Supplementing goat kids with coconut medium chain fatty acids in early life influences growth and rumen papillae development until 4 months after supplementation but effects on in vitro methane emissions and the rumen microbiota are transient

Sieglinde Debruyne, Alexis Ruíz-González, Einar Artiles-Ortega, Bart Ampe, Wim Van Den Broeck, Ellen De Keyser, Leen Vandaele, Karen Goossens, Veerle Fievez

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    The aim of this study was to investigate the methane (CH4) reducing potential of a combination of prenatal and/or postnatal treatment with coconut oil medium chain fatty acids (CO MCFA) in goat kids. The hypothesis is that influencing rumen function during early life has more chances for success than in the adult life, related to the resilience of the mature rumen microbiota. Forty-eight pregnant does were split into two experimental groups: treated does (D+) received 40 g/d of CO MCFA in a test compound feed, while control does (D−) received a control compound feed, during the last 3 wk of gestation. Twin kids from 10 does of each group were split up into a treated (K+) and nontreated (K−) group, resulting in four experimental groups: D+K+, D+K−, D−K+, and D−K−. The K+ kids received 1.8 mL/d of CO MCFA from birth until 2-wk postweaning (11 wk). Irrespective of treatment, the experimental rearing conditions resulted in absence of rumen protozoa at all sampling times, assessed by quantitative PCR (qPCR). In vitro incubations with rumen fluid at 4 wk old showed 82% lower CH4 production of inoculum from D+K+ kids compared to D−K− kids (P = 0.01). However, this was accompanied by lower total volatile fatty acids (tVFA) production (P = 0.006) and higher hydrogen accumulation (P = 0.008). QPCR targeting the mcrA and rrs genes confirmed a lower abundance of total methanogens (P < 0.02) and total eubacteria (P = 0.02) in D+K+ kids at 4 wk old. Methanogenic activity, as assessed by mcrA expression by RT-qPCR, was also lower in these kids. However, activity did not always reflect methanogen abundance. At 11 and 28 wk old, prenatal and postnatal effects on in vitro fermentation and rumen microbiota disappeared. Nevertheless, lower milk replacer intake in the first 4 wk resulted in reduced BW in K+ kids, persisting until 28 wk of age. Additionally, differences assigned to postnatal treatment were found in papillae density, width, and length in different areas of the rumen, recorded at 28 wk old. Conclusion: prenatal and postnatal supplementation with CO MCFA reduced in vitro CH4 emissions until 4 wk old by depressing methanogen abundance and activity but at the expense of rumen fermentation and eubacterial abundance. Unfortunately, daily gain of K+ kids was suppressed. Some rumen papillae characteristics differed at 28 wk old due to postnatal treatment which ended at 11 wk old, indicating rumen papillary development can be affected by the early-life nutritional circumstances.
    Oorspronkelijke taalEngels
    TijdschriftJournal of Animal Science
    Volume96
    Exemplaarnummer5
    Pagina's (van-tot)1978–1995
    ISSN0021-8812
    DOI's
    PublicatiestatusGepubliceerd - 4-mei-2018

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