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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2004

Sources of variation in rates of in vitro ruminal protein degradation

Broderick GA, Uden P, Murphy ML, Lapins A


Rates and extents of ruminal protein degradation for casein, solvent soybean meal (SSBM), expeller soybean meal (ESBM), and alfalfa hay were estimated from net appearance of NH3 and total amino acids in in vitro media containing 1 mM hydrazine and 30 mg/L of chloramphenicol. Protein was added at 0.13 mg of N/mL of medium, and incubations were conducted for 4 to 6 h, usually with hourly sampling. Inocula were obtained from ruminally cannulated donor cows fed diets of grass silage or alfalfa and corn silages plus concentrates. Preincubation or dialysis of inocula was used to suppress background NH3 and total amino acids; however, preincubation yielded more rapid degradation rates for casein and SSBM and was used in subsequent incubations. Preincubation with added vitamins, VFA, hemin, or N did not alter protein degradation. Protein degradation rates estimated for SSBM, ESBM, and alfalfa were not different when computed from total N release or N release in NH3 plus total amino acids, regardless of whether amino acids were quantified using ninhydrin colorimetry or o-phthalaldehyde fluorescence. Accounting for the release of peptide-N also did not affect estimated degradation. However, casein degradation rates were more rapid when using total N release or accounting for peptide-N, indicating significant accumulation of small peptides during its breakdown. Rates also were more rapid with inocula from lactating cows versus nonlactating cows with lower feed intake. Protein degradation rates were different due to time after feeding: casein rate was more rapid, but SSBM and ESBM rates were slower with inocula obtained after feeding. Several characteristics of ruminal inoculum that influenced breakdown of the rapidly degraded protein casein did not appear to have direct effects on degradation of protein in soybean meal

Published in

Journal of Dairy Science
2004, Volume: 87, number: 5, pages: 1345-1359