Influence of hop cones and vitamin E supplementation on rumen fermentation in transition dairy cows
After calving cows get into negative energy balance accompanied by glucose deficiency and excessive release of fatty acids from adipose tissue. In assessing the metabolic status of cows during this period, the focus is on the violation of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, but such important aspect as the ammonia intoxication, what is one of the factors of liver degeneration remains often out of attention. The main contribution to the formation of ammonia in the rumen is performed by gram-positive hyper ammonia producing bacteria (HAB). The activities of these bacteria are inhibited by ionophore antibiotics that are prohibited for use as a feed supplement in the EU. The substitute for antibiotics may be hop cones contained substances that selectively affect gram-positive bacteria, including HAB. However, ionophores inhibit cellulolytic bacteria activity too. High doses of dietary vitamin E can stimulate fiber degradation in the rumen. The purpose of our study was the possibility of use hops cones and vitamin E as a complex for prevention of metabolic disorders in the transition cows.
The experiment used twenty Ukrainian dairy black-and-white breed cows; milk yield 6000-7000 kg for previous lactation; divided into two groups 10 animals each. The first group is control. Diet of the second group was supplemented with (per kg DM) 1 g of dry hop cones and 300 mg of α-tocopherol acetate as a 0.6 g of Rovimix E-50 (NRC 2001 recommends 80 mg/kg for dry cows and 30 mg/kg for lactating cows). Experiment lasted during transition period (from 3 wk prepartum until 3 wk postpartum).
Supplementation the diet with hop cones and vitamin E has affected rumen fermentation. In particular, the feed additive stimulated cellulosolytic and suppressed proteolytic activities (p<0.01). Reduced proteolytic activity led to a decrease in ammonia concentration in the rumen (p<0.05). At the same time, the amount of microbial nitrogen in the rumen of the experimental group of cows has moderately increased, what indicates the absence of depress effect of the additive on the rumen microbiota in general. Differences in carbohydrate indices were not found. The concentration of lactate in rumen fluid of the cows of both groups did not differ, the total concentration of volatile fatty acids increased somewhat, however, this changes was quantitatively and statistically insignificant. Daily milk yield of the experimental group cows elevated by 4.5 % compared to the control group. Due to higher milk fat content, fat corrected milk yield was higher by 6.4 %.
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