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This article in

  1. Vol. 81 No. 10, p. 2617-2627
    Received: Jan 30, 2003
    Accepted: July 04, 2003

    3 Corresponding author(s):


Effects of enzyme supplementation of a total mixed ration on microbial fermentation in continuous culture, maintained at high and low pH1

  1. D. Colombatto*2,
  2. G. Hervás,
  3. W. Z. Yang* and
  4. K. A. Beauchemin*3
  1. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge, AB, Canada, T1J 4B1 and
    Estación Agrícola Experimental (CSIC), Apdo. 788, 24080, León, Spain


A dual-flow continuous culture system was used to investigate the effects of pH and addition of an enzyme mixture to a total mixed ration (TMR) on fermentation, nutrient digestion, and microbial protein synthesis. A 4 × 4 Latin square design with a factorial arrangement of treatments was used, with four 9-d periods consisting of 6 d for adaptation and 3 d for measurements. Treatments were as follows: 1) high pH with control TMR, 2) high pH with TMR treated with enzyme, 3) low pH with control TMR, and 4) low pH with TMR treated with enzyme. Ranges of pH were 6.0 to 6.6 and 5.4 to 6.0 for high and low, respectively. Fermenters were fed twice daily a TMR consisting of 30% alfalfa hay, 30% corn silage, and 40% rolled corn (DM basis). The silage was milled fresh and the TMR was fed to the fermenters in fresh form (64% DM). The enzyme mixture was a commercial product of almost exclusive protease activity; it was applied daily to the fresh TMR and stored at 4°C for at least 12 h before feeding. Degradability of OM, NDF, ADF, and cellulose was decreased (P < 0.05) by low pH. Hemicellulose and protein degradation were not affected by pH. Enzyme addition increased (P < 0.01) NDF degradability (by 43% and 25% at high and low pH, respectively), largely as a result of an increase in hemicellulose degradation (by 79% and 51% at high and low pH, respectively). This improvement was supported by an increase (P < 0.05) in the xylanase and cellulase activities in the liquid phase of the fermenter contents. Total VFA were decreased (P < 0.05) by low pH, but were not affected by enzyme addition. Total bacterial numbers were increased (P < 0.03) at low pH and tended (P < 0.13) to increase with enzyme addition. Cellulolytic bacteria in effluent fluid were decreased (P < 0.02) at low pH but were unaffected by enzyme addition. Despite a large increase (P < 0.001) in protease activity, protein degradation was only numerically increased by enzyme addition. Microbial protein synthesis was higher (P < 0.10) at high pH but was not affected by enzyme addition. Methane production, expressed as a proportion of total gases, was decreased (P < 0.001) at low pH but was not affected by enzyme addition. It is concluded that it is possible to adapt the continuous culture system to use fresh feeds instead of dried feeds. Overall, the results indicate that the enzyme product used in this study has a potential to increase fiber degradability without increasing methane production.

Copyright © 2003. Copyright 2003 Journal of Animal Science