ECLIPSE : Work in progress in India and Madagascar

This month, let's focus on the activities of two of our partners. The first one is working on the adaptive capacity of ruminants and is located in Bangalore, India: it is the National Institute of Animal Nutrition and Physiology (ICAR NIANP). The second, FOFIFA, was presented to you in October 2020. The organisation published a very detailed report on the various activities carried out for ECLIPSE.

infrared thermal imaging ICAR NIANP

Use of infrared thermal imaging  © ICAR NIANP


At the end of 2020, the National Institute began its first experiment for ECLIPSE. The experiment was conducted over 45 days from December 7, 2020 to January 27, 2021. The breed of experimental animals is Kanni Aadu and Kodi Aadu from the state of Tamilnadu in India.

The 24 animals were kept in acclimatization period for one month and, during this period, appropriate prophylactic measures against goat-specific diseases (enterotoxemia, parasitic infections endo and ecto) were taken to ensure the good health of the animals before starting the experiment. 

Acclimatisation of experimental animals © ICAR NIANP

During the experiment, the animals were divided into four groups according to their body weight*. All animals were fed a diet consisting of 60% roughage (napier hybrid hay) and 40% concentrate. Two groups (NDC & BC) were kept in a thermo-neutral condition (26⁰C) in the climatic chamber while the NDHS and BHS animals were exposed daily to simulated heat stress (37-40⁰C) for six hours between 10am and 4pm in the heating chamber for the duration of the study. The four groups were fed and watered individually in the climatic chamber.

Feeding of experimental animals COPY ICAR NIANP
Feeding of experimental animals © ICAR NIANP

◾ All cardinal meteorological variables were recorded twice daily in both chambers using data loggers. Outdoor weather variables were recorded using the automated weather station. 

◾ Behavioural, physiological, blood biochemical and endocrine variables were recorded at 15-day intervals.

◾ Rumen liquor samples, saliva, hair samples, urine and feces were collected from each animal on day 45.

◾ Samples from organs such as heart, liver, lungs, spleen, fat, mammary gland, thyroid, hypothalamus, brain, pituitary, kidney, uterus, ovaries, small intestine, large intestine, lymph nodes and muscle for the study of gene expression have been collected.

◾ Skin and rumen liquor samples were outsourced for metagenomic sequencing of 16s rRNA V3-V4

◾ Skin and liver samples were outsourced for whole transcriptomic analysis.

◾ Skin samples were outsourced for bisulfate sequencing to study the epigenetic changes.

◾ Analyses of biochemical and hormonal variables in the blood are in progress. 

* NDC (Nandi Durga control; n=6), NDHS (Nandi Durga Heat stress; n=6), BC (Bidri Control; n=6) and BHS (Bidri Heat stress; n=6)


ECLIPSE working team at the ICAR NIANP © ICAR NIANP


In Madagascar, cattle breeding represents an essential part of the agricultural sector and employs nearly 80% of the population. This central role is both food and cultural. However, zootechnical and health data on this animal are insufficient and have not been updated for several years. To address this shortcoming, FOFIFA, in partnership with CIRAD, has been monitoring the zootechnical performance of cattle under the ECLIPSE project since 2017.

Find the 2020 activity report on the zootechnical performance of cattle in French here.