Effect of different lipid and protein dietary levels on rumen ciliate fauna and cellulolytic activity in yearling rams

V. Radev, I. Varlyakov, R. Mihaylov
Abstract. An experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of rations with different lipid and protein levels on total counts and generic composition of rumen ciliates, and bacterial cellulolytic activity in the rumen of yearling rams. Three rations, conditionally termed ration I, ration II and ration III were tested. Ration I contained 1.00 kg ground barley and 1.00 kg meadow hay. To the others, different protein and lipid source was added. Ration II consisted of 1.00 kg meadow hay, 0.800 kg barley mash and 0.200 kg sunflower meal. Ration III contained 1.00 kg meadow hay, 0.800 kg barley mash and 0.200 kg sunflower expeller. Rations differed with respect to their lipid and protein contents. They were offered twice daily –8:00 AM and 1:00 PM. The experiment was performed with nine Blackhead Pleven yearling rams, with initial average body weight 45.2 kg. They were divided in three groups of three animals each. Twenty days prior to the trial, the animals were fitted with cannulae of the dorsal rumen sac. Rumen content was sampled for 4 consecutive days, three times a day: before feeding, 2.5 h and 5 h after feeding. The total counts and generic composition of rumen ciliates were determined. The cellulolytic activity in the rumen was determined in vivo after 24-hour incubation. Feeding rations with different sources of proteins and lipids did not change significantly the total counts and the composition of rumen ciliates in yearling rams. Feeding a ration containing sunflower meal increased significantly (p<0.01) rumen cellulolytic activity as compared both to base ration composed of barley mesh and meadow hay and sunflower expeller supplemented ration.

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