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J Anim Sci. 2000 Sep;78(9):2421-30.

Compartmental modeling with nitrogen-15 to determine effects of degree of fat saturation on intraruminal N recycling.

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Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus 43210, USA.


Two- and three-compartment models were developed to describe N kinetics within the rumen using three Holstein heifers and one nonlactating Holstein cow fitted with ruminal and duodenal cannulas. A 4 x 4 Latin square design included a control diet containing no supplemental fat and diets containing 4.85% of diet dry matter as partially hydrogenated tallow (iodine value = 13), tallow (iodine value = 51), or animal-vegetable fat (iodine value = 110). Effects of fat on intraruminal N recycling and relationships between intraruminal N recycling and ruminal protozoa concentration or the efficiency of microbial protein synthesis were determined. A pulse dose of 15(NH4)2SO4 was introduced into the ruminal NH3 N pool, and samples were taken over time from the ruminal NH3 N and nonammonia N pools. For the three-compartment model, precipitates of nonammonia N after trichloroacetic acid and ethanol extraction were defined as slowly turning over nonammonia N; rapidly turning over nonammonia N was determined by difference. Curves of 15N enrichment were fit to models with two (NH3 N and nonammonia N) or three (NH3 N, rapidly turning over nonammonia N, and slowly turning over nonammonia N) compartments using the software SAAM II. Because the three-compartment model did not remove a small systematic bias or improve the fit of the data, the two-compartment model was used to provide measurements of intraruminal N recycling. Intraruminal NH3 N recycling (45% for control) decreased linearly as fat unsaturation increased (50.2, 43.0, and 41.7% for partially hydrogenated tallow, tallow, and animal-vegetable fat, respectively). Intraruminal nitrogen recycling was not correlated with efficiency of microbial protein synthesis or ruminal protozoa counts.

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