Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment

Vol 12, Issue 2,2014
Online ISSN: 1459-0263
Print ISSN: 1459-0255

In situ ruminal dry matter and protein degradabilities and fermentation characteristics of alfalfa silage in comparison with alfalfa hay - protein metabolism of alfalfa as hay or silage in rumen


YuJia Tian , WenMing Huang , XiaoFeng Xu, ShengLi Li *, Geoff Kirton

Recieved Date: 2014-01-30, Accepted Date: 2014-03-29


An experiment was conducted to determine the effect of post-cutting management of alfalfa and its effect on protein metabolism in rumen. Fresh alfalfa was harvested at the early bloom stage and then prepared as alfalfa hay (AH) and silage (AS). In situ ruminal dry matter and crude protein degradation characteristics were determined for AH and AS with three Holstein heifers, fitted with permanent rumen fistulas. Effective crude protein degradability was greater in AH than in AS (P<0.05). Rumen fluids were collected from the animals, and an in vitro batch culture was conducted to investigate differences in the fermentation characteristics between AH and AS in terms of total gas production (24 h), ammonia nitrogen, total purines and volatile fatty acid production. Alfalfa silages contain high crude protein and higher ammonia nitrogen concentrations. The efficiency of microbial protein synthesis and 24 h gas production of AH was higher than that of AS (P>0.05), and the total purines of AH were higher than those of AS (P<0.05). Aminopeptidase, dipeptidase, dipeptidyl-peptidase, carboxypeptidase and tripeptidyl-peptidases were exopeptidases, and their concentrations in AH treatments were higher than those in AS treatments (P>0.05). The peptidyl-dipeptidase concentration in AH was lower (P<0.05) than in AS, while peptidyl-dipeptidase was not the major peptidase that breaks down the substrates to synthesize microbial protein. In an endopeptidase concentrations assay, the aspartic peptidase concentrations, serine peptidase concentrations and metallo peptidase concentrations of AH were higher than those of AS (P>0.05) by management type. The cysteine peptidase concentrations of AH were close to those of AS. Thus, the protein efficiency of AH was greater than that of AS in rumen in our experiment.


Alfalfa hay/silage, degradability, rumen fermentation, in vitro, endopeptidase, exopeptidase

Journal: Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Year: 2014
Volume: 12
Issue: 2
Category: Agriculture
Pages: 438-442

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