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Reprod Nutr Dev. 1996;36(3):233-40.

Attempted induction of reductive acetogenesis into the rumen fermentation in vitro.

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Department of Animal Production, University of Ghent, Melle, Belgium.


Rumen and caecal contents, obtained from slaughterhouse cattle and rumen contents obtained from a fistulated wether were incubated in vitro with ground hay in the presence and absence of, respectively, casein hydrolysate and mucin. Differences in stoichiometry of rumen and caecal fermentations, indicative of reductive acetogenesis in the caecum, were confirmed, except for incubations with free amino acids. Net fermentation end product production was determined after correction for amounts formed in incubations without the substrate. These determined amounts of hay fermentation end products were compared with the amounts calculated from incubations of hay with added casein hydrolysate or mucin, corrected for amounts formed from the latter added substrates incubated alone. With casein hydrolysate, no differences between the determined and calculated amounts were observed, excluding the occurrence of reductive acetogenesis from hay in the presence of free amino acids. With mucin, the calculated amounts indicated an inhibition of methanogenesis, accompanied by increased amounts of proprionate, butyrate and valerate production. This finding was probably related to the greater availability of easily fermented carbohydrates in the presence of mucins. The absence of an increased acetate production in the incubations with added head space hydrogen gas, also indicate the absence of reductive acetogenesis from hay in the presence of mucin. Stoichiometric considerations also indicate that neither free amino acids, nor mucin, induce reductive acetogenesis in short-term in vitro incubations of rumen contents with hay.

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