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https://doi.org/10.5713/ab.21.0263    [Accepted] Published online October 29, 2021.
Gentiana straminea supplementation improves feed intake, nitrogen and energy utilization, and methane emission among Simmental calves in northwest China
Kaili Xie1  , Zhaofeng Wang1  , Yarong Guo1  , Cheng Zhang1  , Wanhe Zhu1  , Fujiang Hou1,* 
State Key Laboratory of Grassland Agro-ecosystems, Key Laboratory of Grassland Livestock Industry Innovation Ministry of Agriculture, College of Pastoral Agriculture Science and Technology, Lanzhou University, 730000, China
Correspondence:  Fujiang Hou, Tel: +86-931-8913047, Fax: +81-931-8910979, Email: cyhoufj@lzu.edu.cn
Received: 5 June 2021   • Revised: 12 July 2021   • Accepted: 14 October 2021
Native plants can be used as additives to replace antibiotics to improve ruminant feed utilization and animal health. An experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of Gentiana straminea (GS) on nutrient digestibility, methane emissions, and energy metabolism of Simmental calves.
Thirty-two (5-week-old) male Simmental clves, with initial body weight (BW) of 155 ± 12 kg were fed the same basal diet of concentrates (26%), alfalfa hay (37%), and oat hay (37%) and were randomly separated into four treatment groups according to the amount of GS that was added to their basal diet. The four different groups received different amounts of GS as a supplement to their basal diet during whole experiment: (0GS) 0 mg/kg BW, the control; (100GS) 100 mg/kg BW; (200GS) 200 mg/kg BW; and (300GS) 300 mg/kg BW.
For calves in the 200 GS and 300 GS treatment groups, there was a significant increase in dry matter (DM) intake (P<0.01), average daily gain (ADG) (P<0.05), organic matter intake (P<0.05), DM digestibility (P<0.05), neutral detergent fibre digestibility (P<0.05), and acid detergent fibre (ADF) digestibility (P<0.05). Dietary GS supplementation result in quadratic increases of DM intake (P<0.01), ADG (P<0.05), NDF intake (P<0.05), and ADF intake (P<0.05). Supplementing the basal diet with GS significantly increased nitrogen (N) retention (P<0.001) and the ratio of retention N to N intake (P<0.001). Supplementing the basal diet with GS significantly decreased methane (CH4) emissions (P<0.01), CH4/BW0.75 (P<0.05) and CH4-E (P<0.05). Dietary GS supplementation result in quadratic increases of CH4 (P<0.01) and CH4/DMI (P<0.01). Compared with 0GS, GS-supplemented diets significantly improved their gross energy intake (P<0.05). The metabolizable energy and digestive energy intake were significantly greater for calves in the 100 GS and 200GS calves than for 0GS calves (P<0.05).


From this study, we conclude that supplementing calf diets with GS could improve utilization of feed, energy, and N, and may reduce CH4 emissions without having any negative effects on animal health.
Keywords: CH4 Emission; Energy Utilization; Gentiana straminea; Natural Plants; Nitrogen Utilization
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