Impact of High-Concentrate Feeding and Low Ruminal pH on Methanogens and Protozoa in the Rumen of Dairy Cows
ABSTRACT Non-lactating dairy cattle were transitioned to a high-concentrate diet to investigate the effect of ruminal pH suppression, commonly found in dairy cattle, on the density, diversity, and community structure of rumen methanogens, as well as the density of rumen protozoa. Four ruminally cannulated cows were fed a hay diet and transitioned to a 65% grain and 35% hay diet. The cattle were maintained on an high-concentrate diet for 3 weeks before the transition back to an hay diet, which was fed for an additional 3 weeks. Rumen fluid and solids and fecal samples were obtained prior to feeding during weeks 0 (hay), 1, and 3 (high-concentrate), and 4 and 6 (hay). Subacute ruminal acidosis was induced during week 1. During week 3 of the experiment, there was a significant increase in the number of protozoa present in the rumen fluid (P=0.049) and rumen solids (P=0.004), and a significant reduction in protozoa in the rumen fluid in week 6 (P=0.003). No significant effect of diet on density of rumen methanogens was found in any samples, as determined by real-time PCR. Clone libraries were constructed for weeks 0, 3, and 6, and the methanogen diversity of week 3 was found to differ from week 6. Week 3 was also found to have a significantly altered methanogen community structure, compared to the other weeks. Twenty-two unique 16S rRNA phylotypes were identified, three of which were found only during high-concentrate feeding, three were found during both phases of hay feeding, and seven were found in all three clone libraries. The genus Methanobrevibacter comprised 99% of the clones present. The rumen fluid at weeks 0, 3, and 6 of all the animals was found to contain a type A protozoal population. Ultimately, high-concentrate feeding did not significantly affect the density of rumen methanogens, but did alter methanogen diversity and community structure, as well as protozoal density within the rumen of nonlactating dairy cattle. Therefore, it may be necessary to monitor the rumen methanogen and protozoal communities of dairy cattle susceptible to depressed pH when methane abatement strategies are being investigated.
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- "The pH of a given host environment acts as the primary immune defence through altering the resident microbiome environment (Hook et al., 2011; Ng et al., 2004; Urban and Mannan, 2014). "
ABSTRACT: The ability for protozoan parasites to tolerate pH fluctuations within their niche is critical for the establishment of infection and require the parasite to be capable of adapting to a distinct pH range. We used two host adapted Tritrichomonas foetus isolates, capable of infecting either the digestive tract (pH 5.3-6.6) of feline hosts or the reproductive tract (pH 7.4-7.8) of bovine hosts to address their adaptability to changing pH. Using flow cytometry, we investigated the pH tolerance of the bovine and feline T. foetus isolates over a range of physiologically relevant pH in vitro. Following exposure to mild acid stress (pH 6), the bovine T. foetus isolates showed a significant decrease in cell viability and increased cytoplasmic granularity (p-value <0.003, p-value <0.0002) compared to pH 7 and 8 (p-value > 0.7). In contrast, the feline genotype displayed an enhanced capacity to maintain cell morphology and viability (p-value > 0.05). Microscopic assessment revealed that following exposure to a weak acidic stress (pH 6), the bovine T. foetus transformed into rounded parasites with extended cell volumes and displays a decrease in viability. The higher tolerance for acidic extracellular environment of the feline isolate compared to the bovine isolate suggests that pH could be a critical factor in regulating T. foetus infections and host-specificity. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.Experimental Parasitology 07/2015; 157. DOI:10.1016/j.exppara.2015.06.017 · 1.64 Impact Factor
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- "Even though the majority of rumen methanogens have an optimum pH near or above neutrality, some members of the rumen methanogen consortia are able to grow at pH ˂ 6 (e.g., Methanobrevibacter ruminantium M1: pH range of 5.5 to 7.0; Rea et al., 2007). Not surprisingly, methanogen community structure in the rumen of nonlactating dairy cows offered grass hay changed during transition to a diet containing 65% grain and 35% grass hay (DM basis; Hook et al., 2011). "
ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to determine the impact of ruminal pH on methane (CH) emission from beef cattle. Ruminal pH and CH data were generated in 2 experiments using 16 beef heifers offered high-forage (55% barley silage) or high-grain (92% concentrate; DM basis) diets. Both experiments were designed as a replicated 4 × 4 Latin square with 4 periods and 4 dietary treatments. Methane was measured over 4 consecutive days using open-circuit respiratory chambers with each chamber housing 2 heifers. The ruminal pH of individual heifers was measured using indwelling pH loggers. The mean ruminal pH and CH emission (g/h) of 2 heifers in every chamber were summarized in 30-min blocks. Even though rumen methanogens have been described to be inhibited by a pH < 6.0 in vitro, in vivo CH-production rates (g/h) did not decrease when ruminal pH declined to threshold levels for subacute (5.2 ≤ pH < 5.5) or acute ruminal acidosis (pH < 5.2; > 0.05). Daily mean CH emission (g/d) and ruminal pH were only mildly correlated ( = 0.27; < 0.05), suggesting that additional factors, such as increased propionate formation or passage rate, account for the lower CH emissions from cattle fed high-grain as compared to high-forage diets. Lowering ruminal pH alone is, therefore, not an effective CH-mitigation strategy. Mechanisms permitting methanogens to survive episodes of low-ruminal pH might include changes in community structure toward more pH-tolerant strains or sequestration into microenvironments within biofilms or protozoa where methanogens are protected from low pH.Journal of Animal Science 04/2015; 93(4):1760. DOI:10.2527/jas.2014-8469 · 2.11 Impact Factor
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- "Replacing fiber-rich roughage with starch-rich roughage has potential to reduce CH 4 emissions (Brask et al., 2013; Hassanat et al., 2013). Fermentation of starch favors the ruminal production of propionate at the expense of acetate and decreases rumen pH, which reduces hydrogen availability and activity of rumen methanogens (Van Kessel and Russell, 1996; Hook et al., 2011). The scientific evidence for this particular dietary replacement strategy is limited and does not always reflect diets used in practice. "
ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to determine the effects of replacing grass silage (GS) with corn silage (CS) in dairy cow diets on enteric methane (CH4) production, rumen volatile fatty acid (FA) concentrations, and milk FA composition. A completely randomized block design experiment was conducted with 32 multiparous lactating Holstein-Friesian cows. Four dietary treatments were used, all having a roughage-to-concentrate ratio of 80:20 based on dry matter (DM). The roughage consisted of either 100% GS, 67% GS and 33% CS, 33% GS and 67% CS, or 100% CS (all DM basis). Feed intake was restricted (95% of ad libitum DM intake) to avoid confounding effects of DM intake on CH4 production. Nutrient intake, apparent digestibility, milk production and composition, nitrogen (N) and energy balance, and CH4 production were measured during a 5-d period in climate respiration chambers after adaptation to the diet for 12 d. Increasing CS proportion linearly decreased neutral detergent fiber and crude protein intake and linearly increased starch intake. Milk production and milk fat content (on average 23.4 kg/d and 4.68%, respectively) were not affected by increasing CS inclusion, whereas milk protein content increased quadratically. Rumen variables were unaffected by increasing CS inclusion, except the molar proportion of butyrate, which increased linearly. Methane production (expressed as grams per day, grams per kilogram of fat- and protein-corrected milk, and as a percent of gross energy intake) decreased quadratically with increasing CS inclusion, and decreased linearly when expressed as grams of CH4 per kilogram of DM intake. In comparison with 100% GS, CH4 production was 11 and 8% reduced for the 100% CS diet when expressed per unit of DM intake and per unit fat- and protein-corrected milk, respectively. Nitrogen efficiency increased linearly with increased inclusion of CS. The concentration of trans C18:1 FA, C18:1 cis-12, and total CLA increased quadratically, and iso C16:0, C18:1 cis-13, and C18:2n-6 increased linearly, whereas the concentration of C15:0, iso C15:0, C17:0, and C18:3n-3 decreased linearly with increasing inclusion of CS. No differences were found in short- and medium-straight, even-chain FA concentrations, with the exception of C4:0 which increased linearly with increased inclusion of CS. Replacing GS with CS in a common forage-based diet for dairy cattle offers an effective strategy to decrease enteric CH4 production without negatively affecting dairy cow performance, although a critical level of starch in the diet seems to be needed. Copyright © 2015 American Dairy Science Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Journal of Dairy Science 01/2015; 98(3). DOI:10.3168/jds.2014-8552 · 2.57 Impact Factor