The effect of calcium propionate on the ruminal bacterial community composition in finishing bulls

  • Received : 2016.06.20
  • Accepted : 2016.09.09
  • Published : 2017.04.01


Objective: Manipulating the fermentation to improve the performance of the ruminant has attracted the attention of both farmers and animal scientists. Propionate salt supplementation in the diet could disturb the concentration of propionate and total volatile fatty acids in the rumen. This study was conducted to evaluate the effect of calcium propionate supplementation on the ruminal bacterial community composition in finishing bulls. Methods: Eight finishing bulls were randomly assigned to control group (CONT) and calcium propionate supplementation (PROP) feeding group, with four head per group. The control group was fed normal the total mixed ration (TMR) finishing diet, and PROP group was fed TMR supplemented with 200 g/d calcium propionate. At the end of the 51-day feeding trial, all bulls were slaughtered and rumen fluid was collected from each of the animals. Results: Propionate supplementation had no influence the rumen fermentation parameters (p>0.05). Ruminal bacterial community composition was analyzed by sequencing of hypervariable V3 regions of the 16S rRNA gene. The most abundant phyla were the Firmicutes (60.68%) and Bacteroidetes (23.67%), followed by Tenericutes (4.95%) and TM7 (3.39%). The predominant genera included Succiniclasticum (9.43%), Butyrivibrio (3.74%), Ruminococcus (3.46%) and Prevotella (2.86%). Bacterial community composition in the two groups were highly similar, except the abundance of Tenericutes declined along with the calcium propionate supplementation (p = 0.0078). Conclusion: These data suggest that the ruminal bacterial community composition is nearly unchanged by propionate supplementation in finishing bulls.


Supported by : National Natural Science Foundation of China


  1. Nakamura I, Ogimoto K, Imai S, Nakamura M. Production of lactic-acid isomers and change of microbial features in the rumen of feedlot cattle. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr 1989;61:139-44.
  2. Aiello RJ, Armentano LE, Bertics SJ, Murphy AT. Volatile fatty acid uptake and propionate metabolism in ruminant hepatocytes. J Dairy Sci 1989;72:942-9.
  3. Seal CJ, Reynolds CK. Nutritional implications of gastrointestinal and liver metabolism in ruminants. Nutr Res Rev 1993;6:185-208.
  4. Rigout S, Hurtaud C, Lemosquet S, Bach A, Rulquin H. Lactational effect of propionic acid and duodenal glucose in cows. J Dairy Sci 2003;86:243-53.
  5. Sanchez PH, Tracey LN, Browne-Silva J, Lodge-Ivey SL. Propionibacterium acidipropionici P169 and glucogenic precursors improve rumen fermentation of low-quality forage in beef cattle. J Anim Sci 2014; 92:1738-46.
  6. Liu Q, Wang C, Guo G, et al. Effects of calcium propionate on rumen fermentation, urinary excretion of purine derivatives and feed digestibility in steers. J Agric Sci 2009;147:201-9.
  7. McNamara JP, Valdez F. Adipose tissue metabolism and production responses to calcium propionate and chromium propionate. J Dairy Sci 2005;88:2498-507.
  8. Moloney AP. Growth and carcass composition in sheep offered isoenergetic rations which resulted in different concentrations of ruminal metabolites. Livest Prod Sci 1998;56:157-64.
  9. Lee-Rangel HA, Mendoza GD, Gonzalez SS. Effect of calcium propionate and sorghum level on lamb performance. Anim Feed Sci Technol 2012;177:237-41.
  10. Miettinen H, Huhtanen P. Effects of the ratio of ruminal propionate to butyrate on milk yield and blood metabolites in dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 1996;79:851-61.
  11. Hurtaud C, Rulquin H, Verite R. Effects of level and type of energy source (volatile fatty acids or glucose) on milk yield, composition and coagulating properties in dairy cows. Reprod Nutr Dev 1998;38:315-30.
  12. Broderick GA, Kang JH. Automated simultaneous determination of ammonia and total amino acids in ruminal fluid and in vitro media. J Dairy Sci 1980;63:64-75.
  13. Erwin ES, Marco GJ, Emery EM. Volatile fatty acid analyses of blood and rumen fluid by gas chromatography. J Dairy Sci 1961;44:1768-71.
  14. Ding G, Chang Y, Zhao L, et al. Effect of Saccharomyces cerevisiae on alfalfa nutrient degradation characteristics and rumen microbial populations of steers fed diets with different concentrate-to-forage ratios. J Anim Sci Biotechnol 2014;5:24.
  15. Caporaso JG, Kuczynski J, Stombaugh J, et al. QIIME allows analysis of high-throughput community sequencing data. Nat Methods 2010;7:335-6.
  16. Weimer PJ, Stevenson DM, Mertens DR, Thomas EE. Effect of monensin feeding and withdrawal on populations of individual bacterial species in the rumen of lactating dairy cows fed high-starch rations. Appl Microbiol Biotecnol 2008;80:135-45.
  17. Stevenson DM, Weimer PJ. Dominance of Prevotella and low abundance of classical ruminal bacterial species in the bovine rumen revealed by relative quantification real-time PCR. Appl Microbiol Biotech 2007; 75:165-74.
  18. Sheperd AC, Combs DK. Long-term effects of acetate and propionate on voluntary feed intake by midlactation cows. J Dairy Sci 1998;81:2240-50.
  19. Beiranvand H, Ghorbani GR, Khorvash M, et al. Interactions of alfalfa hay and sodium propionate on dairy calf performance and rumen development. J Dairy Sci 2014;97:2270-80.
  20. Pehrson B, Svensson C, Jonsson M. A comparative study of the effectiveness of calcium propionate and calcium chloride for the prevention of parturient paresis in dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 1998;81:2011-6.
  21. Ferreira LS, Bittar CM. Performance and plasma metabolites of dairy calves fed starter containing sodium butyrate, calcium propionate or sodium monensin. Animal 2011;5:239-45.
  22. Kim M, Eastridge ML, Yu Z. Investigation of ruminal bacterial diversity in dairy cattle fed supplementary monensin alone and in combination with fat, using pyrosequencing analysis. Can J Microbiol 2014; 60:65-71.
  23. Zhou Z, Yu Z, Meng Q. Effects of nitrate on methane production, fermentation, and microbial populations in in vitro ruminal cultures. Bioresour Technol 2012;103:173-9.
  24. Mohammed R, Zhou M, Koenig KM, Beauchemin KA, Guan LL. Evaluation of rumen methanogen diversity in cattle fed diets containing dry corn distillers grains and condensed tannins using PCR-DGGE and qRT-PCR analyses. Anim Feed Sci Technol 2011;166-67:122-31.
  25. Pinloche E, McEwan N, Marden JP, et al. The effects of a probiotic yeast on the bacterial diversity and population structure in the rumen of cattle. PLoS One 2013;8:e67824.
  26. Zhou Z, Meng Q, Yu Z. Effects of methanogenic inhibitors on methane production and abundances of methanogens and cellulolytic bacteria in in vitro ruminal cultures. Appl Environ Microbiol 2011; 77:2634-9.
  27. Thoetkiattikul H, Mhuantong W, Laothanachareon T, et al. Comparative analysis of microbial profiles in cow rumen fed with different dietary fiber by tagged 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing. Curr Microbiol 2013; 67:130-7.
  28. Ozutsumi Y, Tajima K, Takenaka A, Itabashi H. The effect of protozoa on the composition of rumen bacteria in cattle using 16S rRNA gene clone libraries. Biosci Biotech Bioch 2005;69:499-506.
  29. Kim M, Felix TL, Loerch SC, Yu Z. Effect of haylage and monensin supplementation on ruminal bacterial communities of feedlot cattle. Curr Microbiol 2014;69:169-75.
  30. Pitta DW, Kumar S, Veiccharelli B, et al. Bacterial diversity associated with feeding dry forage at different dietary concentrations in the rumen contents of Mehshana buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) using 16S pyrotags. Anaerobe 2014;25:31-41.
  31. Kurogi T, Linh NTT, Kuroki T, Yamada T, Hiraishi A: Culture-independent detection of "TM7" bacteria in a streptomycin-resistant acidophilic nitrifying process. Aip Conf Proc 2014;1585:53-8.
  32. Yang SL, Ma SC, Chen J, et al. Bacterial diversity in the rumen of Gayals (Bos frontalis), Swamp buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis) and Holstein cow as revealed by cloned 16S rRNA gene sequences. Mol Biol Rep 2010; 37:2063-73.
  33. Stewart DJ: Biochemical and biological studies on the lipopolysaccharide of Bacteroides nodosus. Res Vet Sci 1977;23:319-25.
  34. Liu JH, Bian GR, Zhu WY, Mao SY. High-grain feeding causes strong shifts in ruminal epithelial bacterial community and expression of Toll-like receptor genes in goats. Front Microbiol 2015;6:Article 167.
  35. Zened A, Combes S, Cauquil L, et al. Microbial ecology of the rumen evaluated by 454 GS FLX pyrosequencing is affected by starch and oil supplementation of diets. FEMS Microbiol Ecol 2013; 83:504-14.
  36. Flint HJ, Bayer EA, Rincon MT, Lamed R, White BA. Polysaccharide utilization by gut bacteria: potential for new insights from genomic analysis. Nat Rev Microbiol 2008;6:121-31.
  37. Cotta MA. Interaction of ruminal bacteria in the production and utilization of maltooligosaccharides from starch. Appl Environ Microbiol 1992;58:48-54.