Effects of Plant Extracts on Microbial Population, Methane Emission and Ruminal Fermentation Characteristics in In vitro

  • Kim, E.T. ;
  • Kim, C.H. ;
  • Min, K.S. ;
  • Lee, S.S.
  • Received : 2011.11.24
  • Accepted : 2012.03.29
  • Published : 2012.06.01


This study was conducted to evaluate effects of plant extracts on methanogenesis and rumen microbial diversity in in vitro. Plant extracts (Artemisia princeps var. Orientalis; Wormwood, Allium sativum for. Pekinense; Garlic, Allium cepa; Onion, Zingiber officinale; Ginger, Citrus unshiu; Mandarin orange, Lonicera japonica; Honeysuckle) were obtained from the Plant Extract Bank at Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology. The rumen fluid was collected before morning feeding from a fistulated Holstein cow fed timothy and commercial concentrate (TDN; 73.5%, crude protein; 19%, crude fat; 3%, crude fiber; 12%, crude ash; 10%, Ca; 0.8%, P; 1.2%) in the ratio of 3 to 2. The 30 ml of mixture, comprising McDougall buffer and rumen liquor in the ratio of 4 to 1, was dispensed anaerobically into serum bottles containing 0.3 g of timothy substrate and plant extracts (1% of total volume, respectively) filled with $O_2$-free $N_2$ gas and capped with a rubber stopper. The serum bottles were held in a shaking incubator at $39^{\circ}C$ for 24 h. Total gas production in all plant extracts was higher (p<0.05) than that of the control, and total gas production of ginger extract was highest (p<0.05). The methane emission was highest (p<0.05) at control, but lowest (p<0.05) at garlic extract which was reduced to about 20% of methane emission (40.2 vs 32.5 ml/g DM). Other plant extracts also resulted in a decrease in methane emissions (wormwood; 8%, onion; 16%, ginger; 16.7%, mandarin orange; 12%, honeysuckle; 12.2%). Total VFAs concentration and pH were not influenced by the addition of plant extracts. Acetate to propionate ratios from garlic and ginger extracts addition samples were lower (p<0.05, 3.36 and 3.38 vs 3.53) than that of the control. Real-time PCR indicted that the ciliate-associated methanogen population in all added plant extracts decreased more than that of the control, while the fibrolytic bacteria population increased. In particular, the F. succinogens community in added wormwood, garlic, mandarin orange and honeysuckle extracts increased more than that of the others. The addition of onion extract increased R. albus diversity, while other extracts did not influence the R. albus community. The R. flavefaciens population in added wormwood and garlic extracts decreased, while other extracts increased its abundance compared to the control. In conclusion, the results indicated that the plant extracts used in the experiment could be promising feed additives to decrease methane gas emission from ruminant animals while improving ruminal fermentation.


Methane Emission;Microbial Population;Real-time PCR;Relative Quantification Analysis


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