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J Anim Sci. 2006 Jun;84(6):1489-96.

Methane emissions from beef cattle: effects of fumaric acid, essential oil, and canola oil.

Author information

1
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Centre, Box 3000, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. beauchemin@agr.gc.ca

Abstract

The objective of this study was to identify feed additives that reduce enteric methane emissions from cattle. We measured methane emissions, total tract digestibility (using chromic oxide), and ruminal fermentation (4 h after feeding) in growing beef cattle fed a diet supplemented with various additives. The experiment was designed as a replicated 4 x 4 Latin square with 21-d periods and was conducted using 16 Angus heifers (initial BW of 260 +/- 32 kg). Treatments were: control (no additive), fumaric acid (175 g/d) with sodium bicarbonate (75 g/d), essential oil and spice extract (1 g/d), or canola oil (4.6% of DMI). The basal diet consisted of 75% whole-crop barley silage, 19% steam-rolled barley, and 6% supplement (DM basis). Four large chambers (2 animals fed the same diet per chamber) were equipped to measure methane emissions for 3 d each period. Adding canola oil to the diet decreased (P = 0.009) total daily methane emissions by 32% and tended (P = 0.09) to decrease methane emissions as a percentage of gross energy intake by 21%. However, much of the reduction in methane emissions was due to decreased (P < 0.05) feed intake and lower (P < 0.05) total tract digestibility of DM and fiber. Digestibility of all nutrients was also lowered (P < 0.05) by feeding essential oil, but there were no effects on ruminal fermentation or methane emissions. In contrast, adding fumaric acid to the diet increased total VFA concentration (P = 0.03), increased propionate proportions (P = 0.01), and decreased the acetate:propionate ratio (P = 0.002), but there was no measurable effect on methane emissions. The study demonstrates that canola oil can be used to reduce methane losses from cattle, but animal performance may be compromised due to lower feed intake and decreased fiber digestibility. Essential oils had no effect on methane emissions, whereas fumaric acid caused potentially beneficial changes in ruminal fermentation but no measurable reductions in methane emissions.

PMID:
16699105
DOI:
10.2527/2006.8461489x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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