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Research article2010Peer reviewedOpen access

Estimation of rumen outflow in dairy cows fed grass silage-based diets by use of reticular sampling as an alternative to sampling from the omasal canal

Krizsan, S. J.; Ahvenjarvi, S.; Volden, H.; Broderick, G. A.


A study was conducted to compare nutrient flows determined by a reticular sampling technique with those made by sampling digesta from the omasal canal. Six lactating dairy cows fitted with ruminal cannulas were used in a design with a 3 x 2 factorial arrangement of treatments and 4 periods. Treatments were 3 grass silages differing mainly in neutral detergent fiber (NDF) concentrations: 412, 530, or 639 g/kg of dry matter, each combined with 1 of 2 levels of concentrate feed. Digesta was collected from the reticulum and the omasal canal to represent a 24-h feeding cycle. Nutrient flow was calculated using the reconstitution system based on 3 markers (Co, Yb, and indigestible NDF) and using (15)N as a microbial marker. Large and small particles and the fluid phase were recovered from digesta collected at both sampling sites. Bacterial samples from the reticulum and the omasum were separated into liquid-and particle-associated bacteria. Reticular samples were sieved through a 1-mm sieve before isolation of digesta phases and bacteria. Composition of the large particle phase differed mainly in fiber content of the digesta obtained from the 2 sampling sites. Sampling site did not affect marker concentration in any of the phases with which the markers were primarily associated. The 15N enrichment of bacterial samples did not differ between sampling sites. The reticular and omasal canal sampling techniques gave similar estimates of marker concentrations in reconstituted digesta, estimates of ruminal flow, and ruminal digestibility values for dry matter, organic matter, starch, and N. Sampling site x diet interactions were also not significant. Concentration of NDF was 2.2% higher in reconstituted omasal digesta than in reconstituted reticular digesta. Ruminal NDF digestibility was 2.7% higher when estimated by sampling the reticulum than by sampling the omasal canal. The higher estimate of ruminal NDF digestibility with the reticular sampling technique was due to differences in NDF concentration of reconstituted digesta. This study shows that nutrient and microbial protein outflow from the rumen can be measured using a reticular sampling technique. The reticular sampling technique provides a promising alternative to sampling from the omasal canal because there is less interference with the animal and it does not require advanced sampling equipment.


dairy cow; omasal canal; reticulum; ruminal flow

Published in

Journal of Dairy Science
2010, Volume: 93, number: 3, pages: 1138-1147

      SLU Authors

    • Krizsan, Sophie Julie

      • Department of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Veterinary Science
    Animal and Dairy Science

    Publication identifier


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