Propionate precursors as possible alternative electron acceptors to methane in ruminal fermentation

C J Newbold, J O Ouda, S Lopez, N Nelson, H Omed, R J Wallace, A R Moss

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPublished conference contribution


Precursors of propionate in ruminal fermentation were tested for their ability to decrease methane production by ruminal fluid in vitro. Acrylate and fumarate had the most consistent effects with 50% of the added acids being fermented to propionate and methane production decreasing by between 8 and 14%.

Acrylate and fumarate were evaluated further in Rusitec. Again, both compounds weere fermented to propionate, but the ability of fumarate (44% capture of hydrogen based on the equation 4H(2) +CO2 = CH4 + 2H(2)O and the reduction of fumarate to succinate by 2H) to divert metabolic hydrogen from methane to propionate was almost twice that of acrylate (22% capture of hydrogen).

Four diets comprising grass hay supplemented with furnaric acid at a rate of 0, 20, 40 and 80 g /kg DM were offered at the maintenance plane of nutrition to wether sheep in a 4 x 4 Latin square design. Methane production was measured in open-circuit respiration chambers after 17 d adaptation to the diet. There was no effect of furnaric acid on NDF digestibility. Methane production decreased significantly in a linear response (P<0.01) to increasing inclusion of fumaric acid. The reduction in methane production with inclusion of furnaric acid was 2.9, 4.2 and 12.3% for 20, 40 and 80 g fumaric acid/ kg DM. Hydrogen capture ranged from 65 to 97%.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGreenhouse Gases and Animal Agriculture
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 1st International Conference on Greenhouse Gases and Animal Agriculture, Obihiro, Japan, 7-11 November, 2001
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherElsevier Science B. V.
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)0-444-51012-5, 978-0444510129
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

No spares Review conference proceeding hence in published papers database


  • methane
  • fumarate
  • rumen
  • organic acids
  • rumen fermentation


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