A dynamic mechanistic model of lactic acid metabolism in the rumen.

Mills, J.A.N., Crompton, L.A., Ellis, J.L., Dijkstra, J., Hook, S., Benchaar, C., and France, J. (2014). "A dynamic mechanistic model of lactic acid metabolism in the rumen.", Journal of Dairy Science (JDS), 97(4), pp. 2398-2414. doi : 10.3168/jds.2013-7582  Access to full text


Current feed evaluation systems for ruminants are too imprecise to describe diets in terms of their acidosis risk. The dynamic mechanistic model described herein arises from the integration of a lactic acid (La) metabolism module into an extant model of whole-rumen function. The model was evaluated using published data from cows and sheep fed a range of diets or infused with various doses of La. The model performed well in simulating peak rumen La concentrations (coefficient of determination = 0.96; root mean square prediction error = 16.96% of observed mean), although frequency of sampling for the published data prevented a comprehensive comparison of prediction of time to peak La accumulation. The model showed a tendency for increased La accumulation following feeding of diets rich in nonstructural carbohydrates, although less-soluble starch sources such as corn tended to limit rumen La concentration. Simulated La absorption from the rumen remained low throughout the feeding cycle. The competition between bacteria and protozoa for rumen La suggests a variable contribution of protozoa to total La utilization. However, the model was unable to simulate the effects of defaunation on rumen La metabolism, indicating a need for a more detailed description of protozoal metabolism. The model could form the basis of a feed evaluation system with regard to rumen La metabolism.

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