The use of monensin or formaldehyde to control the digestion of the nitrogenous constituents of perennial ryegrass lolium perenne cultivar melle and white clover trifolium repens cultivar blanca in the rumen of cattle

Beever, D.E.; Losada, H.R.; Gale, D.L.; Spooner, M.C.; Dhanoa, M.S.

British Journal of Nutrition 57(1): 57-68


ISSN/ISBN: 0007-1145
Accession: 006787903

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Pure swards of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne cv. Melle) and white clover (Trifolium repens cv. Blanca) were harvested daily as primary growth (grain in May, clover in June) or regrowths (clover only in July) and offered, in the long form, to growing cattle at feeding rate of 22 g dry matter/kg live weight. With each forage, two treatments were compared with the untreated forage (C): monensin (100 g active ingredient/kg, 250 mg/d) addition to the rumen (treatment M) or formaldehyde (30 g/kg crude protein (nitrogen x 6.25)) application to the diet (treatment F). The objective of the experiment was to examine means of manipulating N metabolism in the rumen and the duodenal non-ammonia-N (NAN) supply derived from fresh forages. The apparent digestion of ingested organic matter (g/kg) in the rumen was unaffected by treatment M (C 509, M 497) but was significantly (P < 0.01) reduced by treatment F (443). The extent of cellulose digestion in the rumen was not affected by any of the treatments imposed and the changes in organic matter digestion were due mainly to effects on N digestion and rumen microbial synthesis. On the untreated diets, duodenal NAN supply averaged 0.75 g/g N intake and treatment M caused a small but non-significant increase (M 0.79 g/g N intake). In contrast, the effect of treatment F was much larger (F 0.91 g/g N intake; P < 0.01). These differences were accompanied by corresponding reductions in rumen NH3 concentrations (mg/l; C 350, M 310, F 220; P < 0.001). Of the increased flow of NAN to the small intestine observed on the white clover only diets with treatment F, 0.70 was accounted for by an increased net synthesis of microbial N, while treatment M had no effect on microbial N synthesis and a marginal reduction in feed N degradability only with the regrowth white clover diet. Treatment F reduced feed N degradability to a limited extent on both clover diets (C 0.82, M 0.81, F 0.77). No corresponding measurements were made for the ryegrass diets. It is concluded that the extensive loss of N from the reticulo-rumen of cattle fed on fresh forages can be reduced by the use of agents to reduce protein solubility. However, the study demonstrated that treatment F may in some circumstances increase N supply to the small intestine more through enhancing microbial N synthesis within the rumen than through increasing the passage of undegraded feed N to the small intestine. The use of monensin, to manipulate proteolytic or deaminative activity in the rumen, or both, was not found to confer any beneficial effects on duodenal-NAN supply.