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Investigating the effectiveness of macroalgae species on methane production and rumen fermentation in vitro.

D. E. Wasson



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Investigating the effectiveness of macroalgae species on methane production and rumen fermentation in vitro.
D. E. Wasson*1, H. Stefenoni1, S. Welchez1, C. Lage1, S. R�is�nen1, A. Melgar1, M. Fetter1, C. Yarish2, A. N. Hristov1. 1The Pennsylvania University University Park, PA, 2The University of Connecticut Storrs, CT.

Due to implications for global climate changes, methane (CH4) emissions coming from livestock industries have been the topic of ongoing research. This experiment investigated the effect of macroalgae on methanogenesis and rumen fermentation in vitro. Twenty species of macroalgae were analyzed for their effect on gas production and composition and volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentrations in vitro. Incubations were duplicated and carried out for 24 h with rumen inoculum taken from 2 cannulated lactating Holstein cows fed a standard corn silage/alfalfa haylage and concentrate feeds diet. Treatments were tested in triplicate, at an inclusion rates of 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0% of feed dry matter (DM). Gas production was continuously monitored using an automated gas production system and gas samples were collected at 12 h and 24 h for analysis of CH4 and hydrogen (H2) concentrations. VFA concentrations were analyzed at incubation end-point. Data were analyzed by incubation set with the MIXED procedure of SAS with treatmnent in the model. When compared with CON (basal total mixed ration), 24 h gas production was increased (P ≤ 0.05) 5.8 to 7.2% by Fucus vesiculosus, Mastocarpus papillatus, and Sargassum fluitans. Asparagopsis taxiformis (AT) decreased (P = 0.001) 24 h gas production by 17.4%, when compared with CON. At 24 h, CH4 was decreased (P < 0.001) 98% by AT, compared with CON. Compared with CON, H2 production at 24 h was increased by AT (P < 0.001; from not detectable to 2.19 mL/g DM). There was no effect of treatment on total VFA concentrations. AT decreased (P < 0.001) molar proportion of acetate by 6.3%. Molar proportion of proprionate was increased (P = 0.02) by AT 9.6%, compared with CON, and acetate:proprionate ratio was decreased (P = 0.01) by 13.6%, suggesting a shift in VFA profile likely due to increased H2 concentration. Overall, with the exception of Asparagopsis taxiformis, no other macroalgae decreased enteric methane production in this in vitro experiment.

Keywords: enteric methane, macroalgae, rumen fermentation.