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J Dairy Sci. 2002 Jan;85(1):160-8.

Splanchnic and mammary nitrogen metabolism by dairy cows fed steam-rolled or steam-flaked corn.

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Department of Animal Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson 85721, USA.


Objectives were to determine net release or uptake of a-amino N, ammonia N, and urea N across portal-drained viscera, liver, splanchnic, and mammary tissues of lactating Holstein cows (n = 6; 109 +/- 9 d in milk) fed alfalfa hay-based total mixed rations (TMR) containing 40% steam-rolled or steam-flaked corn grain. The TMR were offered at 12-h intervals in a crossover design. Blood samples were obtained from indwelling catheters in portal, hepatic, and mammary veins and mesenteric or costo abdominal arteries, every 2 h for each cow and diet. Steam-flaked compared with steam-rolled corn greatly increased in vitro starch hydrolysis (56 vs. 34%). Daily intake of dry matter (18.4 +/- 0.4 kg/d), starch, N, and net energy for lactation by cows were not altered by processing corn; neither were daily yield of milk (29.1 +/- 0.7 kg/d), fat-corrected milk, nor fat-corrected milk per dry matter intake. Steam-flaking tended to increase percent milk protein (2.97 vs. 2.82%; P = 0.07), but not yield, and decrease percent lactose (4.83 vs. 4.94) but not yield. Portal and hepatic blood flows were not affected by diet, nor were net absorption of alpha-amino N and ammonia N. Steam-flaking compared with steam-rolling increased urea N cycling to portal-drained viscera (212 vs. 87 g/d) by 140%, estimated mammary uptake and extraction ratio of alpha-amino N. Flaking versus rolling of corn improved N utilization in dairy cows by increasing urea cycling to the gut and uptake of a-amino N by the mammary gland. Higher mammary uptake of alpha-amino N (78 vs. 50 g/d) by dairy cows fed steam-flaked corn tended to increase milk protein content and may explain the previously observed effects of cows fed steam-flaked versus steam-rolled corn.

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