Effects of isovalerate on ruminal fermentation, urinary excretion of purine derivatives and digestibility in steers
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The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of isovalerate supplementation on rumen fermentation, urinary excretion of purine derivatives and feed digestibility in the total tract of steers. Eight ruminally cannulated Simmental steers were used in a replicated 4 · 4 Latin square experiment. The treatments were: control (without isovalerate), low isovalerate (LIV), medium isovalerate (MIV) and high isovalerate (HIV) dosage of isovalerate at 100, 200 and 300 mg isovalerate per kg dry matter (DM) intake respectively. Diets consisted of corn stover and concentrate (60/40, DM basis). Dry matter intake was approximately 9 kg per day that was 90% of ad libitum intake including 5.4 kg corn stover and 3.6 kg concentrate. Ruminal pH (6.72–6.54) was linearly (p < 0.03) reduced, whereas total volatile fatty acid concentration (64.6–74.7 mmol/l) was linearly (p < 0.01) and quadratically (p < 0.01) increased with increasing isovalerate supplementation. Ratio of acetate to propionate increased linearly (p < 0.01) from 2.78 to 3.39 as isovalerate supplementation increased because of the increase in acetate production and decrease in propionate production. In situ ruminal degradation of amylase-treated neutral detergent fibre (aNDF) of corn stover was improved, but crude protein (CP) degradability of soybean meal decreased with increasing isovalerate supplementation. Urinary excretion of purine derivatives was quadratically (p < 0.01) changed by altering isovalerate supplementation (50.5, 54.3, 58.9 and 55.2 mmol/day for control, LIV, MIV and HIV, respectively). Similarly, digestibilities of organic matter, aNDF and CP in the total tract were linearly and quadratically increased with increasing isovalerate supplementation. The results of this study indicate that supplementation of diet with isovalerate improved ruminal fermentation and feed digestion in beef cattle. It was suggested that the isovalerate stimulated the digestive microorganisms or enzymes in a dose-dependent manner.