Volatile fatty acid (VFA) production from a range of fresh forages was measured in vitro over 24 hours (h). The forages comprised temperate and tropical grasses, legumes (including some containing condensed tannins; CT), herbs and silages, all of which were minced to resemble chewed forage and incubated in buffered media. Volatile fatty acid concentrations were measured in triplicate for each feed at 0, 6, 12 and 24 h. On average, VFA yields were 131, 226 and 311 mg/g dry matter (DM) between 0 - 6, 0 - 12 and 0 - 24 h, and the highest yields were from legumes (384 mg/g DM) and lowest from plantain (176 mg/g DM) after 24 h. Legumes containing CT produced 28% less VFA than other legumes. The acetate + butyrate:propionate (A+B:P) ratio showed a substantial difference between forage types, ranging from an average of 2.5 (legumes) to 3.5 (tropical grasses) after 6 h, but differences between forage types diminished after 24 h. Multiple regression analysis showed a weak inverse relationship with NDF (neutral detergent fibre) after 6 h, but there was no clear relationship with particle size, chemical composition or digestion rates at 12 and 24 h.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 66, Napier, 50-54, 2006
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