Net flux of nutrients across the rumen wall of lactating dairy Cows as influenced by dietary supplements of folic acid.

Girard, C.L., Benchaar, C., Chiquette, J., and Desrochers, A. (2009). "Net flux of nutrients across the rumen wall of lactating dairy Cows as influenced by dietary supplements of folic acid.", Journal of Dairy Science (JDS), 92(12), pp. 6116-6122. doi : 10.3168/jds.2009-2351  Access to full text

Abstract

The objective of the present study was to determine whether a dietary supplementation of folic acid, at levels used in our previous studies, would affect ruminal fermentation and the net flux of nutrients across the rumen wall of lactating dairy cows. Approximately 4 wk after calving, 5 lactating multiparous cows were surgically equipped with a ruminal cannula, an ultrasonic flow probe around the right ruminal artery, and indwelling catheters in the right ruminal vein and the ileocolic artery. Cows were fed a total mixed ration served in 7 equal meals per d (i.e., every 3.4 h). The experimental design was an unbalanced crossover arrangement with 3 periods of 4 wk each. The vitamin supplement, incorporated in equal amounts into each meal, was supplied at 0, 3, or 6 mg of folic acid per kg of BW per d. During the last week of each experimental period, blood samples were taken simultaneously from the 2 catheters every 30 min and rumen fluid was collected every 60 min during 2 consecutive meal intervals. Dietary supplementation with folic acid had no effect on milk production (27.2 ± 1.3 kg/d) or DMI (19.9 ± 0.7 kg/d), but milk concentrations and yields of total solids, fat, and protein increased linearly with increasing doses of folic acid ingested. Concentrations of folates in rumen fluid and arterial plasma, averaged over time, increased linearly with the dose of folic acid ingested but the net flux of folates across the rumen wall was not different from zero. Concentrations of butyrate in ruminal fluid decreased quadratically with the daily supply in folic acid. Dietary supplements of folic acid had no effect on pH and osmolality of ruminal fluid, nor on ruminal concentrations of lactate, ammonia, acetate, or propionate, total VFA, or microbial counts. The uptake of urea-N by the rumen wall tended to increase quadratically with the dose ingested but net fluxes of other nutrients were not affected by treatments. These results suggest that the effects of folic acid supplements on lactational performance cannot be explained by effects on rumen metabolism.