Effects of an extract of plant flavonoids (Bioflavex) on rumen fermentation and performance in heifers fed high-concentrate diets
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To study the effects of an extract of plant flavonoids [Bioflavex (FL)] in cattle fed high-concentrate diets, 2 experiments were designed. In the first experiment, the effects of Bioflavex on the development of rumen acidosis was evaluated in 8 Holstein-Friesian crossbreed heifers (451 kg; SEM 14.3 kg of BW) using a crossover design. Each experimental period lasted 22 d; from d 1 to 20, the animals were fed rye grass, on d 21 the animals were fasted, and on d 22, rumen acidosis was induced by applying 5 kg of wheat without [CONTROL: (CTR) heifers who did not receive Bioflavex] or with flavonoids [heifers who received FL; 300 mg/kg DM] through a rumen cannula. Rumen pH was recorded continuously (from d 19 to d 22). On d 22, average rumen pH was significantly (P < 0.01) higher in the FL animals (6.29; SEM = 0.031) than it was in the CTR heifers (5.98; SEM = 0.029). After the wheat application, the rumen VFA concentration increased (P < 0.01), the proportion of acetic acid decreased (P < 0.01), and lactate concentration (mmol/L) increased, but the increase was not as great (P = 0.09) in the FL as it was in the CTR heifers (0.41 to 1.35 mmol/L; SEM = 0.24). On d 22, Streptococcus bovis and Selenomonas ruminantium titers increased after the wheat application, but Megasphaera elsdenii titers increased (P < 0.05) only in the FL heifers. In the second experiment, the effect of Bioflavex on the performance and rumen fermentation in finishing heifers was evaluated. Forty-eight Fleckvieh heifers (initial BW = 317 kg; SEM = 5.34) were used in a completely randomized design. Heifers were assigned to 1 of 4 blocks based on their BW and, within each block, assigned to 1 of 2 pens (6 heifers/pen). In addition, 16 heifers (2/pen) were rumen cannulated. Individual BW and group consumption of concentrate and straw were recorded weekly until the animals reached the target slaughter weight. Supplementation with FL did not affect ADG, feed consumption, or feed conversion ratio. Rumen pH and molar proportions of propionate were greater (P < 0.01) and acetate proportion was less in the FL (P < 0.01) than they were in the CTR heifers. Flavonoid supplementation might be effective in improving rumen fermentation and reducing the incidence of rumen acidosis. This effect of flavonoids may be partially explained by increasing the numbers of lactate-consuming microorganisms (e.g., M. elsdenii) in the rumen.
Is part ofJournal of Animal Science, 2012, vol. 90, num. 13, p. 4975-4984
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