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Article

Supplementing Northern Australian Beef Cattle with Desmanthus Tropical Legume Reduces In-Vivo Methane Emissions

1
Animal Genetics and Nutrition, Veterinary Sciences Discipline, College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, Division of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia
2
CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Private Mail Bag Aitkenvale, Australian Tropical Sciences and Innovation Precinct, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia
3
College of Medicine and Dentistry, Division of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(11), 2097; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112097
Received: 16 October 2020 / Revised: 8 November 2020 / Accepted: 9 November 2020 / Published: 11 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Methane Production in Ruminants, Enteric, and Manure Emissions)
The problem addressed in this study is that of mitigating methane emissions by tropical beef cattle with the aim of reducing the impact of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions in Northern Australia. The primary objective was supplementing tropical beef cattle on poor quality hay with incremental levels of Desmanthus leptophyllus cv. JCU1 and Desmanthus bicornutus cv. JCU4 to evaluate their in-vivo antimethanogenic effect. Results showed that, irrespective of cultivar, incremental supplementation with up to 31% of Desmanthus led to a 10% linear decrease in methane emissions without reducing dry matter intake. This finding makes a significant novel contribution to a better understanding of the impact of supplementing beef cattle with Desmanthus on in vivo methane reduction and the role of condensed tannins in rumen fermentation. The practical implication of this finding is that Desmanthus, an adapted tropical legume, has the potential to mitigate in vivo methane emissions by beef cattle in the drier parts of Northern Australia and contribute to the larger global effort of reducing the impact of climate change and greenhouse gas emission.
The main objective of this study was to investigate the effect of supplementing beef cattle with incremental levels of Desmanthus leptophyllus cv. JCU1 and Desmanthus bicornutus cv. JCU4 on in vivo methane (CH4) emissions and the role of tannins in rumen fermentation. Fourteen yearling Droughtmaster steers were allocated to each of the two Desmanthus species and offered a basal diet of Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) hay plus fresh Desmanthus at 0%, 15%, 22%, and 31% of dry matter intake (DMI). The 15% and 31% Desmanthus periods lasted 21 days and the 22 and 0% Desmanthus periods, 14 days. Methane production was measured by open-circuit gas exchange in the last two days of each period. The results showed a linear increase in DMI and reduction in CH4 yield with the increasing level of Desmanthus and subsequently condensed tannins in the diet. The added tannin binder polyethylene glycol-4000 did not affect CH4 yield but increased rumen NH3-N and iso-acid concentrations. Therefore, on a low-quality diet, Desmanthus has the potential to increase intake and reduce CH4 emissions. Even though its tannins can bind rumen proteins, the beef cattle anti-methanogenic response to supplementation with Desmanthus may be a combination of rumen fermentation and tannin effects. View Full-Text
Keywords: methane emission; mitigation; tannins; tropical beef cattle; Desmanthus leptophyllus; Desmanthus bicornutus; phenolics; legumes; polyethylene glycol; greenhouse gas methane emission; mitigation; tannins; tropical beef cattle; Desmanthus leptophyllus; Desmanthus bicornutus; phenolics; legumes; polyethylene glycol; greenhouse gas
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MDPI and ACS Style

Suybeng, B.; Charmley, E.; Gardiner, C.P.; Malau-Aduli, B.S.; Malau-Aduli, A.E.O. Supplementing Northern Australian Beef Cattle with Desmanthus Tropical Legume Reduces In-Vivo Methane Emissions. Animals 2020, 10, 2097. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112097

AMA Style

Suybeng B, Charmley E, Gardiner CP, Malau-Aduli BS, Malau-Aduli AEO. Supplementing Northern Australian Beef Cattle with Desmanthus Tropical Legume Reduces In-Vivo Methane Emissions. Animals. 2020; 10(11):2097. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112097

Chicago/Turabian Style

Suybeng, Bénédicte, Edward Charmley, Christopher P. Gardiner, Bunmi S. Malau-Aduli, and Aduli E.O. Malau-Aduli. 2020. "Supplementing Northern Australian Beef Cattle with Desmanthus Tropical Legume Reduces In-Vivo Methane Emissions" Animals 10, no. 11: 2097. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112097

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