Screening for effects of plant extracts and active compounds of plants on dairy cattle rumen microbial fermentation in a continuous culture system

M. Busquet, S. Calsamiglia, A. Ferret, C. Kamel

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Eight dual-flow continuous culture fermenters were used to study effects of plant extracts (Experiment 1) and active compounds of plants (Experiment 2) on rumen microbial fermentation. Each experiment consisted in two replicated periods of 9 days. Fermenters were fed 95 g dry matter (DM)/day in three feedings of a 600 g/kg (DM basis) alfalfa hay and 400 g/kg concentrate (178 g/kg crude protein, CP; 325 g/kg neutral detergent fibre, NDF diet), and maintained at constant temperature (38.5 °C), pH 6.4, and solid (0.05/h) and liquid (0.10/h) dilution rates. Both experiments included a negative control with no extract (CTR) and a positive control with monensin (MON). Treatments in Experiment 1 were: Trigonella foenum graecum, Juniperus oxycedrus, Syzygium aromaticum (CLO), Anethum graveolens, Zingiber officinale, and Melaleuca alternifolia. Treatments in Experiment 2 were: benzyl salicylate, anethol, carvacrol (CAR), cinnamaldehyde (CIN), eugenol, and d-carvone. During the adaptation period (i.e., days 1 through 7), samples for ammonia N and volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentrations were collected 2 h after feeding. On days 8 and 9, samples for VFA (2 h after feeding), and large peptide (LPep), small peptide plus amino acid (SPepAA), and ammonia N concentrations (0, 2, 4, 6 and 8 h after feeding) were also collected. During the adaptation period of Experiments 1 and 2, total VFA and ammonia N concentrations were not affected by treatments. During the first 6 days of fermentation in Experiments 1 and 2, MON resulted in lower acetate and higher propionate proportions compared with CTR. However, these differences disappeared after day 6. On days 6 and 7, CLO in Experiment 1 resulted in lower acetate, and higher butyrate, proportions compared with CTR. On day 7, the proportion of acetate was lower in CIN in Experiment 2 compared with CTR. After the adaptation period, CLO resulted in lower acetate, and higher propionate, proportions compared with CTR. The LPep N concentration was higher in CLO compared with CTR, suggesting that CLO reduced peptidolytic activity of rumen microorganisms. In Experiment 2, the LPep N concentration was lower in CAR, and MON resulted in lower SPepAA N concentrations and higher ammonia N concentrations compared with CTR, suggesting that MON stimulated deamination activity of rumen microorganisms. Results indicate that ruminal microbes may adapt to additives within 7 days. However, some plant extracts modified rumen microbial fermentation patterns and may allow manipulation of ruminal fermentation under current commercial practices. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-613
JournalAnimal Feed Science and Technology
Volume123-124 PART 2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2005


  • Plant extracts
  • Protein degradation
  • Rumen fermentation


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