In vitro screening of the potential of numerous plant species as antimethanogenic feed additives for ruminants

R. Bodas, S. Lopez, M. Fernandez, R. Garcia-Gonzalez, A. B. Rodriguez, R. J. Wallace, J. S. Gonzalez

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132 Citations (Scopus)


A screening experiment was conducted to evaluate the potential of 450 plant species as anti methanogenic additives in ruminant feeds. Effects of addition of these plants, which were incorporated to the fermentation substrate as a dry powder, on ruminal fermentation, fibre digestion and methane production were studied in vitro in batch cultures of mixed rumen microorganisms. Serum bottles containing 500 mg of substrate (500 g alfalfa hay/kg, 400 g grass hay/kg and 100 g barley grain), 50 mg of the plant additive tested and 50 ml of buffered rumen fluid (10 ml sheep rumen fluid + 40 ml culture medium) were incubated at 39 degrees C for 24h. After incubation, gas and methane production, pH and volatile fatly acid (VFA) concentration in the incubation medium and dry matter and neutral detergent fibre disappearance were recorded. Of the 450 samples tested, 35 decreased methane production by more than 15% versus those with corresponding control Cultures and, with 6 of these plant additives, the depression in methane production was more than 25%, with no adverse effects on digestibility, total gas and VFA production. With these six samples, incubations were repeated to confirm their effects on methane production in vitro. Some candidates, in particular Rheum nobile and Carduus pycnocephalus, consistently decreased methane production without adversely affecting other parameters of the rumen fermentation. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-258
Number of pages14
JournalAnimal Feed Science and Technology
Issue number1-4
Early online date13 Aug 2007
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2008


  • methane
  • plant additive
  • botanicals
  • plant secondary compound
  • rumen fermentation
  • essential oils compounds
  • different dose levels
  • continuous-culture
  • methane production
  • secondary metabolites
  • gas-production
  • leaf beetle
  • extracts
  • methanogenesis


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