Ethyl-cellulose rumen-protected methionine enhances performance during the periparturient period and early lactation in Holstein dairy cows

F. Batistel, J. M. Arroyo, A. Bellingeri, L. Wang, B. Saremi, C. Parys, E. Trevisi, F. C. Cardoso, J. J. Loor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The onset of lactation in dairy cows is characterized by severe negative energy and protein balance. Increasing Met availability during this time may improve milk production, hepatic lipid metabolism, and immune function. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of feeding ethyl-cellulose rumen-protected methionine (RPM; Mepron, Evonik Nutrition and Care GmbH, Hanau-Wolfgang, Germany) on the performance of dairy cows during prepartum and early-lactation periods. Sixty multiparous Holstein cows were used in a block design and assigned to either a control or an ethyl-cellulose RPM diet. Ethyl-cellulose RPM was supplied from −28 to 60 d relative to parturition at a rate of 0.09% and 0.10% of dry matter during the prepartum and postpartum periods, respectively. That rate ensured that the ratio of Lys to Met in metabolizable protein was close to 2.8:1. Cows fed ethyl-cellulose RPM had dry matter intakes (DMI) that were 1.2 kg/d greater during the prepartum period and consequently had overall greater cumulative DMI than cows in the control group. Compared with controls, during the fresh period (1–30 d in milk; DIM) feeding ethyl-cellulose RPM increased DMI by 1.7 kg/d, milk yield by 4.1 kg/d, fat yield by 0.17 kg/d, milk protein yield by 0.20 kg/d, 3.5% fat-corrected milk by 4.3 kg/d, and energy-corrected milk by 4.4 kg/d. Although ethyl-cellulose RPM supplementation increased milk protein content by 0.16 percentage units compared with the control during the fresh period, no differences were observed for milk fat, lactose, and milk urea nitrogen concentration. During the high-producing period (31–60 DIM), cows fed ethyl-cellulose RPM increased DMI and milk yield by 1.45 and 4.4 kg/d, respectively. Ethyl-cellulose RPM also increased fat yield by 0.19 kg/d, milk protein yield by 0.17 kg/d, 3.5% fat-corrected milk by 4.7 kg/d, and energy-corrected milk by 4.8 kg/d compared with controls. Ethyl-cellulose RPM supplementation reduced plasma fatty acids in the fresh period and decreased γ-glutamyl transferase, indicating better liver function. In conclusion, when lysine was adequate, feeding ethyl-cellulose RPM to achieve a ratio close to 2.8:1 in metabolizable protein improved dairy cow performance from parturition through 60 DIM. The greater milk production was, at least in part, driven by the greater voluntary DMI and better liver function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7455-7467
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • methionine
  • milk protein
  • postpartum
  • transition period

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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