Meta-analysis on Methane Mitigating Properties of Saponin-rich Sources in the Rumen: Influence of Addition Levels and Plant Sources

  • Jayanegara, Anuraga (Department of Animal Nutrition and Feed Technology, Faculty of Animal Science, Bogor Agricultural University) ;
  • Wina, Elizabeth (Indonesian Research Institute for Animal Production) ;
  • Takahashi, Junichi (Department of Animal Nutrition and Feed Technology, Faculty of Animal Science, Bogor Agricultural University)
  • Received : 2014.02.06
  • Accepted : 2014.05.06
  • Published : 2014.10.01


Saponins have been considered as promising natural substances for mitigating methane emissions from ruminants. However, studies reported that addition of saponin-rich sources often arrived at contrasting results, i.e. either it decreased methane or it did not. The aim of the present study was to assess ruminal methane emissions through a meta-analytical approach of integrating related studies from published papers which described various levels of different saponin-rich sources being added to ruminant feed. A database was constructed from published literature reporting the addition of saponin-rich sources at various levels and then monitoring ruminal methane emissions in vitro. Accordingly, levels of saponin-rich source additions as well as different saponin sources were specified in the database. Apart from methane, other related rumen fermentation parameters were also included in the database, i.e. organic matter digestibility, gas production, pH, ammonia concentration, short-chain fatty acid profiles and protozoal count. A total of 23 studies comprised of 89 data points met the inclusion criteria. The data obtained were subsequently subjected to a statistical meta-analysis based on mixed model methodology. Accordingly, different studies were treated as random effects whereas levels of saponin-rich source additions or different saponin sources were considered as fixed effects. Model statistics used were p-value and root mean square error. Results showed that an addition of increasing levels of a saponin-rich source decreased methane emission per unit of substrate incubated as well as per unit of total gas produced (p<0.05). There was a decrease in acetate proportion (linear pattern; p<0.001) and an increase in propionate proportion (linear pattern; p<0.001) with increasing levels of saponin. Log protozoal count decreased (p<0.05) at higher saponin levels. Comparing between different saponin-rich sources, all saponin sources, i.e. quillaja, tea and yucca saponins produced less methane per unit of total gas than that of control (p<0.05). Although numerically the order of effectiveness of saponin-rich sources in mitigating methane was yucca>tea>quillaja, statistically they did not differ each other. It can be concluded that methane mitigating properties of saponins in the rumen are level- and source-dependent.


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