Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 410302
Title Dietary strategies to reduce methane emissions from ruminants
Author(s) Zijderveld, S.M. van
Source Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Wouter Hendriks, co-promotor(en): Jan Dijkstra; Walter Gerrits. - [S.l.] : S.n. - ISBN 9789461730220 - 132
Department(s) Animal Nutrition
Publication type Dissertation, internally prepared
Publication year 2011
Keyword(s) rundvee - diervoedering - melkkoeien - voedertoevoegingen - methaanproductie - cattle - animal feeding - dairy cows - feed additives - methane production
Categories Cattle / Animal Nutrition and Feeding (General)

Ruminant products form an important part of the human diet. The demand for ruminant products is expected to increase due to the increase in the size of the human population and its increasing wealth. The production of ruminant meat and milk is associated with a relatively large environmental impact when compared to other animal products. This is, for a large part, caused by the fact that ruminants produce enteric methane, a greenhouse gas, during the digestion of their feed. Many dietary strategies have been proposed to lower methane production in ruminants, although most of these have only been tested in vitro. In this thesis, a number of dietary strategies, that had been proven effective in vitro, were evaluated for their in vivo efficacy in methane reduction. A mixture of lauric acid, myristic acid, linseed oil and calcium fumarate lowered methane production by 10% in lactating dairy cows. However, fat and protein corrected milk production was negatively affected by feeding this mixture. Despite the methane reduction, energy balance was unaltered in this study. Diallyldisulfide, yucca powder, calcium fumarate, an extruded linseed product and a mixture of capric and caprylic acid did not affect methane production in lactating dairy cows, although their efficacy had been demonstrated in vitro. The addition of nitrate and sulfate to sheep diets lowered in vivo methane emissions (-32% and -16%, respectively), presumably by acting as a hydrogen sink in the rumen. No negative side-effects of feeding nitrate or sulfate were observed in this study. The use of nitrate in methane mitigation was further evaluated in a long-term study with dairy cows. Dietary nitrate persistently lowered methane production by 16% in dairy cows over the 89-d experimental period. Despite this reduction in methane production, milk production or energy retention were not improved. Methemoglobin levels in blood were slightly elevated, when nitrate was fed to dairy cows. Further analysis of the efficacy of nitrate in methane mitigation demonstrated that the efficacy of nitrate in methane mitigation decreased with increasing dose of nitrate (expressed in g nitrate/kg 0.75 per day). The conversion of metabolizable energy gained from a lowering of methane production may be less efficient than is commonly assumed. This could originate from a shift from methane to hydrogen emissions, when methane is specifically inhibited, or from erroneous assumptions made in the calculation of heat production during indirect respiration calorimetry. Dietary fat addition may be an effective strategy to lower methane production from ruminants, although the fatty acid profile of the added fat does not appear to have additional effects on methane production from ruminants. When assessing the environmental impact of ruminant products, it is generally overlooked that ruminants are capable of transforming feed not accessible to humans into human food.

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