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Methane Production of Fresh Sainfoin, with or without PEG, and Fresh Alfalfa at Different Stages of Maturity is Similar but the Fermentation End Products Vary

Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria de Aragón (CITA), Instituto Agroalimentario de Aragón–IA2 (CITA-Universidad de Zaragoza), Avda, Montañana 930, 50059 Zaragoza, Spain
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Animals 2019, 9(5), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9050197
Received: 14 March 2019 / Revised: 10 April 2019 / Accepted: 18 April 2019 / Published: 26 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue In Vitro Digestibility in Animal Nutritional Studies)
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Simple Summary

In the last years, there has been increasing interest in the use of forages containing condensed tannins (CT) in ruminant nutrition. Condensed tannins can reduce the methane emissions and the ruminal degradation of protein, improving the animal performances to different extents depending on the source and dose of CT. In vitro fermentation of sainfoin has not been studied in fresh forage. The effect of CT can be studied in comparison with a similar CT-free forage or using polyethylene glycol (PEG), which is a tannin-blocking agent. The maturity stage influences the chemical composition to a different degree depending on the legume species, and can affect the content and fractions of CT. The aims of this trial were to compare the fermentation parameters of sainfoin with or without PEG, to detect the differences due to CT, at different maturity stages (vegetative, start-flowering, and end-flowering) and compare them with the fermentation parameters of alfalfa. The main results were that sainfoin had greater in vitro organic matter degradability (IVOMD) and lower ammonia and acetic:propionic ratio than alfalfa. Sainfoin CT had effect on ammonia and individual fatty acid proportions. In conclusion, fermentation end products were affected both by the chemical composition and CT contents.

Abstract

Alfalfa and sainfoin are high-quality forages with different condensed tannins (CT) content, which can be affected by the stage of maturity. To study the effects of CT on fermentation parameters, three substrates (alfalfa, sainfoin, and sainfoin+PEG) at three stages of maturity were in vitro incubated for 72 h. Sainfoin had greater total polyphenol and CT contents than alfalfa. As maturity advanced, CT contents in sainfoin decreased (p < 0.05), except for the protein-bound CT fraction (p > 0.05). The total gas and methane production was affected neither by the substrate nor by the stage of maturity (p > 0.05). Overall, sainfoin and sainfoin+PEG had greater in vitro organic matter degradability (IVOMD) than alfalfa (p < 0.05). Alfalfa and sainfoin+PEG presented higher ammonia content than sainfoin (p < 0.001). Total volatile fatty acid (VFA) production was only affected by the stage of maturity (p < 0.05), and the individual VFA proportions were affected by the substrate and the stage of maturity (p < 0.001). In conclusion, alfalfa and sainfoin only differed in the IVOMD and the fermentation end products. Moreover, CT reduced ammonia production and the ratio methane: VFA, but the IVOMD was reduced only in the vegetative stage. View Full-Text
Keywords: polyethylene glycol; gas production; in vitro organic matter degradability; condensed tannins; ammonia; volatile fatty acid; in vitro assay polyethylene glycol; gas production; in vitro organic matter degradability; condensed tannins; ammonia; volatile fatty acid; in vitro assay
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Rufino-Moya, P.J.; Blanco, M.; Bertolín, J.R.; Joy, M. Methane Production of Fresh Sainfoin, with or without PEG, and Fresh Alfalfa at Different Stages of Maturity is Similar but the Fermentation End Products Vary. Animals 2019, 9, 197.

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