ABSTRACT: Two nonlactating cows and two wether sheep, all fitted with a permanent cannula into the rumen, were fed either hay plus concentrate, grass silage or corn silage to study the effect of the donor animal and its diet on in vitro fermentation and microbial protein synthesis. Rumen inoculum was obtained before the morning feeding. Grass silage or corn silage was incubated in a semi-continuous rumen simulation system for 14 days. Four replicated vessels were used per treatment. Degradation of crude nutrients and detergent fibre fractions as well as microbial protein synthesis and the production of volatile fatty acids were studied. Additionally, total gas and methane production was measured with a standard in vitro gas test. Gas production and methane concentration was higher when the inoculum used was from sheep than that from cows. The donor animal also affected the degradation of organic matter and ether extract as well as the amount of propionate and butyrate, and the acetate-to-propionate ratio. The effect of the diet fed to the donor animal on fermentation was much greater than the effect of the donor animal itself. Feeding hay plus concentrate resulted in higher gas production and degradation of acid detergent fibre, but in lower degradation of ether extract and reduced microbial protein synthesis. Additionally, the pattern of volatile fatty acids changed significantly when the diet of the donor animals was hay plus concentrate or one of the silages. These results show that in vitro fermentation and microbial protein synthesis is different when based on inoculum from either cattle or sheep. The diet fed to the donor animal is more important than the animal species and is probably mediated by an adjusted microbial activity. With regard to standardized feed evaluations, these results further support the need to harmonize in vitro approaches used in different laboratories.
J Anim Physiol a Anim Nutr 04/2012; · 0.86 Impact Factor