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Ruminant Nutrition and Forage Utilization
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2006;19(3): 376-380.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2006.376    Published online February 1, 2006.
Influence of Temperature and pH on Fermentation Pattern and Methane Production in the Rumen Simulating Fermenter (RUSITEC)
R. Bhatta*, K. Tajima, M. Kurihara
Correspondence:  R. Bhatta,
An experiment was conducted to study the effect of temperature and pH on in vitro nutrient degradability, volatile fatty acid profile and methane production. The fermenter used was the semi-continuous system, known as the rumen simulation technique (RUSITEC). Sixteen cylinders were used at one time with a volume of 800 ml, the dilution rate was set at 3.5%/hour, the infused buffer being McDougall''s artificial saliva. Basal diet (9.6 g DM) used in RUSITEC consisted of (DM) 6.40 g Timothy hay, 1.86 g crushed corn and 1.34 g soybean meal. The food for the fermentation vessel was provided in nylon bags, which were gently agitated in the liquid phase. The experiment lasted for 17 d with all the samples taken during the last 5 d. Treatments were allocated at random to four vessels each and were (1) two temperature levels of 39째C and 41째C (2) two pH levels of 6.0 and 7.0. The total diet contained (g kg-1 DM) 957 OM, 115 CP and 167 MJ kg-1 (DM) GE. Although increase in temperature from 39째C to 41째C reduced degradation of major nutrients in vitro, it was non-significant. Interaction effect of temperature with pH also reflected a similar trend. However, pH showed a significant (p<0.05) negative effect on the degradability of all the nutrients in vitro. Altering the in vitro pH from 7 to 6 caused marked reduction in DMD from 60.2 to 41.8, CPD from 76.3 to 55.3 and GED from 55.3 to 35.1, respectively. Low pH (6) depressed total VFA production (61.9 vs. 34.9 mM) as well as acetate to propionate ratio in vitro (from 2.0 to 1.5) when compared to pH 7. Compared to pH 7, total gas production decreased from 1,841 ml to 1,148 ml at pH 6, CO2 and CH4 production also reduced from 639 to 260 ml and 138 to 45 ml, respectively. This study supported the premise that pH is one of the principal factors affecting the microbial production of volatile fatty acids and gas. Regulating the ruminal pH to increase bacterial activity may be one of the methods to optimize VFA production, reduce methane and, possibly, improve animal performance.
Keywords: Temperature; pH; Rumen Fermentation; Volatile Fatty Acids; Methane; RUSITEC

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