Direct-fed microbials containing lactate-producing bacteria influence ruminal fermentation but not lactate utilization in steers fed a high-concentrate diet

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Direct-fed microbials (DFM) have been shown to improve gain and growth efficiency and also modulate ruminal fermentation. In Exp. 1, 72 beef steers were used to compare a lact ate-producingbacterial (LAB) DFM consisting primarily of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Enterococcus faecium, and a lactate-producing and lactate-utilizing (LAB/ LU) DFM consisting primarily of L. acidophilus and Propionibacterium both fed at 109 cfu/d. Steers were fed a corn-based finishing diet for 153 d and then slaughtered for collection of carcass characteristics. In Exp. 2, 12 ruminally cannulated steers were fed a corn-based finishing diet and treated with 109 cfu/d of LAB DFM. Rumen fluid was sampled on d 14 and 28 over a 12-h period. Steers were ruminally dosed with a 2-L solution of neutralized DL-lactate (0.56 M) and Cr-EDTA (13.22 M) 3 h postfeeding on d 15 and 29. Ruminal samples were collected at 10- and 20-min intervals for the first and second hour postdosing. No differences (P ≥ 0.14) between control (CON) and LAB for DMI, ADG, growth efficiency, or carcass characteristics were observed. Dry matter intake was greater (P = 0.04) for LAB/LU than LAB from d 0 to 28 but did not differ (P ≥ 0.29) thereafter. Average daily gain was greater (P = 0.04) and efficiency tended (P = 0.06) to be greater for LAB than LAB/LU over the entire 153 d. In Exp. 2, total VFA concentration and molar proportions of butyrate were unaffected (P ≥ 0.24). Molar proportions of acetate exhibited a DFM by hour interaction (P = 0.04); however, on average, molar proportion of acetate was 4.4% greater for DFM. Conversely, DFM did not affect the molar proportion of propionate (P = 0.39). On average, molar proportions of propionate tended to increase (P = 0.07), and acetate tended to decrease (P = 0.07) across days. Mean daily ruminal pH was similar for CON on d 14 and 28, whereas mean pH increased from d 14 to 28 for DFM (DFM × day; P = 0.08). Minimum pH remained unchanged for CON over time but increased from d 14 to 2 for DFM (DFM × day; P = 0.10). Maximum pH decreased from d 14 to 28 in CON but increased over time with DFM (DFM × day; P = 0.05). DL- and L-lactate utilization were unaffected by DFM (P ≥ 0.33) or day (P ≥ 0.50). Although the LAB DFM did not impact growth performance, it did modulate ruminal fermentation, as evidenced by shifts in ruminal VFA profile and pH; however, DFM did not appear to influence ruminal lactate utilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2336-2348
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.


  • Acidosis
  • Cattle
  • Direct-fed microbial
  • Lactate utilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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