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Effect of quantity and source of rumen nitrogen on the efficiency of microbial protein synthesis in steers consuming tropical forage

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Bowen, M. K., Poppi, D. P. and McLennan, S. R. (2018) Effect of quantity and source of rumen nitrogen on the efficiency of microbial protein synthesis in steers consuming tropical forage. Animal Production Science, 58 (5). pp. 811-817.


Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AN15739


Low values for the efficiency of microbial protein synthesis (EMPS) in cattle consuming tropical forages are related to low rumen degradable crude protein (RDP) intakes. This study examined the effect on the EMPS of the quantity and source of nitrogen (N) supplied to the rumen of eight entire and four rumen-fistulated Brahman steers consuming mature tropical grass hay (57.3 g crude protein/kg DM). Four treatment diets were fed in a Latin square design and included a basal diet of mature pangola grass (Digitaria eriantha) hay (control) and hay plus supplements estimated to provide 150 g RDP/kg digestible organic matter intake (DOMI), as urea or casein, or 300 g RDP/kg DOMI as casein. The EMPS was only increased (P < 0.05) above that for the control diet (167 vs 123 g microbial crude protein (MCP)/kg DOMI) when RDP was provided at the highest rate of 293 g/kg DOMI. This increase was also associated with an ~4-fold increase in the concentration of NH3-N (277 vs 73 mg/L) and of branched-chain volatile fatty acids (44 vs 10 mmol/mol of total volatile fatty acids) in rumen fluid of the steers. However, the source of rumen degradable N (urea or casein) had no effect on the EMPS (109–115 g MCP/kg DOMI) when supplied at ~150 g RDP/kg DOMI. There was no effect of treatment on in vivo neutral detergent fibre digestibility (599 g/kg DM) or the rate (0.037/h) or extent (potential degradable fraction: 636 g/kg OM) of in sacco disappearance of pangola grass hay. In addition, rumen particle dilution rate was unaffected by treatment (0.022/h) and rumen fluid dilution rate, although showing some treatment differences (0.048–0.062/h), was poorly correlated with EMPS. It was concluded that only high amounts of RDP supply to the rumen, in the form of true protein, resulted in increased EMPS whereas at the lower intakes of RDP formulated to achieve EMPS in the range suggested in the feeding standards (130–170 g MCP/kg DOMI) there was no difference in providing the RDP as non-protein N or degradable-protein.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Additional Information:Copyright The State of Queensland (through the Department Agriculture and Fisheries) 2018
Keywords:nitrogen source, urinary purine derivatives.
Subjects:Animal culture > Cattle
Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Live Archive:11 Jan 2017 05:31
Last Modified:21 Dec 2021 02:26

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