Eight dual-flow continuous-culture fermenters were used in four replicated periods to compare the effects of diet and microbial marker on estimates of N metabolism in continuous culture of ruminal microorganisms. A basal diet was supplemented with urea and tryptone, soybean meal (SBM), lignosulfonate-treated SBM, corn gluten meal, blood meal (BM), hydrolyzed feather meal, fish meal (FM), or meat and bone meal (MBM). Microbial protein flow and protein degradation in fermenters were estimated using purines, purine N, and 15N in bacteria obtained from fermenter flasks or from the effluent. The ratio of purine N to total N in bacteria averaged .083 and was not affected (P > .05) by treatment. Dietary purine content (percentage of DM) ranged from .033 in BM to .084 in FM. Escape of feed purine N (percentage of total purine N flow) averaged 1.7% (SE = 2.9) and was not different (P > .05) among treatments. Bacterial N flows obtained using purines were more variable than estimates obtained using 15N. Bacterial N flows calculated using 15N in bacteria isolated from fermenters were more variable than those obtained using bacteria isolated from the effluent. The use of purines as a microbial marker resulted in lower estimates of protein degradation and smaller differences among treatments compared with use of 15N. Data suggest that escape of feed purine N seems to be a minor factor affecting calculation of bacterial N flow and that the use of 15N in effluent bacteria may be a more accurate procedure when using continuous-culture fermenters.
- Rumen Fermentation