Effect of the rumen ciliates Entodinium caudatum, Epidinium ecaudatum and Eudiplodinium maggii, and combinations thereof, on ruminal fermentation and total tract digestion in sheep.
The quantitative importance of individual ciliate species and their interaction in the rumen is still unclear. The present study was performed to test whether there are species differences in the influence on ruminal fermentation in vivo and if combinations of ciliates act additive in that respect. Six adult wethers fed a hay-concentrate diet were defaunated, then refaunated either with Entodinium caudatum (EC), Epidinium ecaudatum (EE) or Eudiplodinium maggii (EM) alone, then progressively with all possible species combinations. Feed, faeces, urine, ruminal fluid and gas were sampled for eight days always after at least 21 days of adaptation. With a linear mixed model, accounting for the 2 x 2 x 2 full factorial study design, mean marginal effect sizes, i.e., the magnitude of change in variables as caused by the presence of each ciliate species or of combinations of them, were estimated. The apparent digestibility of organic matter and neutral detergent fibre remained unaffected. The apparent N digestibility increased by 0.054 with EM (0.716 with defaunation). Ruminal ammonia increased by 1.6, 4.0 and 8.7 mmol/l in the presence of EM, EC and EE, respectively, compared to defaunation (6.9 mmol/l). In the EM + EE combination, ruminal ammonia was lower than would have been expected from an additive effect. With EE, total short-chain fatty acids increased by 23 mmol/l (100 mmol/l with defaunation), but not when EE was combined with EM. The acetate-to-propionate ratio decreased by 0.73 units in the presence of EE (4.0 with defaunation), but only when EE was the sole ciliate species in the rumen. In the presence of any ciliate species, the 16S rDNA copies of total Bacteria and major fibrolytic species decreased to 0.52- and 0.22-fold values, respectively of that found without protozoa. Total Archaea were unaffected; however, Methanobacteriales copies increased 1.44-fold with EC. The CH4-to-CO2 ratio of ruminal gas decreased by 0.036 with EM and 0.051 with EE (0.454 with defaunation). In conclusion, individual ciliates affected ruminal fermentation differently and, when different species were combined, sometimes in a non-additive manner. From the ciliates investigated, EE affected ruminal fermentation most and might play a dominant role in mixed ciliate populations.
Institute of Agricultural Sciences, ETH Zurich, Switzerland. email@example.com
SourceArchives of animal nutrition 66:3 2012 Jun pg 180-99
RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
Pub Type(s)Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't