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J Sci Food Agric. 2017 Jan;97(1):350-356. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.7743. Epub 2016 May 18.

Protection of sunflower seed and sunflower meal protein with malic acid and heat: effects on in vitro ruminal fermentation and methane production.

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Departamento de Producción Agraria, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Agrónomos, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Ciudad Universitaria, 28040, Madrid, Spain.



Combined malic acid-heat treatments of protein supplements have been shown to reduce ruminal protein degradation, but there is no information on their possible influence on ruminal fermentation and methane emissions. This study aimed to investigate the effects of the treatment of sunflower meal (SM) and sunflower seed (SS) with malic acid and subsequent drying at 150°C for 1 (MAL1) or 3 h (MAL3) on in vitro rumen fermentation and methane emission using ruminal fluid from sheep as inoculum.


Compared with untreated samples, the MAL3 treatment reduced (P < 0.05) the dry matter effective degradability (DMED) by 78% and 46% for SS and SM, respectively, indicating heat damage. The MAL1 treatment reduced the DMED of SS by 22%, but did not affect (P > 0.05) total volatile fatty acid production for any feed. This treatment also increased (P < 0.05) the propionate proportion (by 17.7% and 15.6% for SS and SM, respectively) and decreased (P < 0.05) methane production (by 15.5% and 11.3%, respectively) and ammonia-N concentrations (by 26.5% and 14.5%, respectively).


The MAL1 treatment was effective in reducing both ammonia-N concentrations and methane emissions without depressing SS and SM fermentation, but more research is needed to formulate environmentally cleaner diets for ruminants. © 2016 Society of Chemical Industry.


heat; malic acid; methane; protein protection; sunflower meal; sunflower seed

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