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Br J Nutr. 2012 Dec 28;108(12):2207-14. doi: 10.1017/S0007114512000335. Epub 2012 Mar 1.

Ruminal protozoal contribution to the duodenal flow of fatty acids following feeding of steers on forages differing in chloroplast content.

Author information

1
Animal and Microbial Sciences, Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), Aberystwyth University, Gogerddan, Aberystwyth SY23 3EB, UK.

Abstract

Ruminant products are criticised for their SFA content relative to PUFA, although n-6:n-3 PUFA is desirable for human health ( < 4). Rumen protozoa are rich in unsaturated fatty acids due to engulfment of PUFA-rich chloroplasts. Increasing the chloroplast content of rumen protozoa offers a potentially novel approach to enhance PUFA flow to the duodenum and subsequent incorporation into meat and milk. We evaluated protozoal contribution to duodenal n-3 PUFA flow due to intracellular chloroplast content. A total of six Holstein × Friesian steers were fed, in a two-period changeover design, either straw:concentrate (S:C, 60:40; DM basis; S:C, low chloroplast) or fresh perennial ryegrass (PRG; high chloroplast). Following 12 d adaptation to diet, ruminal protozoal and whole duodenal samples were obtained. N and fatty acid content of whole duodenum and rumen protozoal samples were assessed and protozoal 18S rDNA quantitative PCR performed, enabling calculation of protozoal N flow. The ratio of individual fatty acids:N in rumen protozoal samples was calculated to obtain protozoal fatty acid flows. Based on total fatty acid flow, contribution (%) of protozoa to individual fatty acid flows was calculated. Protozoal fatty acid data and microscopical observations revealed that protozoa were enriched with 18 : 3n-3 following PRG feeding, compared with the S:C diet, due to increased intracellular chloroplast content. However, duodenal protozoal 18S rDNA concentration post PRG feeding was low, indicating rumen retention of the protozoa. Nutrition influences the 18 : 3n-3 content of protozoa; the challenge is to increase protozoal flow to the small intestine, while maintaining sustainable rumen densities.

PMID:
22377337
DOI:
10.1017/S0007114512000335
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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