In vitro methane emission and acetate : propionate ratio are decreased when artificial stimulation of the rumen wall is combined with increasing grain diets in sheep

C.T. Christophersen, A.D.G. Wright, Phil Vercoe

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    The interaction of retention time in the rumen and concentrate diet on methane production in vitro and acetate: propionate ratio was examined. Twenty-four fistulated sheep were used in a complete factorial design with the sheep randomly divided into 4 groups. The sheep had a 5-wk acclimatization period on an oaten chaff diet, followed by two 3-wk diet phases. Two of the 4 groups were maintained on the oaten chaff diet for the duration of the experiment, with pot scrubbers added to the rumen of 1 of the 2 groups. The remaining 2 groups were offered a low-grain diet (35% grain) in the first diet phase followed by a high-grain diet (70% grain) in the second diet phase. Pot scrubbers were also added to the rumen of 1 of these 2 groups of grain-fed sheep. Pot scrubbers in combination with a low-grain diet decreased the amount of methane produced in vitro from 4.25 to 3.71 mmol/mL of digesta when compared with oaten chaff-fed sheep without pot scrubbers (P < 0.05). The acetate: propionate ratio was 1.6 in sheep fed a high-grain diet with pot scrubbers compared with 2.4 in sheep fed a high-grain diet without pot scrubbers in their rumen (P < 0.05). At high levels of grain, when employing a multivariate statistical analysis including all data, sheep given the combined treatment of grain and pot scrubbers were different from all other sheep groups in this experiment (P < 0.05). Furthermore, sheep fed a high-grain diet were different from sheep receiving the oaten chaff diets with and without pot scrubbers (P < 0.01 and P < 0.05, respectively). In conclusion, pot scrubbers combined with grain alter the rumen fermentation, and introducing pot scrubbers into the rumens of livestock consuming low levels of grain may be a way to lower methane emissions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)384-389
    JournalJournal of Animal Science
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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