Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Fernanda Batistel


Fernanda Batistel


Kara Thornton-Kurth


Allen J. Young


The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of dietary palmitic acid and pH on rumen fermentation, fiber digestibility, and bacterial community composition. The two factors in the experiment were palmitic acid treatment and pH treatment. Palmitic acid treatments included a control diet compared to a diet containing 1.5% palmitic acid. pH treatments included normal pH (6.6 to 7.0) compared to low pH (6.0 to 6.4). Rumen fluid from a cow was added to artificial rumens to study the effects of the two treatments relative to fermentation and changes within the microbial community. Results of the study showed that low pH decreases fermentation measures and palmitic acid supplementation increases fermentation measures. Both treatments did change ruminal levels of butyrate. Treatments of pH and palmitic acid did not change rumen microbiome measures of species richness or evenness, but did influence populations of specific bacteria and archaea. In conclusion, palmitic acid and pH independently affected rumen fermentation, fiber digestion and bacterial community composition.

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