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Interpretive Summary: Alterations of rumen and fecal microbiome in growing beef and dairy steers fed rumen-protected Capsicum oleoresin

By: Stephanie A Bierly, Emily P Van Syoc, Mariana F Westphalen, Asha M Miles, Natalia C Gaeta, Tara L Felix, Alexander N Hristov, Erika K Ganda

The microbiome is the collection of microbes present in an animal’s body and has been discovered to be directly connected to animal health and productivity. In production animals, such as feedlot cattle, the microbiome can be modulated by antimicrobials to promote growth, but increasing consumer pressure to reduce antimicrobial use has producers seeking alternatives. Capsaicin is a phytotherapeutic derived from chili peppers that can be used to modulate the microbiome due to its antimicrobial properties. Eight steers were fed rumen-protected Capsicum oleoresin to determine its effect on average daily gain. In addition, rumen and fecal samples were collected for microbiome testing. No differences were detected in the rumen microbiomes between cattle fed capsaicin (treatment) or those that received no capsaicin (control). While no overall effect was observed on the fecal microbiome of cattle fed different doses of capsaicin or control, we did observe changes in fecal beta diversity due to capsaicin treatment in Holstein steers fed greater doses. The fecal microbiome structure of Holsteins fed greater dosages of capsaicin differed from those fed control or low doses, as observed by the presence of two distinct clusters. This observation suggests an impact of greater doses of capsaicin treatment on microbiome structure.

Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.