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Mature herbs as supplements to ruminant diets: effects on in vitro ruminal fermentation and ammonia production

Kapp-Bitter, Alexandra N.; Dickhoefer, Uta; Kreuzer, Michael and Leiber, Florian (2020) Mature herbs as supplements to ruminant diets: effects on in vitro ruminal fermentation and ammonia production. Animal Production Science, online, pp. 1-10.

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Online at: https://www.publish.csiro.au/AN/AN20323

Summary

Context: High concentrations of crude protein in ruminant diets may lead to excessive production of ruminal ammonia, which may stress the animal’s metabolism and impact nitrogen efficiency. This may become a problem in zero-concentrate feeding systems when pasture grass is rich in crude protein. Polyphenols such as tannins may protect part of dietary protein from ruminal degradation and thus inhibit ammonia formation.
Aims: The present study screened mature herbs for their potential to mitigate ruminal ammonia formation in cattle, when provided as a supplement to a forage diet.
Methods: Thirty-five temperate-climate, herbaceous meadow plant species (including three legumes) that appear in biodiverse natural and sown pastures were investigated for their effects on ruminal ammonia production. Aboveground material was harvested during ripening of the seeds and analysed for nutrient and phenol concentrations. Net energy and protein absorbable at the duodenum were calculated. Incubations (24 h) with cattle rumen fluid following the in vitro Hohenheim Gas Test protocol were performed to compare the effects of the test plants on ruminal gas and ammonia formation. Test plants replaced one-third of a basal mixture consisting of 57% Lolium perenne L. and 43% Medicago sativa L. (air-dry-matter basis). Results were compared with those obtained with the basal mixture alone.
Key results: According to regression analysis, ammonia concentration after incubation was negatively related to concentrations of total extractable phenols and total tannins in feed mixtures, whereas the relationship was weakly positive with dietary crude protein. In 23 and 19 of the test diets, respectively, in vitro gas production (indicating ruminal organic matter digestibility) and ammonia concentrations in the incubation medium after 24 h were significantly lower than with the basal mixture alone. Incubations containing Galium verum L., Leontodon hispidus L., Lotus corniculatus L., Onobrychis viciifolia Scop., Plantago lanceolata L., Sanguisorba minor Scop. and Scabiosa columbaria L. maintained gas production and estimated in vitro organic matter digestibility while at the same time lowering ammonia concentrations.
Conclusions: Seven mature herbs of a screening of 35 proved to have potential for positive effects on ruminal protein utilisation without impairing fermentation.
Implications: These herbs are of particular interest as dietary supplements for dairy cows grazing protein-rich pastures.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:condensed tannins, forbs, hydrolysable tannins, plant secondary compounds, protein efficiency, animal nutrition, Department of Livestock Sciences, Abacus, FiBL50070
Agrovoc keywords:
LanguageValueURI
Englishprotein qualityhttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_6257
Englishruminantshttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_6695
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Beef cattle
Animal husbandry > Feeding and growth
Research affiliation: Switzerland > ETHZ - Agrarwissenschaften
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal > Animal nutrition
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal > Cattle
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal > Animal nutrition > Feedstuffs
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal > Animal nutrition > Protein supply
Germany > University of Hohenheim > Institute of Animal Production in the Tropics and Subtropics
DOI:10.1071/AN20323
Deposited By: Leiber, Dr. Florian
ID Code:38708
Deposited On:15 Dec 2020 09:59
Last Modified:21 Jan 2021 20:58
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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