Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Natural acidosis inhibitors

Lactic acid is normally only a minor product of rumen fermentation. However, when a rapidly degraded feed is introduced too quickly, or when concentrates form a high proportion of the diet, volatile fatty acid production will exceed the buffering capacity of the rumen. This may lead to a so low pH value in the rumen that only lactic acid-producing bacteria can grow. As lactic acid is a stronger acid than the volatile fatty acids, pH falls even more, the recovery of the normal fermentation becomes impossible, and the animal dies.

More typically, however, ruminants on high-concentrate diets suffer sub-clinical acidosis, which is distressing and decreases production efficiency although not life-threatening. Chemical buffers can reverse this condition, but it would be better if the growth of the lactic acid-producing bacteria could be suppressed.

The project results showed that plant materials from Lactuca sativa and Urtica dioica and extracts thereof lower the activity and/or the formation of lactic acid. Lactuca sativa, sometimes called Lactuca virosa, also diminishes the methane production and the protozoal activities and increases the formation of volatile fatty acids. Urtica dioica has also additional effects and inhibits the proteolysis and protozoal activities and favours the formation of volatile fatty acids.

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Reported by

UNIVERSITY OF READING
Dept. of Agriculture, University of Reading, Early Gate
RG6 6AT READING
United Kingdom
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