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Dietary starch and rhubarb supplement increase ruminal dissolved hydrogen without altering rumen fermentation and methane emissions in goats

  • M. Wang (a1) (a2), R. Wang (a1) (a2) (a3), M. Liu (a3), K. A. Beauchemin (a4), X. Z. Sun (a5), S. X. Tang (a1) (a2), J. Z. Jiao (a1) (a2), Z. L. Tan (a1) (a2) and Z. X. He (a1) (a2)...

Abstract

Hydrogen is an important intermediate that is produced during carbohydrate fermentation to volatile fatty acid and utilized by methanogens to produce methane in the rumen. Ruminal volatile fatty acid and dissolved methane concentrations are more than 500 times greater than dissolved hydrogen concentration. Therefore, we hypothesized that dissolved hydrogen might have a higher sensitivity in response to dietary changes compared with volatile fatty acid and dissolved methane. Using goats, we investigated the effects of increasing dietary starch content (maize replaced with wheat bran) and supplementing with rhubarb rhizomes and roots on the relationships among dissolved hydrogen, dissolved methane and other fermentation end products. The study was conducted in a replicated 4×4 Latin square with a 2×2 factorial arrangement of four treatments: two starch levels (220 v. 320 g/kg dry matter (DM)), without and with rhubarb supplement (0% v. 2.8% of total mixed ration). Increased dietary starch and rhubarb supplementation did not alter volatile fatty acid concentrations or methane emissions in terms of g/day, g/g DM intake and g/g organic matter digested. However, goats fed the high-starch diet had greater dissolved hydrogen (P=0.005) and relative abundance of Selenomonas ruminantium (P<0.01), and lower (P=0.02) copy number of protozoa than those fed the low-starch diet. Rhubarb increased ruminal dissolved H2 (P=0.03) and total volatile fatty acid concentration (P<0.001), but decreased copies of bacteria (P=0.002). In conclusion, dissolved hydrogen appears to be more sensitive to dietary changes with starch content and rhubarb supplementation, when compared with volatile fatty acid concentrations and methane production.

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Corresponding author

E-mail: zltan@isa.ac.cn

References

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