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Flaxseed supplementation decreases methanogenic gene abundance in the rumen of dairy cows

  • L. Li (a1), K. E. Schoenhals (a2), P. A. Brady (a2), C. T. Estill (a2), S. Perumbakkam (a1) and A. M. Craig (a2)...


The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of a flaxseed-supplemented diet on archaeal abundance and gene expression of methanogens in the rumen of dairy cows. In all, 11 non-lactating dairy cows were randomly divided into two groups: group A (five cows) and B (six cows). The two diets fed were: (1) the control diet, a conventional dry cow ration; and (2) the flaxseed-supplemented diet, the conventional dry cow ration adjusted with 12.16% ground flaxseed incorporated into the total mixed ration. A cross-over experiment was performed with the two groups of cows fed the two different diets for five 21-day periods, which included the first adaptation period followed by two treatment and two wash out periods. At the end of each feeding period, rumen fluid samples were collected via rumenocentesis and DNA was extracted. Quantitative PCR was utilized to analyze the gene abundance of 16S ribosomal RNA (16S rRNA) targeting the ruminal archaea population and the mcrA gene coding for methyl coenzyme-M reductase subunit A, a terminal enzyme in the methanogenesis pathway. Results demonstrated a 49% reduction of 16S rRNA and 50% reduction of mcrA gene abundances in the rumen of dairy cows fed the flaxseed-supplemented diet in comparison with those fed the control diet. This shows flaxseed supplementation effectively decreases the methanogenic population in the rumen. Future studies will focus on the mechanisms for such reduction in the rumen of dairy cattle, as well as the relationship between methanogenic gene expression and methane production.


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Flaxseed supplementation decreases methanogenic gene abundance in the rumen of dairy cows

  • L. Li (a1), K. E. Schoenhals (a2), P. A. Brady (a2), C. T. Estill (a2), S. Perumbakkam (a1) and A. M. Craig (a2)...


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