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Animal. 2010 Feb;4(2):210-7. doi: 10.1017/S175173110999111X.

Rumen chemical and bacterial changes during stepwise adaptation to a high-concentrate diet in goats.

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Laboratory of Gastrointestinal Microbiology, College of Animal Science and Technology, Nanjing Agricultural University 210095, Nanjing, China.


The correlation between rumen chemical and bacterial changes was investigated during a four periodical stepwise adaptation to a high-concentrate diet (concentrate level at 0%, 30%, 50% and 70% for diet I to IV, respectively) in goats. The results showed that ruminal pH decreased from 6.7 to 5.5 after switching from diet I to II, and was maintained at about 5.5 on diet III. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis results showed that the rumen bacterial community was relatively stable during the initial three feeding periods, except for the appearance of three bands when diet changed from I to II, suggesting that an appropriate concentrate level can promote the proliferation of some bacteria. After 12 days of feeding diet III, total volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentration and butyrate proportion decreased. At days 2 and 3 of feeding diet IV, ruminal pH declined sharply to 5.3 and 4.7, respectively, and total VFA concentration decreased further while lactic acid concentration increased markedly, suggesting a relation between lactic acid accumulation and ruminal pH decline. At the same time, many bacteria disappeared, including most fibrolytic-related bacteria while Streptococcus bovis and Prevotella-like species dominated. Interestingly, Succinivibrio dextrinosolvens-like species maintained throughout the experiment, suggesting its tolerance to low pH. In conclusion, rumen bacterial community was relatively stable feeding 0% to 50% concentrate diets, and it was observed that appropriate concentrate levels in the diet could increase the diversity of rumen bacteria. However, concentrate-rich diets caused lactic acid accumulation and low ruminal pH that caused the disappearance of most fibrolytic-related bacteria sensitive to low pH while S. bovis and genus Prevotella persisted.


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