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Anim Biosci > Volume 34(4); 2021 > Article
Ruminant Nutrition and Forage Utilization
Animal Bioscience 2021;34(4): 584-593.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.20.0114    Published online May 12, 2020.
In vitro ruminal fermentation of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) produced less methane than that of alfalfa (Medicago sativa)
Huaxin Niu1,2  , Zhongjun Xu2  , Hee Eun Yang2  , Tim A McAllister2  , Surya Acharya2  , Yuxi Wang2,* 
1College of Animal Science and Technology, Inner Mongolia University for Nationalities, Tongliao, Inner Mongolia 028000, China
2Lethbridge Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Lethbridge, T1J4B1 Alberta, Canada
Correspondence:  Yuxi Wang, Tel: +1-403-317-3498, Fax: +1-403-382-3156, Email: yuxi.wang@canada.ca
Received: 21 February 2020   • Revised: 17 March 2020   • Accepted: 20 April 2020
The objective of this study was to compare fenugreek (FG) with alfalfa (Alf) in ruminal fermentation and methane (CH4) production in vitro.
Whole-plant FG harvested at 11- and 15-wk and Alf harvested at early and mid-bloom maturities, alone or as 50:50 mixture of FG and Alf at the respective maturity, were assessed in a series of 48-h in vitro batch culture incubations. Total fermentation gas and methane gas production, dry matter (DM) disappearance, volatile fatty acids, microbial protein and 16S RNA gene copy numbers of total bacteria and methanogens were determined.
Compared to early bloom Alf, FG harvested at 11-wk exhibited higher (p<0.05) in vitro DM and neutral detergent fibre disappearance, but this difference was not observed between the mid-bloom Alf and 15-wk FG. Regardless plant maturity, in vitro ruminal fermentation of FG produced less (p<0.001) CH4 either on DM incubated or on DM disappeared basis than that of Alf during 48-h incubation. In vitro ruminal fermentation of FG yielded similar amount of total volatile fatty acids with higher (p<0.05) propionate percentage as compared to fermentation of Alf irrespective of plant maturity. Microbial protein synthesis was greater (p<0.001) with 11-wk FG than early bloom Alf as substrate and 16S RNA gene copies of total bacteria was higher (p<0.01) with 15-wk FG than mid-bloom Alf as substrate. Compared to mid-bloom Alf, 15-wk FG had lower (p<0.05 to 0.001) amount of 16S RNA methanogen gene copies in the whole culture during 48-h incubation.
In comparison to Alf, FG emerges as a high quality forage that can not only improve rumen fermentation in vitro, but can also remarkably mitigate CH4 emissions likely due to being rich in saponins.
Keywords: Fenugreek; Alfalfa; In vitro; Methane; Rumen Bacteria
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