Rumen-protected methionine during the peripartal period in dairy cows and its effects on abundance of major species of ruminal bacteria

Mohamed K. Abdelmegeid, Ahmed A. Elolimy, Zheng Zhou, Vincenzo Lopreiato, Joshua C. McCann, Juan J. Loor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Extensive degradation of amino acids in the rumen via microbial deamination decreases the post-ruminal availability of dietary indispensable amino acids. Together with the normal decrease in voluntary dry matter intake (DMI) around parturition in dairy cows, microbial metabolism contributes to a markedly negative balance of indispensable amino acids, including methionine which may be the first-limiting for milk production. The main objective of the current study was to profile changes in major bacterial species with key functions in cellulose and hemicellulose digestion, xylan breakdown, proteolytic action, propionic acid production, lactate utilization and ruminal biohydrogenation in cows supplemented with rumen-protected Methionine (SM; Smartamine M, Adisseo NA, Alpharetta, GA, USA) from -23 through 30 d relative to parturition. Because ~90% of the methionine in SM bypasses the rumen, ~10% of the methionine is released into the rumen and can be utilized by microbes. Results: As expected, there was an increase in overall DMI after parturition (Day, P < 0.05) during which cows consumed on average 19.6 kg/d versus 13.9 kg/d in the prepartum period. The postpartum diet contained greater concentrations of lipid and highly-fermentable carbohydrate from corn grain, which likely explains the increases in the relative abundance of Anaerovibrio lipolytica, Megasphaera elsdenii, Prevotella bryantii, Selenomonas ruminantium, Streptococcus bovis, and Succinimonas amylolytica. Despite similar DMI prepartum, cows fed SM had greater (Treatment × Day, P < 0.05) abundance prepartum of Fibrobacter succinogenes, Succinimonas amylolytica, and Succinivibrio dextrinosolvens. However, the greater DMI in cows fed SM after parturition (19.6 kg/d versus 13.9 kg/d) was associated with lower abundance of Fibrobacter succinogenes (2.13 × 10-3 versus 2.25 × 10-4) and Selenomonas ruminantium (2.98 × 10-1 versus 4.10 × 10-1). A lower abundance (Day, P < 0.05) was detected on d 20 compared with d -10 for Fibrobacter succinogenes and Succinivibrio dextrinosolvens. The relative abundance of Butyrivibrio proteoclasticus and Eubacterium ruminantium was stable across treatment and time. Conclusions: In diets with proper balance of rumen-degradable protein and fermentable carbohydrate, the small fraction of Methionine released from the rumen-protected supplement did not seem to compromise growth of major bacterial species in the rumen. In fact, it had a positive effect on 3 major species prepartum when DMI was similar between groups. Because the actual requirements of Methionine (and Lysine, for example) by the cow during the transition period are unknown, it appears warranted to study the rumen microbiome as it relates to supply of rumen-protected amino acids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17
JournalJournal of Animal Science and Biotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 7 2018


  • Microbiome
  • Rumen microbes
  • Transition cow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Biochemistry
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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