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Effects of Nutritional Deprivation and Re-Alimentation on the Feed Efficiency, Blood Biochemistry, and Rumen Microflora in Yaks (Bos grunniens)

1
Low Carbon Breeding Cattle and Safety Production, University Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Animal Nutrition Institute, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130, China
2
Department of Livestock Production, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Sakrand 67210, Sindh, Pakistan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Animals 2019, 9(10), 807; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100807
Received: 20 August 2019 / Revised: 24 September 2019 / Accepted: 11 October 2019 / Published: 15 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Nutrition)
Yak, the predominant and semi-domesticated livestock on the Qinghai–Tibet Plateau, suffers severe starvation and body weight reduction in the cold season and recovers relatively rapid growth in the warm season every year, because of the harsh highland environment. Rumen microorganisms have critical nutritional and physiological functions for the growth of ruminant, but the strategy of rumen microorganism of yaks to cope with the starvation and re-alimentation challenges and the contributions of rumen microflora to compensatory growth remain unclear. Herein, we investigated the effects of starvation and refeeding on the growth, feed efficiency, blood biochemistry and rumen microbial community as well as functions of yaks. Our results indicated that the rumen microorganism, in part, contributed to yak adaption to starvation and compensatory growth during re-alimentation. Our study is helpful in the understanding and utilization of this natural character of yaks to explore and improve their growth potential.
Yak suffers severe starvation and body weight reduction in the cold season and recovers relatively rapid growth in the warm season every year. Herein, we investigated the effects of starvation and refeeding on the growth, feed efficiency, blood biochemistry and rumen microbial community as well as functions of yaks. The results showed that starvation significantly reduced the body weight of yaks. Serum glucose and triglyceride concentrations significantly decreased, and β-hydroxybutyric acid and non-esterified fatty acid levels were significantly increased during the starvation period. Starvation also dramatically inhibited rumen microbial fermentations. Whereas, refeeding with the same diet significantly increased the feed efficiency, nutrient digestibility together with rumen acetate, propionate and microbial protein productions compared with those before starvation. The 16S rDNA sequencing results showed that starvation mainly decreased the ruminal protein-degrading bacteria Prevotella and propionate-producing bacteria Succiniclasticum populations and dramatically increased the denitrifying bacteria Thauera populations. Refeeding reduced the Euryarchaeota population and increased propionate-producing bacteria Succinivibrionaceae UCG-002 and starch-degrading bacteria Ruminobacter populations when compared with those before starvation. The predicted microbial metabolic pathways, related to amino acid and starch metabolisms, were also significantly altered during the starvation and refeeding. The results indicated that the rumen microorganisms and their metabolism pathways changed with feed supply, and these alterations in part contributed to yak adaption to starvation and re-alimentation. This study is helpful for enhancing the understanding and utilization of this natural character of yaks to explore and improve their growth potential. View Full-Text
Keywords: yak; starvation; re-alimentation; compensatory growth; rumen fermentation; rumen microflora yak; starvation; re-alimentation; compensatory growth; rumen fermentation; rumen microflora
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Zou, H.; Hu, R.; Wang, Z.; Shah, A.M.; Zeng, S.; Peng, Q.; Xue, B.; Wang, L.; Zhang, X.; Wang, X.; Shi, J.; Li, F.; Zeng, L. Effects of Nutritional Deprivation and Re-Alimentation on the Feed Efficiency, Blood Biochemistry, and Rumen Microflora in Yaks (Bos grunniens). Animals 2019, 9, 807.

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