Effects of the addition of non-fibre carbohydrates with different rumen degradation rates in dairy cow high-forage diets using the Rumen Simulation Technique

Authors Organisations
  • M.E. Hanlon(Author)
    University of Thessaly
    Agricultural University of Athens
  • M. Simoni(Author)
    University of Parma
  • Jon Moorby(Author)
  • F. Righi(Author)
    University of Parma
  • E. Tsiplakou(Author)
    Agricultural University of Athens
  • D. Kantas(Author)
    University of Thessaly
  • A. Foskolos(Author)
    University of Thessaly
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Article number100732
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Early online date09 Mar 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 09 Mar 2023
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Nutrient synchronisation of protein and carbohydrates is a promising practice to improve ruminal nutrient utilisation. However, dietary sources supplying these nutrients can vary in ruminal nutrient availability due to differing degradation rates, therefore potentially affecting utilisation of nitrogen (N). The effects of the addition of non-fibre carbohydrates (NFCs) with different rumen degradation rates in high-forage diets on ruminal fermentation, efficiency and microbial flow were investigated in vitro using the Rumen Simulation Technique (RUSITEC). Four diets were tested: control with 100% ryegrass silage (GRS) and substitution of 20% on a DM basis of ryegrass silage with corn grain (CORN), processed corn (OZ) or sucrose (SUC). The four diets were assigned to 16 vessels in two sets of RUSITEC apparatuses in a randomised block design over a 17 d experimental trial; 10 d consisted of adaptation and 7 d for sample collection. Rumen fluid was collected from four rumen-cannulated dry Holstein-Friesian dairy cows and was treated without mixing. Then, rumen fluid from each cow was used to inoculate four vessels, and diet treatments were randomly allocated to each one. This was repeated for all cows resulting in 16 vessels. The inclusion of SUC in ryegrass silage diets improved DM and organic matter digestibility. The only diet to significantly lower ammonia-N concentration compared with GRS was SUC. The outflows of non-ammonia-N, microbial-N, and efficiency of microbial protein synthesis were not affected by diet type. However, the efficiency of nitrogen utilisation was improved by SUC compared with GRS. This indicates that the inclusion of an energy source with a high rumen degradation rate in high-forage diets improves rumen fermentation, digestibility, and N utilisation. Specifically, this effect was observed for the more readily available energy source, SUC, compared with the more slowly degradable NFC sources, CORN and OZ.


  • Digestibility, Efficiency of nitrogen utilisation, Microbial flow, Microbial protein synthesis, Rumen fermentation