Effect of Yucca schidigera on ruminal fermentation and nutrient digestion in heifers

Alexander N. Hristov, Timothy A. McAllister, Fred H. Van Herk, K. J. Cheng, C. Jamie Newbold, Peter R. Cheeke

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In a replicated 3 × 3 Latin square experiment, six heifers (443 ± 6.1 kg) fed a 61% barley grain:39% alfalfa silage diet (DM basis) were given intraruminal doses of powdered Yucca schidigera (YS). Doses of 0 (control), 20, or 60 g/d were given at 0800 daily. Ruminal content was sampled 0, 2, 4, and 6 h after dosing. Acidity, concentrations of reducing sugars, free amino acids, and peptides in the rumen were not affected (P > .05) by YS. Relative to control, ruminal ammonia concentration was reduced (P < .05) 2 h after YS dosing. Ruminal propionate concentration was increased (P < .05) by YS. Protozoal numbers in the rumen were lower (P < .05) with YS than without. Yucca did not affect (P > .05) rate or extent of in situ DM degradability. Fibrolytic, amylolytic, and proteolytic activities in ruminal contents were similar among treatments (P > .05). Dry matter intake, apparent digestibilities of DM, NDF, and CP, nitrogen balance, and microbial protein synthesis in the rumen were not affected (P > .05) by treatment. The effect of YS on ruminal ammonia concentration likely resulted from a decreased concentration of protozoa and, presumably, from ammonia binding by YS. The effect on ruminal propionate was probably a result of a selective inhibitory effect of YS on rumen microbial species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2554-2563
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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