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Effects of Propionibacterium strains on ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestibility and methane emissions in beef cattle fed a corn grain finishing diet

  • D. Vyas (a1), E. J. McGeough (a1), R. Mohammed (a1), S. M. McGinn (a1), T. A. McAllister (a1) and K. A. Beauchemin (a1)...


Twenty ruminally cannulated beef heifers were fed a high corn grain diet in a randomized block design to determine the effect of three direct fed microbial (DFM) strains of Propionibacterium on ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestibility and methane (CH4) emissions. The heifers were blocked in five groups on the basis of BW and used in five 28-day periods. Dietary treatments included (1) Control and three strains of Propionibacterium (2) P169, (3) P5, and (4) P54. Strains were administered directly into the rumen at 5×109 CFU with 10 g of a maltodextrin carrier in a gel capsule; Control heifers received carrier only. All heifers were fed the basal diet (10 : 90 forage to concentrate, dry matter basis). Rumen contents were collected on days 15 and 18, ruminal pH was measured continuously between days 15 and 22, enteric CH4 emissions were measured between days 19 and 22 and diet digestibility was measured from days 25 to 28. Mean ruminal pH was 5.91 and was not affected by treatments. Similarly, duration of time that pH<5.8 and 5.6 was not affected by treatment. Likewise, total and major volatile fatty acid profiles were similar among all treatments. No effects were observed on dry matter intake and total tract digestibility of nutrients. Total enteric CH4 production (g/day) was not affected by Propionibacterium strains and averaged 139 g/day. Similarly, mean CH4 yield (g CH4/kg of dry matter intake) was similar for all the treatments. The relative abundance of total Propionibacteria in the rumen increased with administration of DFM and were greater 3 h post-dosing relative to Control, but returned to baseline levels before feeding. Populations of Propionibacterium P169 were higher at 3 and 9 h as compared with the levels at 0 h. In conclusion, moderate persistency of the inoculated strains within the ruminal microbiome and pre-existing high propionate production due to elevated levels of starch fermentation might have reduced the efficacy of Propionibacterium strains to increase molar proportion of propionate and subsequently reduce CH4 emissions.


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