Assessment of the Efficacy of Varying Experimental Exogenous Fibrolytic Enzymes Using in Vitro Fermentation Characteristics

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Animal Feed Science and Technology







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This study evaluated a series of recombinant, single activity experimental enzyme products including 13 endoglucanases (END) and 10 xylanases (XY), for their potential to improve in vitro ruminal degradation of alfalfa hay in two experiments. Based on the endoglucanase or xylanase enzymatic activities measured using complex substrates at the optimal conditions (pH 5.4, 37 °C) for the enzymes, a dose level (1 unit/g dry matter [DM]) was chosen for addition of enzymes to substrate. Enzyme products, re-suspended with water, were added to alfalfa hay (0.5 or 1.0 g DM) in culture vials in six replications. Anaerobic buffer medium (20 or 40 ml) adjusted to pH 6.0 and strained ruminal fluid (5 or 10 ml) were sequentially added to the vials and incubated for 18 h. Headspace gas production (GP) was measured throughout the incubation, and degradability of organic matter (OMD) and fibre and volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentrations were determined after 18 h of incubation. The enzyme products had a wide range of added endoglucanase or xylanase activities when determined using pure substrates and physiological conditions typical of the rumen (pH 6.0, 39 °C). In experiment 1, many END, and some XY, products increased GP and OMD. The correlation between added endoglucanase activity determined at ruminal conditions and OMD improvement was high (r = 0.71; P<0.01), whereas added activity of xylanase was not associated with OMD improvement. Two END and two XY products selected from experiment 1 were further assessed because they substantially improved GP and OMD. In experiment 2, all enzyme treatments, alone or in combination, increased total GP and DM and fibre degradabilities (P<0.05). However, the combinations of END and XY did not increase degradation of alfalfa beyond that of the component enzymes. Total VFA production was not affected by enzyme treatments although some products changed the acetate to propionate ratio. Experimental exogenous enzyme products with either endoglucanase or xylanase activity substantially improved in vitro ruminal degradation of alfalfa hay, but further improvement by combining these activities did not occur.