Effects of Moisture and a Saponin-based Surfactant during Barley Processing on Growth Performance and Carcass Quality of Feedlot Steers and on In vitro Ruminal Fermentation

  • Wang, Y. (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge Research Centre) ;
  • Gibb, D. (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge Research Centre) ;
  • Greer, D. (Agrichem, Inc.) ;
  • McAllister, T.A. (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge Research Centre)
  • Received : 2010.11.30
  • Accepted : 2011.03.17
  • Published : 2011.12.01


Feedlot and in vitro ruminal experiments were conducted to assess the effects of saponin-containing surfactant applied during tempering of barley grain on cattle growth performance and on ruminal fermentation. In the feedlot experiment, treatments with three barley grain/barley silage based diets were prepared using barley grain at 7.7% moisture (dry, D), after tempering to 18% moisture (M), or after tempering with a saponin-based surfactant included at 60 ml/t (MS). Each treatment was rolled at settings determined previously to yield optimally processed barley. A total of 180 newly weaned British${\times}$Charolais steers were fed three diets in 18 pens for a 63-d backgrounding period and 91-d finishing period to determine feed intake, growth rate and feed efficiency. Cattle were slaughtered at the end of the experiment to measure the carcass characteristics. Tempering reduced (p<0.001) volume weight and processing index, but processing characteristics were similar between MS and M. Tempering increased (p<0.05) growth during backgrounding only, compared with D, but did not affect feed intake in either phase. During backgrounding, feed efficiency was improved with tempering, but during finishing and overall this response was only observed with the surfactant. Tempering did not affect carcass weight, fat content or meat yield. Surfactant doubled the proportion of carcasses grading AAA. In the in vitro experiment, barley (500 mg; ground to <1.0 mm or steam-rolled) was incubated in buffered ruminal fluid (40 ml) without or with surfactant up to 20 ${\mu}l/g$ DM substrate for 24 h. Surfactant increased (p<0.05) apparent DM disappearance and starch digestibility but reduced productions of gas and the volatile fatty acid and acetate:propionate ratio, irrespective of barley particle size. Compared with feeding diets prepared with non-tempered barley, tempering with surfactant increased the feed efficiency of feedlot steers. This may have arisen from alteration in processing characteristics of barley grain by surfactant rather than its direct effect on rumen microbial fermentation.


Barley;Feedlots;Processing;Rumen Digestion;Surfactants


  1. Aksenova, L. A., M. A. Bocharova, M. V. Dunaeva, E. A. Zak and N. L. Klyachko. 1993. Effect of seed treatment by surfactants on germination of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) under water deficit. Seed Sci. Technol. 21:483-485.
  2. Alberta Feedlot Management Guide. 2009.$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/beef11645. Accessed on September 28, 2010.
  3. Cairns, R. R. 1972. Effects of surfactants applied to samples of solonetz soil on water penetration and plant growth. Can. J. Soil Sci. 52:267-269.
  4. CCAC. 1993. Guide to the care and use of experimental animals. Vol. 1. (Ed. E. D. Olfert, B. M. Cross and A. A. McWilliam). Canadian Council on Animal Care, Ottawa, ON.
  5. Chaves, A. V., L. C. Thompson, A. D. Iwaasa, S. Scott, M. E. Olson, C. Benchaar, D. M. Veira and T. A. McAllister. 2006. Effect of pasture type (alfalfa vs. grass) on methane and carbon dioxide production by yearling beef heifers. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 86:409-418.
  6. Combs, J. J. and D. D. Hinman. 1989. Effect of dry-rolled and tempered rolled barley or wheat on feedlot cattle performance. Proceedings of the Western Section of the American Society of Animal Science 40:373-376.
  7. Coret, J. M. and A. R. Chamel. 1993. Influence of some nonionic surfactants on water sorption by isolated tomato fruit cuticles in relation to cuticular penetration of glyphosate. Pestic. Sci. 38:27-32.
  8. Goel, G., H. P. S. Makkar and K. Becker. 2008. Changes in microbial community structure, methanogenesis and rumen fermentation in response to saponin-rich fractions from different plant materials. J. Appl. Microbiol. 105:770-777.
  9. Guo, Y. Q., J. X. Liu, Y. Lu, W. Y. Zhu, S. E. Denman and C. S. McSweeney. 2008. Effect of tea saponin on methanogenesis, microbial community structure and expression of mcrA gene, in cultures of rumen micro-organisms. Lett. Appl. Microbiol. 47:421-426.
  10. Herrera-Saldana, R. E., J. T. Huber and M. H. Poore. 1990. Dry matter, crude protein and starch degradability of five cereal grains. J. Dairy Sci. 73:2386-2393.
  11. Hinman, D. D. and J. J. Combs. 1983. Tempered versus dry-rolled barley rations for feedlot steers. Proceedings of the Western Section of the American Society of Animal Science 34:306-307.
  12. Hu, W. L., Y. M. Wu, J. X. Liu, Y. Q. Guo and J. A. Ye. 2005. Tea saponins affect in vitro fermentation and methanogenesis in faunated and defaunated rumen fluid. J. Zhejiang Univ. Sci. B 6:787-792.
  13. Mathison, G. W., D. F. Engstrom, R. Soofi-Siawash and D. Gibb. 1997. Effects of tempering and degree of processing of barley grain on the performance of bulls in the feedlot. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 77:421-429.
  14. Muetzel, S., E. M. Hoffmann and K. Becker. 2003. Supplementation of barley straw with Sesbania pachycarpa leaves in vitro: effects on fermentation variables and rumen microbial population structure quantified by ribosomal RNA-targeted probes. Br. J. Nutr. 89:445-453.
  15. NRC. 1996. Nutrient requirements of beef cattle. 7th rev. Edn. National Academy Science, Washington, DC.
  16. Pen, B., C. Sar, B. Mwenya, K. Kuwaki, R. Morikawa and J. Takahashi. 2006. Effects of Yucca schidigera and Quillaja saponaria extracts on in vitro ruminal fermentation and methane emission. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 129:175-186.
  17. Santoso, B., B. Mwenya, C. Sar, Y. Gamo, T. Kobayashi, R. Morikawa and J. Takahashi. 2004. Effect of Yucca schidigera with or without nisin on ruminal fermentation and microbial protein synthesis in sheep fed silage- and hay-based diets. Anim. Sci. J. 75:525-531.
  18. SAS Institute Inc. 2007. SAS/STAT User's Guide. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC.
  19. Van Soest, P. J., J. B. Robertson and B. A. Lewis. 1991. Methods for dietary fiber, neutral detergent fiber and non-starch polysaccharides in relation to animal nutrition. J. Dairy Sci. 74:3583-3597.
  20. Wang, Y. and T. A. McAllister. 2000. Grain processing for ruminants: Latest technologies. In: Proceedings of the 21st Western Nutrition Conference. Winnipeg, MB, p. 3955.
  21. Wang, Y., D. Greer and T. A. McAllister. 2003. Effects of moisture, roller setting and saponin-based surfactant on processing characteristics and ruminal degradation of barley, and on performance of feedlot steers. J. Anim. Sci. 81:2145-2154.
  22. Wang, Y., D. Greer and T. A. McAllister. 2005. Effect of moisture and saponin based surfactants on the processing and ruminal degradation of barley grain. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 118:255-266.
  23. Wang, Y., T. A. McAllister, C. J. Newbold, L. M. Rode, P. R. Cheeke and K. J. Cheng. 1998. Effects of Yucca schidigera extract on fermentation and degradation of steroidal saponins in the rumen simulation technique (RUSITEC). Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 74:143-153.
  24. Wang, Y., T. A. McAllister, L. J. Yanke and P. R. Cheeke. 2000a. Effect of steroidal saponins from Yucca schidigera extract on ruminal microbes. J. Appl. Microbiol. 88:887-896.
  25. Wang, Y., T. A. McAllister, L. J. Yanke, Z. J. Xu, P. R. Cheeke and K.-J. Cheng. 2000b. In vitro effects of steroidal saponins from Yucca schidigera extract on rumen microbial protein synthesis and ruminal fermentation. J. Sci. Food Agric. 80:2114-2122.<2114::AID-JSFA755>3.0.CO;2-0
  26. Wang, Y., Z. Xu, S. J. Bach and T. A. McAllister. 2008. Effects of phlorotannins from Ascophyllum nodosum (brown seaweed) on ruminal digestion of forage and concentrate diets in vitro. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol. 145:375-395.
  27. Wina, E., S. Muetzel and K. Becker. 2006. The dynamics of major fibrolytic microbes and enzyme activity in the rumen in response to short- and long-term feeding of Sapindus rarak saponins. J. Appl. Microbiol. 100:114-120.
  28. Zinn, R. A., E. G. Alvarez, M. F. Montaño, A. Plascencia and J. E. Ramirez. 1998. Influence of tempering on the feeding value of rolled corn in finishing diets for feedlot cattle. J. Anim. Sci. 76:2239-2246.

Cited by

  1. Gas Production Kinetics, Rumen Methanogenesis, and Rumen Fermentation Characteristics vol.2014, pp.2090-4460, 2014,