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This study examined the influences of coated folic acid (CFA) and coated riboflavin (CRF) on bull performance, nutrients digestion and ruminal fermentation. Forty-eight Angus bulls based on a randomised block and 2 × 2 factorial design were assigned to four treatments. The CFA of 0 or 6 mg of folic acid/kg DM was supplemented in diets with CRF 0 or 60 mg riboflavin (RF)/kg DM. Supplementation of CRF in diets with CFA had greater increase in daily weight gain and feed efficiency than in diets without CFA. Supplementation with CFA or CRF enhanced digestibility of DM, organic matter, crude protein, neutral-detergent fibre and non-fibre carbohydrate. Ruminal pH and ammonia N content decreased and total volatile fatty acids concentration and acetate to propionate ratio elevated for CFA or CRF addition. Supplement of CFA or CRF increased the activities of fibrolytic enzymes and the numbers of total bacteria, protozoa, fungi, dominant fibrolytic bacteria and Prevotella ruminicola. The activities of α-amylase, protease and pectinase and the numbers of Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens and Ruminobacter amylophilus were increased by CFA but were unaffected by CRF. Blood concentration of folate elevated and homocysteine decreased for CFA addition. The CRF supplementation elevated blood concentrations of folate and RF. These findings suggested that CFA or CRF inclusion had facilitating effects on performance and ruminal fermentation, and combined addition of CFA and CRF had greater increase in performance than CFA or CRF addition alone in bulls.
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