Indexed on: 05 Sep '08Published on: 05 Sep '08Published in: The British journal of nutrition
The present results are the last part of a series of experiments conducted in this laboratory on metabolism of major individual rumen ciliate protozoa species and their combinations in sheep. These species were inoculated into the rumen of fauna-free (FF) sheep to study digestibility of dietary fibre and duodenal flow of N. Sixteen rumen- and duodenum-cannulated FF sheep were divided into four equal groups and used in the present experiment. One group remained FF, while the other three were each inoculated intraruminally with the Holotrich protozoa sp. (HT), Entodinium sp. (EN) or total mixed fauna (TF). In comparison with the FF group, the HT did not affect (P>0.05) the duodenal flow of non-NH3-N and bacterial-N, while the flow was decreased (P < 0.05) by both the EN and TF populations. The digestibility of fibre was increased (P < 0.05) by both the EN and TF populations, but the results for the HT group were mostly similar to those for the FF sheep. The fibre digestibility in the stomach for TF was intermediate between that for EN and FF. It was concluded that except when fed high-carbohydrate diets, the presence in the rumen of the HT protozoa are of no significant value or major detriment to ruminant production.