Comparison of methane produced by straw fed sheep in open-circuit respiration with methane predicted by fermentation characteristics measured by an in vitro gas procedure
Blummel, M., Givens, D. I. and Moss, A. R. (2005) Comparison of methane produced by straw fed sheep in open-circuit respiration with methane predicted by fermentation characteristics measured by an in vitro gas procedure. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 123-124. pp. 379-390.
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2005.06.001
Reducing carbon conversion of ruminally degraded feed into methane increases feed efficiency and reduces emission of this potent greenhouse gas into the environment. Accurate, yet simple, predictions of methane production of ruminants on any feeding regime are important in the nutrition of ruminants, and in modeling methane produced by them. The current work investigated feed intake, digestibility and methane production by open-circuit respiration measurements in sheep fed 15 untreated, sodium hydroxide (NaOH) treated and anhydrous ammonia (NH3) treated wheat, barley and oat straws. In vitro fermentation characteristics of straws were obtained from incubations using the Hohenheim gas production system that measured gas production, true substrate degradability, short-chain fatty acid production and efficiency of microbial production from the ratio of truly degraded substrate to gas volume. In the 15 straws, organic matter (OM) intake and in vivo OM digestibility ranged from 563 to 1201 g and from 0.464 to 0.643, respectively. Total daily methane production ranged from 13.0 to 34.4 l, whereas methane produced/kg OM matter apparently digested in vivo varied from 35.0 to 61.8 l. The OM intake was positively related to total methane production (R2 = 0.81, P<0.0001), and in vivo OM digestibility was also positively associated with methane production (R2 = 0.67, P<0.001), but negatively associated with methane production/kg digestible OM intake (R2 = 0.61, P<0.001). In the in vitro incubations of the 15 straws, the ratio of acetate to propionate ranged from 2.3 to 2.8 (P<0.05) and efficiencies of microbial production ranged from 0.21 to 0.37 (P<0.05) at half asymptotic gas production. Total daily methane production, calculated from in vitro fermentation characteristics (i.e., true degradability, SCFA ratio and efficiency of microbial production) and OM intake, compared well with methane measured in the open-circuit respiration chamber (y = 2.5 + 0.86x, R2 = 0.89, P<0.0001, Sy.x = 2.3). Methane production from forage fed ruminants can be predicted accurately by simple in vitro incubations combining true substrate degradability and gas volume measurements, if feed intake is known.