Use of gallic acid and hydrolyzable tannins to reduce methane emission and nitrogen excretion in beef cattle fed a diet containing alfalfa silage

Citation

Aboagye, I.A., Oba, M., Koenig, K.M., Zhao, G.Y., Beauchemin, K.A. (2019). Use of gallic acid and hydrolyzable tannins to reduce methane emission and nitrogen excretion in beef cattle fed a diet containing alfalfa silage, 97(5), 2230-2244. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jas/skz101

Plain language summary

Hydrolyzable tannins and condensed tannins are secondary compounds in plants with the ability to form complexes with protein and carbohydrate fractions through hydrogen bonds. Some types of tannins have been shown to improve nitrogen utilization and decrease methane production from ruminants. We hypothesized that feeding hydrolyzable tannin or a component of hydrolyzable tannin to cattle fed a high protein diet based on alfalfa silage would decrease both urinary nitrogen excretion and enteric methane production. We conducted a metabolism study in beef cattle to determine the effects of the different forms of tannins on methane production. Among the different forms of hydrolyzable tannin, both tannic acid and chestnut had no effect on methane production, whereas gallic acid subunit decreased methane production. We conclude that gallic acid has the potential to decrease environment impact of ruminants without decreasing animal performance.

Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine the effects of different forms of hydrolyzable tannin [HT; source (chestnut, CN; tannic acid, TA); subunit (gallic acid, GA)] on apparent total-tract digestibility, methane (CH ) production, and nitrogen (N) utilization in beef cattle fed an alfalfa silage-based diet. Eight ruminally cannulated heifers with an initial BW of 480 ± 29.2 kg (mean ± SD) were used in a double 4 × 4 Latin square experiment. The experiment consisted of four 28-d periods (14-d adaptation, 14-d measurements) and a 7-d washout between periods. The animals received a basal diet with 19.8% CP (DM basis) content containing 75% alfalfa silage, 20% barley silage, and 5% supplement (DM basis) with or without different forms of HT. The dietary treatments were as follows: control (no HT), GA (1.5% of diet DM), TA (1.5% of diet DM), and CN (2% of diet DM). Animals were fed 95% of their ad libitum intake during the measurement phase. Total fecal excretion was collected for 4 d, CH was measured for 72 h using respiration chambers, and ruminal fermentation variables and plasma urea N (PUN) concentration were measured on 2 nonconsecutive days before and after feeding. The restricted DM (DMI; 10.79 ± 1.076 kg/d) and nutrient intakes did not differ (P ≥ 0.22) among treatments. Furthermore, apparent DM digestibility (60.3 ± 0.86%) was not affected (P = 0.20) by treatment, but CP digestibility decreased for TA and CN compared with control and GA treatments (63.1 vs. 69.0%; P < 0.001). Total VFA concentration tended (P = 0.089) to increase for GA compared with control and TA (134 vs. 125 and 126 mM) and intermediate for CN (129 mM). The PUN concentration was lower for all HT treatments compared with control (196 vs. 213 mg/L; P = 0.02). Both TA and CN increased the proportion of N excreted in feces and decreased the proportion in urine compared with control and GA (43.9% vs. 37.8% and 56.1% vs. 62.2%; respectively; P < 0.001). However, the proportion of urea N in urinary N decreased for all HT treatments compared with control (47.2% vs. 51.2%; P = 0.02). Also, GA tended to decrease CH /DMI (20.4 vs. 22.3 g/kg DMI; P = 0.07) and decreased the proportion of GE intake emitted as CH (5.16 vs. 5.71%; P = 0.04) compared with control. Thus, among the different forms of HT applied to a high-protein alfalfa silage-based diet, both TA and CN had no effect on CH production, but decreased CP digestibility and shifted N excretion from urine to feces, whereas GA (i.e., HT subunit) decreased CH production and decreased the proportion of urea N in urinary N in beef cattle without affecting CP digestibility. Thus, feeding the HT subunit, GA, has the potential to decrease environment impact of ruminants (lower CH and ammonia emissions), without decreasing animal performance. 4 4 4 4 4 4 4