Effects of dietary energy level and protein source on nutrient digestion and ruminal nitrogen metabolism in steers.

M. J. Cecava, N. R. Merchen, L. L. Berger, R. I. Mackie, G. C. Fahey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Four Simmental steers with ruminal, duodenal, and ileal cannulas were used to examine effects of dietary forage: concentrate ratio and supply of ruminally degradable true protein on site of nutrient digestion and net ruminal microbial protein synthesis. Steers (345 kg) were fed ammoniated corn cob (high forage; HF)- or corn cob/ground corn/cornstarch (low forage; LF)-based diets supplemented with soybean meal (SBM) or a combination of corn gluten meal and blood meal (CB). Diets were fed at 2-h intervals with average DM intake equal to 2.2% of BW. Feeding LF vs HF increased (P less than .05) OM digestion (percentage of intake) in the stomach, small intestine, and total tract. Efficiency of microbial CP synthesis (EMCP; g of N/kg of OM truly fermented) decreased (P less than .05) for LF vs HF (24.1 vs 26.8), but microbial N and total N flows to the small intestine were similar (P greater than .05) between energy levels (average 112 and 209 g/d, respectively). Total N flows to the small intestine were 13.1% greater (P less than .05) for CB than for SBM because of increased (P less than .05) passage of nonmicrobial N. Feeding SBM vs CB increased (P less than .05) EMCP (27.3 vs 23.3) and microbial N flow to the small intestine (127.5 vs 112.5 g/d), but these increases were not likely due to increased ruminal concentrations of ammonia N (NH3 N). Decreased (P less than .05) incorporation of NH3 N into bacterial N and slower turnover rates of ruminal NH3 N for SBM vs CB suggest that direct incorporation of preformed diet components into cell mass increased when SBM was fed. Results of this study suggest that the inclusion of ruminally degradable protein in the diet may increase the supply of products from proteolysis and that this can increase EMCP and microbial protein flow to the small intestine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2230-2243
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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