The effects of combined essential oils along with fumarate on rumen fermentation and methane production in vitro
B. Lin 1
Y. Lu 1
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Institute of Dairy Science, Ministry of Education, Key Laboratory of Molecular Animal Nutrition, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310029, P.R. China
Publication date: 2012-03-15
Corresponding author
J. X. Liu   

Institute of Dairy Science, Ministry of Education, Key Laboratory of Molecular Animal Nutrition, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310029, P.R. China
J. Anim. Feed Sci. 2012;21(1):198-210
Two trials were conducted to investigate the effect of a combination of essential oils (CEO) along with fumarate on in vitro rumen fermentation. In trial 1, the essential oil (EO) from thyme, oregano, cinnamon and lemon were mixed at five different ratios. The CEO were applied at levels of 0-500 mg/l. Addition of CEO decreased gas, methane, total volatile fatty acid (VFA) production at 24 h incubation in a dose-dependent manner. Methane tended to decrease much more than total VFA and gas at the same EO level. The mixture of oils at an equal ratio at 500 mg/l that decreased methane much more than VFA was chosen as the optimal combination. In trial 2, the optimal combination was used with 0, 5, 10 or 15 mmol/l of monosodium fumarate. Addition of fumarate further decreased methane production, with 10 mmol/l fumarate resulting in the largest reduction (80.2%) and the smallest decrease in total VFA (5.7%) and gas production (16.7%). Quantification of several ruminal microbe populations by RT-PCR showed that the optimal combination sharply decreased ruminal protozoa; the populations of fungi and fibrolytic bacteria were also decreased. In summary, at an appropriate level, CEO can inhibit methane production. Inclusion of fumarate can further decrease it, which is attributed mainly to inhibition of protozoa and methanogens.
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