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This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 92 No. 4, p. 1738-1746
    Received: Sept 12, 2013
    Accepted: Jan 29, 2014
    Published: November 24, 2014

    3 Corresponding author(s):


Propionibacterium acidipropionici P1691 and glucogenic precursors improve rumen fermentation of low-quality forage in beef cattle2

  1. P. H. Sanchez*,
  2. L. N. Tracey*,
  3. J. Browne-Silva* and
  4. S. L. Lodge-Ivey 3
  1. Department of Animal and Range Sciences, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces 88003


Cattle grazing dormant western rangelands may have a high ruminal acetate to propionate ratio (A:P) and may have low tissue clearance of acetate. Increasing propionate production could shift this ratio and improve animal performance. In Exp. 1, the effect of Propionibacterium acidipropionici P169 (PA) on forage digestibility and VFA production was evaluated in vitro using 2 substrates: 100% dormant warm-season grass extrusa and 50% sorghum–Sudan hay with 50% ground corn (DM basis). The objective of Exp. 2 was to evaluate the effect of PA or calcium propionate supplementation on digestibility, ruminal fermentation, acetate clearance, and BW change. Twelve 2-yr-old, pregnant Brangus heifers (BW = 416 ± 85 kg) were assigned to 1 of 3 treatments. All cattle were fed a basal ration of Old World Bluestem hay (Bothriochloa ischaemum; 5.8% CP and 76.5% NDF, DM basis) at 1.5% BW from d –10 to d 49. Treatments included a protein supplement (CON; 36% CP and 35% RUP, DM basis; 454 g/animal fed twice daily), CON plus 6 × 1010 cfu PA/animal (BACT), and CON plus 80 g calcium propionate (PROP). After initiation of treatments (d 0), rumen fluid was collected via oral lavage every 3 d and analyzed for VFA, pH, and ammonia. Glucogenic potential of treatments was evaluated with an acetate tolerance test on d 49. In Exp. 1, PA addition increased (IVDMD; P < 0.001) and total VFA (P < 0.001) of 100% dormant warm-season grass extrusa but not 50% sorghum–Sudan hay with 50% ground corn (P ≥ 0.28). The addition of P169 decreased (P < 0.001) acetate, increased propionate (P < 0.001), and decreased A:P ratio (P < 0.001) for both substrates. In Exp. 2, total tract OM and NDF digestibility and ruminal pH, total VFA, and acetate did not differ (P ≥ 0.13) among treatments. Propionate concentration was least (P = 0.001) for CON, intermediate for P169, and greatest for PROP. Conversely, A:P ratio was greatest (P < 0.004) for CON, intermediate for P169, and least for PROP. Acetate clearance did not differ (P = 0.69) among treatments. Propionibacterium acidipropionici P169 increased IVDMD and total VFA of low-quality forage. Supplementation with PA and calcium propionate salts increased propionate and decreased A:P in the rumen. Supplementation of PA represents a potential way to increase ruminal propionate concentration when dormant forages are fed.

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