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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The effect of formaldehyde treatment before ensiling on the digestion of wilted grass silage by sheep.

1. Wilted perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L. cv. Endura) was ensiled without additive or after addition of a mixture of equal volumes of formic acid (850 g/kg) and formalin (380 g formaldehyde/kg) applied at a rate of 35 g formaldehyde/kg herbage crude protein (nitrogen x 6.25). The digestion of the two silages and the effect of supplemental N as urea or urea plus soya-bean meal on the digestion of the treated silage was studied using sheep fitted with a rumen cannula and re-entrant cannulas in the proximal duodenum and distal ileum. 2. The additive markedly reduced carbohydrate fermentation and protein degradation in the silo. 3. There were no significant differences between diets in rumen pH, dilution rate, volatile fatty acid production and the molar proportions of acetate, propionate and butyrate. However, rumen ammonia levels and the apparent digestibility of organic matter (OM), gross energy (GE) and cellulose in the stomach were significantly depressed (P less than 0.05) by the additive. It also reduced (P less than 0.05) the extent to which the N of the silage was degraded in the rumen and, with the treated silage, more microbial N was synthesized in the rumen than food N degraded, resulting in a net grain of N between mouth and duodenum, as compared to a net loss with the untreated silage. 4. Supplementation of the treated silage with urea or urea plus soya-bean meal significantly increased (P less than 0.05) the amount of food N degraded in the rumen and rumen ammonia levels but had no effect on the apparent digestibility of OM, GE and cellulose in the stomach or on the amount of microbial N reaching the duodenum. 5. The quantity of microbial amino acids entering the small intestine and the apparent digestibility of amino acids in the small intestine were similar for all four diets. However, the quantity of food amino acids reaching the small intestine was significantly higher with the three diets containing the treated silage and consequently the apparent absorption of amino acids from the small intestine was substantially higher with these diets than with the untreated silage.[1]


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