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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Effects of supplementing a Bacillus-based direct-fed microbial on performance, nutrient digestibility, rumen fermentation characteristics, and metabolic responses of lactating dairy cows

Cappellozza, Bruno I.; Sousa, Dannylo O.; Alveblad, Christine; et al.


This experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of feeding a Bacillus-based direct-fed microbial (DFM) on performance, nutrient digestibility, rumen fermentation, and metabolic response of lactating dairy cows. Sixty-eight lactating (50 ± 6 d in milk) Holstein-Friesian (n = 20) and Swedish Red (n = 48) cows were enrolled to a 15-wk experiment. Cows were blocked by breed, lactation number, and days in milk and, within blocks, assigned to 1 of the 2 treatments: (1) basal partial mixed ration (PMR) without DFM (n = 34; CON) or (2) basal PMR with the addition of 3 g/head per day of a DFM containing Bacillus licheniformis and Bacillus subtilis (n = 34; DFM). The DFM was mixed in a protein pellet, whereas the CON group was fed the same pellet without DFM (1 kg/cow per day). The PMR contained 53% clover grass silage and 47% compound feed plus 3 kg of a concentrate (dry matter basis) offered during milking. Milk yield and production efficiency were recorded daily, whereas milk samples were collected for 24 h every second week of the study for milk composition. During the experimental period, fecal, rumen fluid, and blood samples were collected from each cow for apparent nutrient digestibility, rumen fermentation, and metabolic responses, respectively. All data were analyzed using the MIXED procedure of SAS. No treatment effects were observed on cows final body weight and daily dry matter intake. However, cows fed DFM had a greater milk yield, milk production efficiency, lactose and total solids yield, and also tended to have a greater energy-corrected milk production efficiency and milk protein yield. No significant differences were observed on nutrient digestibility and total volatile fatty acids, but molar proportion of acetate was greater for cows fed DFM. In contrast, molar proportion of propionate was greater and butyrate tended to be greater for CON. Cows fed DFM had greater mean plasma insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), but no differences were observed for plasma glucose and insulin. In summary, supplementing a Bacillus-based DFM benefited productive responses of lactating dairy cows, while also modulating rumen fermentation and serum IGF-I.

Published in

JDS communications
2024, Volume: 5, number: 2, pages: 107-112