Effect of Propionibacterium spp. On ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestibility, and methane emissions in beef heifers fed a high-forage diet.

Vyas, D., McGeough, E.J., McGinn, S.M., McAllister, T.A., and Beauchemin, K.A. (2014). "Effect of Propionibacterium spp. On ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestibility, and methane emissions in beef heifers fed a high-forage diet.", Journal of Animal Science, 92(5), pp. 2192-2201. doi : 10.2527/jas.2013-7492  Access to full text

Abstract

The objective of this study was to test the efficacy of different Propionibacterium strains in mitigating methane (CH4) emissions in beef heifers fed a high-forage diet. Twenty ruminally cannulated beef heifers were used in a randomized block design with 28-d periods. Treatments included 1) Control, 2) Propionibacterium acidipropionici strain P169, 3) Propionibacterium acidipropionici strain P5, and 4) Propionibacterium jensenii strain P54. Strains (5 × 109 CFU) were administered daily directly into the rumen in 10 g of a maltodextrin carrier in a gel capsule. Control heifers received the carrier only. All heifers were fed a basal diet (70:30 forage to concentrate, DM basis) based on barley silage and corn grain. No treatment effects were observed for overall DMI (P = 0.78) or DMI in chambers (P = 0.29). Dry matter intake was 12 to 29% less in the chambers, with intake depression numerically lower in heifers receiving Propionibacterium than Control. Mean ruminal pH averaged 6.47 and was not affected by treatments (P = 0.34). Likewise, no treatment differences were observed for ruminal concentrations of total VFA (P = 0.24) and ammonia-N (P = 0.49) or for molar proportion of individual VFA. Total daily enteric CH4 production was not affected by Propionibacterium strains as compared to Control and averaged 178 g/d (P = 0.69). However, enteric CH4 emission intensity (g CH4/kg of DMI) was reduced by 12, 8, and 13% with P169, P5, and P54 as compared to Control, respectively (P = 0.03). No treatment effects were observed for total tract digestibility of nutrients. Likewise, total universal bacterial (P = 0.22) and methanogen (P = 0.64) counts were similar among treatments. However, the relative abundance of total Propionibacteria tended to increase with inoculation as compared to Control (P = 0.06). The relative abundance of Propionibacterium P169 tended to be greater at 3 h postdosing, but returned to pretreatment (0 h) levels within 9 h, suggesting it failed to persist at detectable levels in the rumen. In conclusion, Propionibacterium spp. did not reduce total enteric CH4 production, possibly due to their inability to persist and integrate into the ruminal microbial community. However, CH4 emission intensity was reduced with Propionibacterium strains, a response attributed to the numerically greater DMI of heifers receiving Propionibacterium.

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