Interpretive Summary: Influence of a sodium-saccharin sweetener on the rumen content and rumen epithelium microbiota in dairy cattle during heat stress
By: Lucas R Koester, Kris Hayman, Chiron J Anderson, Bienvenido W Tibbs-Cortes, Karrie M Daniels, Faith M Seggerman, Patrick J Gorden, Mark Lyte, Stephan Schmitz-Esser
Mitigating the effects of heat stress is becoming more and more important with global increases in temperatures. Heat stress negatively affects livestock health and performance. One way to mitigate the effects of heat stress on livestock is to increase feed intake during stress conditions by enhancing palatability of the feed by adding artificial sweeteners. In this study, we investigated whether supplementation of the diet with a saccharin-based sweetener affected dairy cattle performance and the rumen microbial communities during heat stress. We show that supplementation with a saccharin-based artificial sweetener did not affect the performance of the dairy cattle during heat stress. However, the sweetener resulted in changes in the rumen microbial communities, particularly of the microbial communities attached to the rumen wall. These changes in the rumen wall microbial communities could potentially have implications for the host animal, for example in the integrity of the rumen wall barrier function. Future research will be needed to better understand the role of artificial sweeteners in potentially mitigating stress conditions for livestock and to understand their potential effects on microbial communities.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.