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Dose–Response Effects of 3-Nitrooxypropanol Combined with Low- and High-Concentrate Feed Proportions in the Dairy Cow Ration on Fermentation Parameters in a Rumen Simulation Technique

Methane (CH4) from ruminal feed degradation is a major pollutant from ruminant livestock, which calls for mitigation strategies. The purpose of the present 4 × 2 factorial arrangement was to investigate the dose–response relationships between four doses of the CH4 inhibitor 3-nitrooxypropanol (3-NOP) and potential synergistic effects with low (LC) or high (HC) concentrate feed proportions (CFP) on CH4 reduction as both mitigation approaches differ in their mode of action (direct 3-NOP vs. indirect CFP effects). Diet substrates and 3-NOP were incubated in a rumen simulation technique to measure the concentration and production of volatile fatty acids (VFA), fermentation gases as well as substrate disappearance. Negative side effects on fermentation regarding total VFA and gas production as well as nutrient degradability were observed for neither CFP nor 3-NOP. CH4 production decreased from 10% up to 97% in a dose-dependent manner with increasing 3-NOP inclusion rate (dose: p < 0.001) but irrespective of CFP (CFP × dose: p = 0.094). Hydrogen gas accumulated correspondingly with increased 3-NOP dose (dose: p < 0.001). In vitro pH (p = 0.019) and redox potential (p = 0.066) varied by CFP, whereas the latter fluctuated with 3-NOP dose (p = 0.01). Acetate and iso-butyrate (mol %) decreased with 3-NOP dose, whereas iso-valerate increased (dose: p < 0.001). Propionate and valerate varied inconsistently due to 3-NOP supplementation. The feed additive 3-NOP was proven to be a dose-dependent yet effective CH4 inhibitor under conditions in vitro. The observed lack of additivity of increased CFP on the CH4 inhibition potential of 3-NOP needs to be verified in future research testing further diet types both in vitro and in vivo.

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