Effect of several doses of zeolite A on rumen fermentation and phosphorus metabolism in dairy cows
The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of zeolite A on several physiological parameters and on mineral metabolism in the rumino-intestinal-tract of cows. Eight double fistulated (rumen and proximal duodenum) cows were fed maize silage, grass silage and concentrate. Zeolite A was added to the ration over a period of three weeks at 0, 10 and 20 g/kg dry matter (DM). The daily feed amounts were adjusted to the current performance and varied between 3.9 and 15.5 kg/d. Rumen fluid, duodenal chyme and faeces were sampled to characterise the nutrient digestibility. Blood samples were taken to analyse the concentration of inorganic phosphate. Zeolite A supplementation led to a significantly reduced ruminal DM digestibility and fermentation of organic matter. The molar proportion of acetate in the rumen increased, and propionate as well as valerate decreased significantly after zeolite A supplementation. The concentration of the total fatty acids and ruminal pH were not affected. No effect on faecal digestion of DM, organic matter nor on calcium and magnesium digestion was observed. Otherwise the phosphorus (P) concentration in rumen fluid correlated negatively with the mean zeolite A intake (r2 = 0.75; p = 0.0003). Further, the faecal excretion of P increased significantly for cows with the highest zeolite A dosage (36.9 g P/d) compared to the control group (29.9 g P/d). The lower digestibility of P resulted in a significantly decreased concentration of inorganic P in serum from a basal value of 2.05-1.16 mmol/l six days after starting zeolite A supplementation. The zeolite A treated cows showed a significantly higher Al concentration already in rumen fluid (14.31 and 13.84 mmol/l) compared to the control cows (6.33 mmol/l). The Al flow in the duodenum was also higher for zeolite A treated cows.