Effects of Daily and Interval Feeding of Sapindus rarak Saponins on Protozoa, Rumen Fermentation Parameters and Digestibility in Sheep

  • Wina, Elizabeth (Institute for Animal Production in the Tropics and Subtropics (480b) University of Hohenheim) ;
  • Muetzel, Stefan (Rowett Research Institute) ;
  • Becker, Klaus (Institute for Animal Production in the Tropics and Subtropics (480b) University of Hohenheim)
  • Received : 2005.12.12
  • Accepted : 2006.03.22
  • Published : 2006.11.01


Several researchers have demonstrated that the rumen microbial community rapidly adapts to saponins and proposed interval feeding to prevent this rapid adaptation. An in vivo experiment was carried out to examine the effect of daily versus application every third day (interval feeding) of Sapindus rarak saponins (SE) on rumen fermentation end products, protozoal counts and nutrient digestibility. Thirty sheep were allocated into 5 groups. Sheep were fed daily or every third day with two levels of SE (0.48 and 0.72 g/kg body mass). One group received no saponin and served as control. All sheep received the same diet, a mixture of elephant grass and wheat pollard (65:35 w/w). Independent of the feeding regime and the level of inclusion, the addition of SE decreased protozoal counts and rumen ammonia concentrations (p<0.01). Microbial N supply and N retention were not affected by the high feeding regime. Daily feeding negatively influenced rumen xylanase and cellulase activity, but only when the high level of saponins was fed. However, these negative effects on rumen cell wall degradation were not reflected in decreasing total tract digestibility of the organic matter or the plant cell walls. Our results show that rumen microorganisms do not rapidly adapt to S. rarak saponins.


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