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J Anim Sci. 2005 Nov;83(11):2572-9.

Screening for the effects of natural plant extracts at different pH on in vitro rumen microbial fermentation of a high-concentrate diet for beef cattle.

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Departament de Ciència Animal i dels Aliments, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain.


Six natural plant extracts and three secondary plant metabolites were tested at five doses (0, 0.3, 3, 30, and 300 mg/L) and two different pH (7.0 and 5.5) in a duplicate 9 x 5 x 2 factorial arrangement of treatments to determine their effects on in vitro microbial fermentation using ruminal fluid from heifers fed a high-concentrate finishing diet. Treatments were extracts of garlic (GAR), cinnamon (CIN), yucca (YUC), anise (ANI), oregano (ORE), and capsicum (CAP) and pure cinnamaldehyde (CDH), anethole (ATL), and eugenol (EUG). Each treatment was tested in triplicate and in two periods. Fifty milliliters of a 1:1 ruminal fluid-to-buffer solution were introduced into polypropylene tubes supplied with 0.5 g of DM of a 10:90 forage:concentrate diet (15.4% CP, 16.0% NDF; DM basis) and incubated for 24 h at 39 degrees C. Samples were collected for ammonia N and VFA concentrations. The decrease in pH from 7.0 to 5.5 resulted in lower (P < 0.05) total VFA, ammonia N, branched-chain VFA concentration, acetate proportion, and acetate:propionate, and in a higher (P < 0.05) propionate proportion. The interaction between pH and doses was significant for all measurements, except for ATL and CDH for butyrate, ATL and EUG for acetate:propionate ratio, and ORE for ammonia N concentration. The high dose of all plant extracts decreased (P < 0.05) total VFA concentrations. When pH was 7.0, ATL, GAR, CAP, and CDH decreased (P < 0.05) total VFA concentration, and ANI, ORE, CIN, CAP, and CDH increased (P < 0.05) the acetate:propionate. The CIN, GAR, CAP, CDH, ORE, and YUC decreased (P < 0.05), and EUG, ANI, and ATL increased (P < 0.05) ammonia N concentration. The effects of plant extracts on the fermentation profile when pH was 7.0 were not favorable for beef production. In contrast, when pH was 5.5, total VFA concentration did not change (ATL, ANI, ORE, and CIN) or increased (P < 0.05) (EUG, GAR, CAP, CDH, and YUC), and the acetate:propionate (ORE, GAR, CAP, CDH, and YUC) decreased (P < 0.05), which would be favorable for beef production. Ammonia N (ATL, ANI, CIN, GAR, CAP, and CDH) and branched-chain VFA (ATL, EUG, ANI, ORE, CAP, and CDH) concentrations also were decreased (P < 0.05), suggesting that deamination was inhibited. Results indicate that the effects of plant extracts on ruminal fermentation in beef cattle diets may differ depending on ruminal pH. When pH was 5.5, GAR, CAP, YUC, and CDH altered ruminal microbial fermentation in favor of propionate, which is more energetically efficient.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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