Influence of supplementation of corn stover with corn grain on the fibrolytic bacteria in the rumen of sheep and their relation to the intake and digestion of fiber

Linden, Y. van der; Gylswyk, N.O. van; Schwartz, H.M.

Journal of Animal Science 59(3): 772-783


ISSN/ISBN: 0021-8812
DOI: 10.2527/jas1984.593772x
Accession: 001391265

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Twelve sheep were fed on maize stover freely plus a protein-mineral supplement (period 1). The diet of each was then supplemented differently with maize grits so that these constituted 0, 90, 120, 150, 180, 210, 240, 270, 300, 330, 360 and 390 g/kg total daily food intake (period 2). All diets contained 13.8% crude protein. Stover intake and amount of cellulose and hemicellulose digested per day declined progressively with increasing grain supplementation. Retention time of solids in the rumen decreased. Numbers of total culturable, cellulolytic and active xylanolytic bacteria per g rumen ingesta did not change significantly with grain feeding. In both periods, the predominant cellulolytic bacteria resembled Ruminococcus albus. Other major species were R. flavefaciens-like cocci and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens-like rods. The number of R. albus-like bacteria did not change but those of other cellulolytic species tended to increase with increasing amounts of grain fed. The same species constituted the major hemicellulolytic bacteria, but B. fibrisolvens-like rods were more numerous than the R. albus-like cocci. Grain supplementation did not affect the proportions of the different hemicellulolytic species. The decline in intake and digestion of fibre when grain was fed could not be attributed to a decrease in production of cellulolytic or hemicellulolytic bacteria in the rumen.