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RESEARCH ▶▶▶


Impacts of rumen fluid on gas production


Rumen fluid is common used to predict the nutritional value of feed. However, the collection of fresh rumen fluid is complex. This study evaluated whether refrigerated rumen fluid could be a useful alternative to fresh fluid.


BY CARLA FABRO, CHIARA SARNATARO AND MAURO SPANGHERO, UNIVERSITY OF UDINE, ITALY. ORIGINAL SOURCE: AFMA MATRIX, OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2020 – VOL 29 NO 3.


The aim of the research was to study a procedure for manipulating rumen inoculum in order to facil- itate its storage and transfer between laboratories.


G


as production is a common in vitro test in many research centres and commercial laboratories as it is inexpensive, rapid and easy to reproduce with manual or automated systems. However, the col-


lection of rumen fluid requires animals that are cannulated or intubated with oesophageal tubes. Rumen-cannulated animals often require complex procedures to obtain official permits and can have high maintenance costs, while the suction of rumen fluid through an oesophageal probe requires animals to be immobilised and is unsuitable for routine sampling.


Options for collecting rumen fluid An alternative is to collect rumen fluid immediately after slaughter, but the composition of the feed fed to animals is not always known and it requires access to a slaughterhouse


located near the laboratory. Storing rumen fluid while main- taining the viability of the microbial activity would allow the same inoculum to be used for several in vitro runs within a laboratory, with likely advantages in reproducibility. Alterna- tively, it would be possible to concentrate rumen fluid collec- tion in specialised centres and transfer inoculum to nearby laboratories. In addition, a reduction in volume by separating a fraction containing most of the bacteria in the rumen fluid would facilitate storage and transportation. Unfortunately, research efforts aimed at preserving rumen fluid for long pe- riods by freezing or freeze drying have not produced satisfac- tory results in terms of maintaining original fermentation characteristics. However, refrigeration has been demonstrat- ed to be suitable for storing rumen fluid for up to 48 hours. Our general aim was to study a procedure to manipulate ru- men inoculum in order to facilitate its storage and transfer between laboratories before using it as inoculum for the gas production technique. Specific aims were to test rumen fluids refrigerated in a 24-hour progressive steps storage period; and rumen pellets, obtained by centrifugation of the fresh rumen fluids, which are refrigerated and then reconstituted.


In vitro experiments The study comprised two in vitro rumen fermentation experi- ments with gas production measured from graduated 100mℓ glass syringes. Rumen fluid was collected at a slaughterhouse from culled dairy cows which had previously been fed under controlled conditions. The inoculum was delivered to our


38 ▶ ALL ABOUT FEED | Volume 29, No. 1, 2021


PHOTO: EVELIEN FOTOGRAFIE


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