Comparisons of In vitro Nitrate Reduction, Methanogenesis, and Fermentation Acid Profile among Rumen Bacterial, Protozoal and Fungal Fractions

Lin, M.;Schaefer, D.M.;Guo, W.S.;Ren, L.P.;Meng, Q.X.

  • Received : 2010.08.11
  • Accepted : 2010.10.10
  • Published : 2011.04.01


The objectives were to compare the ability of various rumen microbial fractions to reduce nitrate and to assess the effect of nitrate on in vitro fermentation characteristics. Physical and chemical methods were used to differentiate the rumen microbial population into the following fractions: whole rumen fluid (WRF), protozoa (Pr), bacteria (Ba), and fungi (Fu). The three nitrogen substrate treatments were as follows: no supplemental nitrogen source, nitrate or urea, with the latter two being isonitrogenous additions. The results showed that during 24 h incubation, WRF, Pr and Ba fractions had an ability to reduce nitrate, and the rate of nitrate disappearance for the Pr fraction was similar to the WRF fraction, while the Ba fraction needed an adaptation period of 12 h before rapid nitrate disappearance. The WRF fraction had the greatest methane ($CH_4$) production and the Pr fraction had the greatest prevailing $H_2$ concentration (p<0.05). Compared to the urea treatment, nitrate diminished net gas and $CH_4$ production during incubation (p<0.05), and ammonia-N ($NH_3$-N) concentration (p<0.01). Nitrate also increased acetate, decreased propionate and decreased butyrate molar proportions (p<0.05). The Pr fraction had the highest acetate to propionate ratio (p<0.05). The Pr fraction as well as the Ba fraction appears to have an important role in nitrate reduction. Nitrate did not consistently alter total VFA concentration, but it did shift the VFA profile to higher acetate, lower propionate and lower butyrate molar proportions, consistent with less $CH_4$ production by all microbial fractions.




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