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Animal. 2013 Jul;7(7):1099-105. doi: 10.1017/S1751731113000116. Epub 2013 Feb 8.

Effects of nitrate adaptation by rumen inocula donors and substrate fiber proportion on in vitro nitrate disappearance, methanogenesis, and rumen fermentation acid.

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College of Animal Science and Technology, State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China.


A study was conducted to evaluate the main effects of dietary nitrate adaptation by cattle and alfalfa cell wall to starch ratio in in vitro substrates on nitrate disappearance and nitrite and volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentrations, as well as hydrogen (H2) and methane (CH4) accumulations. Rumen fluid from steers fed diets containing urea or nitrate was added into in vitro incubations containing sodium nitrate as the sole nitrogen source and 20 cell wall : 80 starch or 80 cell wall : 20 starch as the carbohydrate source. The results showed that during 24 h incubation, rumen fluid inoculums from steers adapted to dietary nitrate resulted in more rapid nitrate disappearance by 6 h of incubation (P < 0.01), no significant effect on nitrite concentration and diminished CH4 accumulation (P < 0.05). Cell wall to starch ratio did not affect nitrate disappearance, CH4 accumulation and total VFA concentration. The higher cell wall ratio had the lower total gas production and H2 concentration (P < 0.05). Ammonia-N (NH3-N) concentration increased because of adaptation of donors to nitrate feeding (P < 0.05). Nitrate adaptation did not alter total VFA concentration, but increased acetate, and decreased propionate and butyrate molar proportions (P < 0.01).

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