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Animals 2019, 9(1), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9010029

Effects of Tea Saponin Supplementation on Nutrient Digestibility, Methanogenesis, and Ruminal Microbial Flora in Dorper Crossbred Ewe

1
Key Laboratory of Feed Biotechnology of the Ministry of Agriculture, Feed Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
2
College of Animal Science, Jinling Institute of Technology, Nanjing 210000, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 December 2018 / Revised: 11 January 2019 / Accepted: 17 January 2019 / Published: 21 January 2019
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Simple Summary

Greenhouse gas emissions are a serious cause of global warming and climate change, and have become a common focus for all countries. Methane has been proven the second most commonly occurring greenhouse gas. Ruminants have been blamed for substantially contributing to methane emissions. Supplementation with tea saponin (TS) effectively decreased methane emissions and nitrogen emissions. It is not only beneficial for environmental protection, but also has potential economic benefits.

Abstract

Two experiments were conducted using Dorper × thin-tailed Han crossbred ewes. In experiment 1, eighteen ewes were randomly assigned to two dietary treatments (a basal diet, or the same basal diet supplemented with 2.0 g tea saponin (TS)/head/day) to investigate the effects of TS supplementation on nutrient digestibility and methane emissions. In experiment 2, six ewes with ruminal cannulae were assigned to the same two dietary treatments as in experiment 1 to investigate the effects of TS supplementation on rumen fermentation and microbial flora. TS supplementation increased the apparent digestibility of organic matter (OM) (p = 0.001), nitrogen (N) (p = 0.036), neutral detergent fibre (NDF) (p = 0.001), and acid detergent fibre (ADF) (p < 0.001). Urinary N (p = 0.001) and fecal N (p = 0.036) output were reduced, and N retention (p = 0.001) and nitrogen retention/nitrogen intake (p = 0.001) were increased. Supplementary TS did not decrease absolute methane emissions (p = 0.519) but decreased methane emissions scaled to metabolic bodyweight by 8.80% (p = 0.006). Ammonia levels decreased (p < 0.001) and total volatile fatty acid levels increased (p = 0.018) in response to TS supplementation. The molar proportion of propionate increased (p = 0.007), whereas the acetate:propionate ratio decreased (p = 0.035). Supplementation with TS increased the population of Fibrobacter succinogenes (p = 0.019), but the population of protozoans tended to decrease (p = 0.054). Supplementation with TS effectively enhanced the apparent digestibility of OM, N, NDF, and ADF, and decreased methane emissions scaled to metabolic bodyweight. View Full-Text
Keywords: methane emissions; nitrogen balance; reduction strategy; rumen fermentation; microbial flora; tea saponins methane emissions; nitrogen balance; reduction strategy; rumen fermentation; microbial flora; tea saponins
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Liu, Y.; Ma, T.; Chen, D.; Zhang, N.; Si, B.; Deng, K.; Tu, Y.; Diao, Q. Effects of Tea Saponin Supplementation on Nutrient Digestibility, Methanogenesis, and Ruminal Microbial Flora in Dorper Crossbred Ewe. Animals 2019, 9, 29.

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