Interpretive Summary: Rumen fermentation of meal-fed sheep in response to diets formulated to vary in fiber and protein degradability
By: Sathya Sujani, Claire B Gleason, Barbara R dos Reis, Robin R White
We estimated apparent appearance, apparent disappearance, appearance, and disappearance rates of rumen volatile fatty acid (VFA) of sheep in response to the different degradability of nutrients using time-series fermentation indicators with regular meal feeding. Two fiber sources (timothy hay [TH], and beet pulp [BP]) and two protein sources (soybean meal [SBM], and heat-treated soybean meal [HSBM]) were used in combination to prepare four dietary treatments. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) was used as the fluid marker to estimate rumen fluid volume and passage rate. The dynamics of VFA were estimated by deriving one pool model for individual VFA and concentrations of VFA, rumen fluid volume, and fluid passage rate were used in calculations. The interaction effect of protein and fiber source significantly influenced apparent appearance rates and disappearance rates of many major VFA. Significantly altered VFA dynamics, especially apparent disappearance was associated with HSBM-based diets. In conclusion, use of time-series evaluation of fermentation dynamics provides a minimal approach to integrate fluid dynamics and VFA concentrations to estimate apparent appearance and disappearance of VFA. With further development of this approach, we assume that estimated VFA dynamics will provide a better depiction of rumen VFA beyond concentrations and molar proportions in making inferences on rumen fermentation.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.