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Manipulation of rumen fermentation in sheep by increasing the rate of flow of water from the rumen

  • D. G. Harrison (a1), D. E. Beever (a1), D. J. Thomson (a1) and D. F. Osbourn (a1)

Summary

The effects of an altered rumen dilution rate (D) upon the molar proportions of volatile fatty acids (VFA) in rumen liquor, VFA production rate, microbial protein synthesis and carbohydrate digestion within the rumen were studied using adult wether sheep.

Dilution rate and VFA proportions were unaltered by the infusion of up to 121 water/day into the rumen of sheep fed dried grass and concentrate (9:1). There was a small but significant (P < 0·05) increase in the rumen volume when the infusion rate was increased from 8 to 12 1/day.

The intraruminal infusion of artificial saliva (41/day), or artificial saliva containing 4% or 8% w/v polyethylene glycol (PEG) caused a significant increase in D with an associated decline in the molar proportion of propionate (Pr) in the rumen liquor. A similar effect was obtained with the intraruminal infusion of 2·5% w/v sodium bicarbonate. The overall regression of Pr on D was highly significant: Pr = 32·5–82·1D; r = –0·99, P < 0·001.

A diet of flaked maize: dried grass (6:4) was offered to three sheep each fitted with a rumen cannula and with a re-entrant cannula at the proximal duodenum. The intraruminal infusion (4 1/day) of artificial saliva containing 4% w/v PEG caused a significant (P < 0·01) increase in D and a significant (P < 0·01) depression in Pr in two animals. The dilution rate and Pr in the third animal were virtually unaltered by infusion. The regression of Pr on D for the three animals was highly significant: Pr = 34·8–136·8D; r = –0·98, P < 0·001. Each increase in D was associated with an increased flow of α-linked glucose polymer, total amino acids and total microbial amino acids into the small intestine and with an increased efficiency of microbial protein synthesis within the rumen.

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Manipulation of rumen fermentation in sheep by increasing the rate of flow of water from the rumen

  • D. G. Harrison (a1), D. E. Beever (a1), D. J. Thomson (a1) and D. F. Osbourn (a1)

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