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Journal of Dairy Science






American Dairy Science Association

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Two in vitro experiments were performed to identify promising exogenous fibrolytic enzyme products (EFE) and optimum dose rates (DR) for improving the degradation of alfalfa hay and corn silage. The relationship between enzymatic activity and fermentation responses was examined to identify optimum formulations. In experiment 1, 5 EFE containing mainly endoglucanase and xylanase activities, with different ratios between the 2 activities, were assessed at a DR of 0.7, 1.4, and 2.1 mg/g of DM forage. Milled alfalfa hay or corn silage was incubated in an in vitro batch culture with buffer, ruminal fluid, and EFE. Gas production (GP) was measured during 24h of incubation, and degradabilities of DM and fiber were measured after terminating the incubation at 24h. Two (E1 and E3) EFE substantially improved GP and degradation of alfalfa hay and corn silage fiber. The optimum DR of these EFE was 1.4 mg/g of DM for both forages with improvements in NDF degradability up to 20.6% for alfalfa hay and up to 60.3% for corn silage. Whereas added activities of endoglucanase and exoglucanase were positively correlated with improvement in NDF degradability for alfalfa hay and corn silage, there was no relationship between added xylanase activity and NDF degradability. The 2 most promising EFE from experiment 1 were reevaluated in experiment 2, alone and in combination with a high xylanase EFE, to determine whether their effectiveness could be enhanced by decreasing the endoglucanase to xylanase ratio. The 2 EFE improved GP and fiber degradation in a manner similar to that observed in experiment 1, but the combination treatments resulted in no further beneficial effects. Exogenous fibrolytic enzyme products can greatly improve forage utilization, but DR and the activities supplied are critical for achieving this response. Products used with alfalfa hay and corn silage should contain high endoglucanase activity, with an ideal ratio of endoglucanse to xylanase.

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