Effects of high-sugar ryegrass silage and mixtures with red clover silage on ruminant digestion. 2. Lipids

Michael R. F. Lee, P. L. Connelly, John K. S. Tweed, Richard J. Dewhurst, Roger J. Merry, Nigel D. Scollan

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The experiment investigated the digestion of lipids from different forage silages in beef steers. Six Hereford x Friesian steers prepared with rumen and duodenal cannulas were given ad libitum access to a high-sugar grass silage, control grass silage, red clover silage, or mixtures of the red clover and each of the grass silages (50:50, DM basis). The experiment was conducted as an incomplete 5 x 5 Latin square, with an additional randomly repeated sequence. Total fatty acid and C18:3n-3 concentrations were greater (P <0.05) for the high-sugar grass silage than the control grass silage or the red clover silage. Dry matter and total fatty acid intake were less (P <0.05) for steers fed the control grass silage than for steers fed the other diets. Duodenal flow of C18:3n-3 was greater (P <0.05), and flows of C18:0 and total C18:1 trans were less (P <0.05), for the red clover silage compared with the 2 grass silage diets, with the mixtures intermediate. These results were supported by a reduction (P <0.05) in biohydrogenation of C18:3n-3 for the red clover silage, with the mixtures again being intermediate. Flows of total branched- and odd-chain fatty acids were greater (P <0.05) for the high-sugar grass silage diet, possibly as a result of greater microbial flow, because these fatty acids are associated with bacterial lipid. Duodenal flows of the chlorophyll metabolite, phytanic acid, were greater (P <0.05) for animals fed the high-sugar grass silage treatments compared with the other treatments. These results confirm the potential for modifying the fatty acid composition of ruminant products by feeding red clover silage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3061-3070
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006


  • beef steer
  • biohydrogenation
  • fatty acid
  • high-sugar grass silage
  • phytanic acid
  • red clover silage
  • nitrogen use efficiency
  • perennial ryegrass silage
  • rumen function
  • water-soluble carbohydrate


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