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Title: Use of nitrate and 'Propionibacterium acidipropionici' to reduce methane emissions and increase wool growth of Merino sheep
Contributor(s): de Raphelis-Soissan, Victoire (author); Li, Li (author); Godwin, Ian  (author); Barnett, Mark  (author)orcid ; Perdok, H B (author); Hegarty, Roger  (author)
Publication Date: 2014
DOI: 10.1071/AN14329
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Abstract: The effects of dietary nitrate and of Propionibacterium acidipropionici (PA) on methane and nitrous oxide emissions, methaemoglobinaemia, volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentration and productivity of sheep were studied. It was hypothesised that PA supplementation would increase the rate of nitrite reduction to ammonia in the rumen and therefore reduce risks of methaemoglobinaemia. Fine-wool Merino wethers (n ≤ 28; 31.8 ± 3.7 kg; 11 months of age) were acclimated to four isonitrogenous and isoenergetic diets based on oaten chaff (1.0 kg/day) supplemented with either urea (1.1% of DM; T1 and T2) or a nitrate source (2.0% of DM; T3 and T4) while T2 and T4 were also supplemented with PA (11.5 × 1010 CFU/day). Replacing urea with nitrate lowered methane production (g/day) by 19% and methane yield (g/kg DMI) by 15%, improved clean wool growth by 12% (P < 0.001) and tended to increase skin temperature (P < 0.1). Nitrate increased ruminal acetate to propionate ratio by 27%, increased plasma nitrite and nitrate concentrations and blood methaemoglobin (MetHb) level up to 45% of total haemoglobin. Nitrous oxide emission from sheep confined in respiration chambers was higher (P < 0.001) when nitrate was fed, lowering the net benefit of methane mitigation on global warming potential (CO2 equivalents/kg DMI) by 18%. In contrast, PA had little effect, decreasing total VFA concentration (P < 0.05), increasing rumen pH (P < 0.05) and clean wool growth (P < 0.05) of urea-fed sheep. This study confirmed the beneficial effects of nitrate on net greenhouse gas reduction and wool growth, but showed that methaemoglobinaemia risks may be higher when diets are fed at a restricted level and contain only low levels of readily fermented carbohydrate. PA supplementation was not effective in reducing methaemoglobinaemia, but did increase clean wool growth of urea-fed sheep.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Animal Production Science, 54(10), p. 1860-1866
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1836-5787
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 070204 Animal Nutrition
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 300303 Animal nutrition
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 830311 Sheep - Wool
970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 100413 Sheep for wool
280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article

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