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Review Paper
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2000;13(1): 96-114.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2000.96    Published online January 1, 2000.
Manipulation of the Rumen Ecosystem to Support High-Performance Beef Cattle - Review -
J. P. Jouany, B. Michalet-Doreau, M. Doreau
Abstract
Genetically selected beef cattle are fed high-energy diets in intensive production systems developed in industrial countries. This type of feeding can induce rumen dysfunctions that have to be corrected by farmers to optimise cost-effectiveness. The risk of rumen acidosis can be reduced by using slowly degradable starch, which partly escapes rumen fermentation and goes on to be digested in the small intestine. Additives are proposed to stabilise the rumen pH and restrict lactate accumulation, thus favouring the growth of cellulolytic bacteria and stimulating the digestion of the dietary plant cell wall fraction. This enhances the energy value of feeds when animals are fed maize silage for example. Supplementation of lipids to increase energy intake is known to influence the population of rumen protozoa and some associated rumen functions such as cellulolysis and proteolysis. The end products of rumen fermentation are also changed. Lipolysis and hydrogenation by rumen microbes alter the form of fatty acids supplied to animals. This effect is discussed in relation with the quality of lipids in beef and the implications for human health. Conditions for optimising the amount of amino acids from microbial proteins and dietary by-pass proteins flowing to the duodenum of ruminants, and their impact on beef production, are also examined.
Keywords: Rumen; Ecosystem; Manipulation; Digestion; Acidosis


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