and plants, determined in a laboratory by burning off the organic matter at a high temperature and weighing the residue (ash)

Asinus (commonly a donkey): single hoofed mammal of the genus Equus, related to the horses. They typically have a smaller build and longer ears

Atavism: reappearance of a character after it has not appeared for one or more generation

Atlas joint: joint between the head and the first cervical vertebrae, which is severed to remove the head

Available protein: portion of the crude protein that can be digested by the animal; it can represent the proportion of total protein after deducting the ADF-N fraction of a feed

Average Daily Feed Intake: amount of feed consumed by an animal each day

Average Daily Gain (ADG): average daily live weight increase of a growing animal, usually expressed in kilograms, grams or pounds/day

Axial Skeleton: bones in the carcass associated with the vertebrae
Axis joint: joint between the first and second cervical vertebrae

Ayrshire: breed of dairy cattle that originated from the County of Ayr in Scotland. The average mature Ayrshire cow weighs 1,000 - 1,300 pounds and has red markings that can vary in color from orange to brown



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