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Open AccessArticle

Rumen Inoculum Collected from Cows at Slaughter or from a Continuous Fermenter and Preserved in Warm, Refrigerated, Chilled or Freeze-Dried Environments for In Vitro Tests

1
Dipartimento di Scienze Agroalimentari, Ambientali e Animali, University of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy
2
Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie e Ambientali, University of Milan, 20122 Milano, Italy
3
Dipartimento di Scienze Animali, della Nutrizione e degli Alimenti, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Piacenza, 29122 Piacenza, Italy
4
Department of Biodiversity Protection, Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of Polish Academy of Sciences (IARFR PAS), 10-748 Olsztyn, Poland
5
Dipartimento di Agronomia, Animali, Alimenti, Risorse naturali e Ambiente, University of Padova, 35122 Padova, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(10), 815; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100815
Received: 7 September 2019 / Revised: 28 September 2019 / Accepted: 8 October 2019 / Published: 16 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue In Vitro Digestibility in Animal Nutritional Studies)
The utilization of animal donors of rumen fluid for laboratory experiments can raise ethical concerns due to invasive methods of collection (rumen cannulated or intubated animals). Societies are strongly oriented to support cruelty free experiments and alternatives to the collection of rumen fluids from live animals are urgently requested from the scientific community. Thus, in order to attenuate the dependence of laboratories on animal donors, this study compared the rumen inoculum collected at slaughter with the fermentation liquid from a rumen continuous fermenter and both rumen inoculum were used fresh or preserved (by refrigeration, chilling and freeze-drying). The results support the possibility of using continuous fermenters to generate inoculum for in vitro purposes, and short-term refrigeration is confirmed to be a valuable storage system to facilitate transfer inoculum from the collection sites. These findings should attenuate the need for laboratories’ frequent collections from animals while continuing research in ruminant nutrition.
The utilization of animal donors of rumen fluid for laboratory experiments can raise ethical concerns, and alternatives to the collection of rumen fluids from live animals are urgently requested. The aim of this study was to compare the fresh rumen fluid (collected at slaughter, W) with that obtained from a continuous fermenter (RCF) and three methods of rumen fluid preservation (refrigeration, R, chilling, C, and freeze-drying, FD). The fermentability of different inoculum was evaluated by three in vitro tests (neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and crude protein (CP) degradability and gas production, NDFd, RDP and GP, respectively) using six feeds as substrates. Despite the two types of inoculum differed in terms of metabolites and microbiota concentration, the differences in vitro fermentability between the two liquids were less pronounced than expected (−15 and 20% for NDFd and GP when the liquid of fermenter was used and no differences for RDP). Within each in vitro test, the data obtained from rumen and from fermenter liquids were highly correlated for the six feeds, as well as between W and R (r: 0.837–0.985; p < 0.01). The low fermentative capacity was found for C and, particularly, FD for liquids. RCF could be used to generate inoculum for in vitro purposes and short-term refrigeration is a valuable practice to manage inoculum. View Full-Text
Keywords: rumen liquid; in vitro fermentation; rumen degradability; gas production rumen liquid; in vitro fermentation; rumen degradability; gas production
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Spanghero, M.; Chiaravalli, M.; Colombini, S.; Fabro, C.; Froldi, F.; Mason, F.; Moschini, M.; Sarnataro, C.; Schiavon, S.; Tagliapietra, F. Rumen Inoculum Collected from Cows at Slaughter or from a Continuous Fermenter and Preserved in Warm, Refrigerated, Chilled or Freeze-Dried Environments for In Vitro Tests. Animals 2019, 9, 815.

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