Altered rumen fermentation patterns in lactating dairy cows supplemented with phytochemicals improves milk production and efficiency

Document Type


Publication Date



American Dairy Science Association


Journal of Dairy Science










microbiota; phytochemical; rumen-degradable protein


Tannins and other phytochemicals are known to improve RUP in the diet by binding protein and then limiting ruminal degradation, which may improve milk yield and milk protein synthesis. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of dietary phytochemicals (tannins and Capsicum species) as rumen modifiers on production parameters and milk efficiency in dairy cows. Twenty-four multiparous Holstein cows (96 ± 16 d in milk; mean ± standard deviation) were used in a replicated 3 × 3 Latin square design balanced to measure carryover effects. Cows were blocked according to days in milk, milk production, and body weight and randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups (n = 8/group). Each group was assigned to a unique treatment sequence across the 3 periods in the Latin square. The experiment consisted of a 14-d covariate period and three 30-d treatment periods. Cows received a basal diet supplemented with soybean meal pellets (SB) as the control diet, phytochemicals (RUM; Rumiviv, CCPA, Janzé, France) pelleted with soybean meal, or expeller soybean meal (ESBM; SoyPlus, West Central Soy, Ralston, IA). Milk production and dry matter intake during the last 4 d of each period were used for statistical analysis. Blood and rumen fluid samples were collected on d 27 of each period. Rumen fluid was analyzed for ammonia N and volatile fatty acids as well as ruminal bacteria via quantitative PCR amplification of 16S ribosomal DNA genes. Greater milk yield (37.9 vs. 36 kg/d), energy-corrected milk (39.7 vs 37.1 kg/d), and protein yield (1.15 vs. 1.08 kg/d) were observed in RUM compared with SB, but these parameters were similar between RUM and ESBM. Concentrations of total volatile fatty acids (118.1 vs. 101.5 mM) were greater in RUM in comparison to SB and ESBM diets. Cows fed RUM had greater β-hydroxybutyrate (0.49 vs. 0.42 mmol/L) than SB and ESBM. Selenomonas ruminantium, Succinimonas amylolytica, and Streptococcus bovis in rumen fluid were lower in RUM fed cows in comparison to SB and ESBM. Increased total volatile fatty acids and lower ruminal abundance of bacteria associated with low feed efficiency in RUM cows can partially explain the improvements observed in milk yield and milk efficiency. Overall, these data suggest that feeding a combination of tannin mixture and Capsicum can significantly affect rumen fermentation characteristics via partial manipulation of rumen microbiota, and these effects were reflected in improved milk production and efficiency.