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Comparison of fermentation characteristics and bacterial diversity in the rumen of sheep and in batch cultures of rumen microorganisms

  • I. MATEOS (a1), M. J. RANILLA (a1) (a2), C. SARO (a1) and M. D. CARRO (a3)

Summary

The objective of the current study was to assess how closely batch cultures (BC) of rumen microorganisms can mimic the dietary differences in fermentation characteristics found in the rumen, and to analyse changes in bacterial diversity over the in vitro incubation period. Four ruminally and duodenally cannulated sheep were fed four diets having forage : concentrate ratios (FCR) of 70 : 30 or 30 : 70, with either alfalfa hay or grass hay as forage. Rumen fluid from each sheep was used to inoculate BC containing the same diet fed to the donor sheep, and the main rumen fermentation parameters were determined after 24 h of incubation. There were differences between BC and sheep in the magnitude of most measured parameters, but BC detected differences among diets due to forage type similar to those found in sheep. In contrast, BC did not reproduce the dietary differences due to FCR found in sheep for pH, degradability of neutral detergent fibre and total volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentrations. There were differences between systems in the magnitude of most determined parameters and BC showed higher pH values and NH3–N concentrations, but lower fibre degradability and VFA and lactate concentrations compared with sheep. There were significant relationships between in vivo and in vitro values for molar proportions of acetate, propionate and butyrate, and the acetate : propionate ratio. The automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) of 16S ribosomal deoxyribonucleic acid showed that FCR had no effect on bacterial diversity either in the sheep rumen fluid used as inoculum (IN) or in BC samples. In contrast, bacterial diversity was greater with alfalfa hay diets than those with grass hay in the IN, but was unaffected by forage type in the BC. Similarity index between the bacterial communities in the inocula and those in the BC ranged from 67·2 to 74·7%, and was unaffected by diet characteristics. Bacterial diversity was lower in BC than in the inocula with 14 peaks out of a total of 181 detected in the ARISA electropherograms never appearing in BC samples, which suggests that incubation conditions in the BC may have caused a selection of some bacterial strains. However, each BC sample showed the highest similarity index with its corresponding rumen IN, which highlights the importance of using rumen fluid from donors fed a diet similar to that being incubated in BC when conducting in vitro experiments.

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Corresponding author

*To whom all correspondence should be addressed. Email: mariadolores.carro@upm.es

References

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Comparison of fermentation characteristics and bacterial diversity in the rumen of sheep and in batch cultures of rumen microorganisms

  • I. MATEOS (a1), M. J. RANILLA (a1) (a2), C. SARO (a1) and M. D. CARRO (a3)

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