Low Ruminal pH Reduces Dietary Fiber Digestion via Reduced Microbial Attachment

  • Sung, Ha Guyn (School of Agricultural Biotechnology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Seoul National University) ;
  • Kobayashi, Yasuo (Graduate School of Agriculture, Hokkaido University) ;
  • Chang, Jongsoo (Department of Agricultural Science, Korea National Open University) ;
  • Ha, Ahnul (School of Agricultural Biotechnology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Seoul National University) ;
  • Hwang, Il Hwan (School of Agricultural Biotechnology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Seoul National University) ;
  • Ha, J.K. (School of Agricultural Biotechnology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Seoul National University)
  • Received : 2006.08.07
  • Accepted : 2006.10.11
  • Published : 2007.02.01


In vitro rumen incubation studies were conducted to determine effects of initial pH on bacterial attachment and fiber digestion. Ruminal fluid pH was adjusted to 5.7, 6.2 and 6.7, and three major fibrolytic bacteria attached to rice straw in the mixed culture were quantified with real-time PCR. The numbers of attached and unattached Fibrobacter succinogenes, Ruminococcus flavefaciens and Ruminocococcus albus were lower (p<0.05) at initial pH of 5.7 without significant difference between those at higher initial pH. Lowering incubation media pH to 5.7 also increased bacterial numbers detached from substrate regardless of bacterial species. Dry matter digestibility, gas accumulation and total VFA production were pH-dependent. Unlike bacterial attachment, maintaining an initial pH of 6.7 increased digestion over initial pH of 6.2. After 48 h in vitro rumen fermentation, average increases in DM digestion, gas accumulation, and total VFA production at initial pH of 6.2 and 6.7 were 2.8 and 4.4, 2.0 and 3.0, and 1.2 and 1.6 times those at initial pH of 5.7, respectively. The lag time to reach above 2% DM digestibility at low initial pH was taken more times (8 h) than at high and middle initial pH (4 h). Current data clearly indicate that ruminal pH is one of the important determinants of fiber digestion, which is modulated via the effect on bacterial attachment to fiber substrates.


Supported by : Agricultural R & D Promotion Center


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