Metabolomics reveals potential biomarkers in the rumen fluid of dairy cows with different levels of milk production

  • Zhang, Hua (Beijing Key Laboratory for Dairy Cow Nutrition, Beijing University of Agriculture) ;
  • Tong, Jinjin (Beijing Key Laboratory for Dairy Cow Nutrition, Beijing University of Agriculture) ;
  • Zhang, Yonghong (Beijing Key Laboratory for Dairy Cow Nutrition, Beijing University of Agriculture) ;
  • Xiong, Benhai (State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Institute of Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences) ;
  • Jiang, Linshu (Beijing Key Laboratory for Dairy Cow Nutrition, Beijing University of Agriculture)
  • Received : 2019.03.16
  • Accepted : 2019.08.09
  • Published : 2020.01.01


Objective: In the present study, an liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) metabolomics approach was performed to investigate potential biomarkers of milk production in high- and low-milk-yield dairy cows and to establish correlations among rumen fluid metabolites. Methods: Sixteen lactating dairy cows with similar parity and days in milk were divided into high-yield (HY) and low-yield (LY) groups based on milk yield. On day 21, rumen fluid metabolites were quantified applying LC/MS. Results: The principal component analysis and orthogonal correction partial least squares discriminant analysis showed significantly separated clusters of the ruminal metabolite profiles of HY and LY groups. Compared with HY group, a total of 24 ruminal metabolites were significantly greater in LY group, such as 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid, carboxylic acids, carboxylic acid derivatives (L-isoleucine, L-valine, L-tyrosine, etc.), diazines (uracil, thymine, cytosine), and palmitic acid, while the concentrations of 30 metabolites were dramatically decreased in LY group compared to HY group, included gentisic acid, caprylic acid, and myristic acid. The metabolite enrichment analysis indicated that protein digestion and absorption, ABC transporters and unsaturated fatty acid biosynthesis were significantly different between the two groups. Correlation analysis between the ruminal microbiome and metabolites revealed that certain typical metabolites were exceedingly associated with definite ruminal bacteria; Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, and Synergistetes phyla were highly correlated with most metabolites. Conclusion: These findings revealed that the ruminal metabolite profiles were significantly different between HY and LY groups, and these results may provide novel insights to evaluate biomarkers for a better feed digestion and may reveal the potential mechanism underlying the difference in milk yield in dairy cows.


Supported by : National Nature Science Foundation of China, Beijing Municipal Education Commission


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