Nitrogen and fatty acid rumen metabolism in cattle offered high or low polyphenol oxidase red clover silage

Michael Lee, R Fychan, John K. S. Tweed, N. Gordon, VJ Theobald, R Yadav, A Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Polyphenol oxidase (PPO) in red clover (RC) has been shown to reduce both lipolysis and proteolysis in silo and implicated (in vitro) in the rumen. However, all in vivo comparisons have compared RC with other forages, typically with lower levels of PPO, which brings in other confounding factors as to the cause for the greater protection of dietary nitrogen (N) and C18 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) on RC silage. This study compared two RC silages which when ensiled had contrasting PPO activities (RC+ and RC−) against a control of
perennial ryegrass silage (PRG) to ascertain the effect of PPO activity on dietary N digestibility and PUFA biohydrogenation. Two studies were performed the first to investigate rumen and duodenal flow with six Hereford×Friesian steers, prepared with rumen and duodenal cannulae, and the second investigating whole tract N balance using six Holstein-Friesian non-lactating dairy cows. All diets were offered at a restricted level based on animal live weight with each experiment consisting of two 3×3 Latin squares using big bale silages
ensiled in 2010 and 2011, respectively. For the first experiment digesta flow at the duodenum was estimated using a dual-phase marker system with ytterbium acetate and chromium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid as particulate and liquid phase markers, respectively. Total N intake was higher on the RC silages in both experiments and higher on RC− than RC+. Rumen ammonia-N reflected intake with ammonia-N per unit of N intake lower on RC+ than RC−. Microbial N duodenal flow was comparable across all silage diets with nonmicrobial N higher on RC than the PRG with no difference between RC+ and RC−, even when reported on a N intake basis. C18 PUFA biohydrogenation was lower on RC silage diets than PRG but with no difference between RC+ and RC−. The N balance trial showed a greater retention of N on RC+ over RC−; however, this response is likely related to the difference in N intake over any PPO driven protection. The lack of difference between RC silages, despite contrasting levels of PPO, may reflect a similar level of protein-boundphenol complexing determined in each RC silage. Previously this complexing has been associated with PPOs protection mechanism; however, this study has shown that protection is not related to total PPO activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1623-1634
Number of pages12
Issue number8
Early online date19 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • C18 polyunsaturated fatty acid biohydrogenation
  • forage legumes
  • nitrogen use efficiency
  • plant enzymes
  • trifolium pratense


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