Evaluating the effects of chitosan, plant oils, and different diets on rumen metabolism and protozoan population in sheep


Abstract: Chitosan (CH) has been shown to be a promising natural antimicrobial agent. This study examined the effects on rumen metabolism when providing diets containing high forage (HFD), low forage (LFD), and maize silage (MSD) to a 24-h batch culture in which the diets were not supplemented (control) or were supplemented with CH (100 mg/L), sunflower oil (SF, 35.0 g/kg dry matter), rapeseed oil (RP, 35.0 g/kg dry matter), or SF and RF with chitosan combinations (SFCH and RPCH). Dry matter digestibility in the batch culture was influenced by CH and was decreased in HFD compared with the control (P < 0.01). Decreasing total number of protozoa and the number of Entodinium spp. was evident, especially in LFD and MSD, with all additives. RPCH had a predominantly adverse effect on Dasytricha ruminantium in MSD. Interactions of the diets × additives in the majority of rumen ciliate populations were detected. The concentrations of trans-vaccenic acid and conjugated linoleic acid (c9, t11-CLA) were unchanged by chitosan. However, the combination of SF and RF with chitosan (SFCH and RPCH) positively affected fatty acid profiles, which might be related to differences in diets, SF or RP composition, and different microbial activity in the batch cultures.

Keywords: Chitosan, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, rumen ciliate protozoa, fatty acids

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