Plant-derived compounds effects on ruminal protein degradability

Alvaro Garcia

An adequate supply of metabolizable protein to the cow’s intestine can improve income over feed costs in dairy farms.  Metabolizable protein is composed of both dietary bypass protein and microbial protein. Some plant-derived chemicals (phytochemicals) can bind protein thus limiting its degradation in the rumen. One example are tannins which create a tannin-protein complex by binding through hydrogen bonds.

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Supplementation of essential oils in dairy cow diets

Supplementation of essential oils in dairy cow diets

Fernando Díaz

Essentials oils are volatile aromatic compounds with an oily appearance extracted from plant materials typically by steam distillation. Traditionally, they have been used in dairy diets to modify ruminal microflora and alter rumen fermentation. Recent research; however, shows the implication of some essential oils on physiologic functions in the cows (immunity, oxidative stress, mineral transport, insulin regulation…) by activating transient receptor potential (TRP) channels. These are non-selective ion channels expressed on neurons, the intestines, the pancreas, immune cells, and other tissues, that integrate environmental physicochemical signals for homeostatic control.

Additionally, studies of ruminal epithelia in vitro reported recently that essentials oils enhance the transport of Ca2+ and other cations (Na+, NH4+) across the epithelium. In order to further investigate this observation, German researchers evaluated the effects of feeding a commercial blend of essential oils on calcium status and milk yield in lactating dairy cows.