Interpretive Summary: Supplementation of DHA-Gold pre and/or postnatally to goat kids modifies in vitro methane production and rumen morphology until 6 mo old.
By: Anne Wallace
In this study published in the November 2018 Journal of Animal Science, researchers looked at the effect supplementation with dry whole cell algae (DHA-Gold) had on the production of methane, animal growth, and the rumen morphology of male goat kids.
Saanen does (n=20) and their male kids were used in this study. DHA-Gold supplement was given to 10 Saanen does in the final 3 weeks of pregnancy (pre-natal supplementation). Two male kids were collected from each Saanen doe. Of each pair, one kid was supplemented with DHA-Gold for 12 weeks (pre-natal supplementation), and one was not. This resulted in a total of four experimental treatments: (1) Saanen does and kids supplemented with DHA-Gold (D+k+), does supplemented, but kids not supplemented with DHA-Gold (D+k), does not supplemented, but kids supplemented with DHA-Gold (D-k+), and lastly, both does and kids not supplemented with DHA-Gold (D-k-). Kids were fed supplementation from day of birth to age 12 weeks.
Results indicated no difference in the body weights of kid goats from all treatment groups at 6 months of age. Rumen morphology of k+ animals was found to be poorer than k- animals, with a decreased density, width, and surface area of the rumen in k+ animals, although the authors state performance was unaffected. The in vitro testing of rumen contents also indicated that k+ animals had increased methane production, compared to k- animals.
Overall, the results of this study suggest that supplementation with DHA-Gold did not reduce methane production or benefit rumen morphology in male kid goats. It is likely that unaccounted for microbial factors may have influenced these results. More in-depth studies looking at the interaction between rumen microbes, DHA, and other polyunsaturated fatty acids may therefore be warranted.
To view the article, visit the Journal of Animal Science.