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Henning P.H.,Agricultural Research Council | Henning P.H.,Megastarter Biotech Pty Ltd T A MS Biotech | Erasmus L.J.,University of Pretoria | Meissner H.H.,Agricultural Research Council | Horn C.H.,Agricultural Research Council
South African Journal of Animal Sciences | Year: 2011

The objective of the study was to determine whether early post-partum dosing of Megasphaera elsdenii NCIMB 41125 (Me) will be beneficial to performance of high producing TMR-fed cows. Sixty multiparous Holstein cows were randomly allocated to four treatments (60% or 70% concentrate diet and placebo or Me [single oral dose of 1011 cfu in 250 mL suspension on day of calving and Days 10 and 20 post-partum, respectively]). Observations were recorded between calving and 80 days post-partum. Performance data were analysed for all 60 cows combined and for the 40 highest producing cows only, since they were considered more susceptible to ruminal acidosis. For all 60 cows, body weight, condition score and milk yield tended to increase with Me, but data for the 40 highest producing cows suggested that this response could be ascribed primarily to higher producing cows on the higher concentrate diet. Dry matter intake and milk protein were not affected by Me, whereas milk fat percentage increased with Me but only in cows on the 60% concentrate diet. Results support the hypothesis that dosing with Megasphaera elsdenii is most likely to benefit higher producing cows with greater risk of acidosis. Source

Drouillard J.S.,Kansas State University | Henning P.H.,Megastarter Biotech Pty Ltd T A MS Biotech | Meissner H.H.,Agricultural Research Council | Leeuw K.-J.,Agricultural Research Council
South African Journal of Animal Sciences | Year: 2012

Megasphaera elsdenii (M.e.) NCIMB 41125 is a robust lactate utilizing strain of M.e. that is effective in minimizing the risk of ruminal acidosis in feedlot cattle. When dosed orally, cattle adapt smoothly to increasing concentrates in the diet, the incidence of digestive disturbances, morbidity and mortality is reduced, and carcass yield improves. One could therefore expect that the smooth transition should benefit overall performance. Dosing with the organism also provides the opportunity of a reduction in the time necessary for adaptation, rendering a further decrease in the cost of feeding. These two objectives were tested with 80 yearling crossbred steers blocked by weight before allotment to the respective treatments. The trial design was a randomized 2 × 2 factorial of two drench treatments (M.e. vs. placebo) and two adaptation periods (17 vs. 8 days). In the M.e. treatment, 40 steers were dosed orally on day 1 of the trial with 200 mL inoculum containing 1011 cells. In the placebo treatment, the other 40 steers were dosed orally with only the 200 mL inoculum. In the 17-day transition period, five diets (5-transition) were used, which increased progressively in concentrate percentage, whereas in the 8-day transition period only three of the five diets were fed (3-transition). The steers were fed individually for 63 days before being transferred to group pens and fed until day 95, when they were slaughtered. Dry matter intake was not affected by dose or transition treatment. Body weight at 28 days and 63 days did not differ between dose and transition treatments; neither did ADG and FCR. Hot carcass weight was higher in M.e. steers than in placebo steers. None of the parameters differed significantly between the 5-transition and the 3-transition treatments. It was concluded that dosing with M.e. NCIMB 41125 should provide a small benefit to performance of feedlot cattle, with a further benefit in cost savings as dosing with the organism should allow a shorter adaptation period. Source

Meissner H.H.,Agricultural Research Council | Henning P.H.,Megastarter Biotech Pty Ltd T A MS Biotech | Horn C.H.,Megastarter Biotech Pty Ltd T A MS Biotech | Horn C.H.,Biotherapeutics, Inc. | And 3 more authors.
South African Journal of Animal Sciences | Year: 2010

Ruminal acidosis is discussed with reference to causes and economic and health implications. Distinction is made between the acute form which with proper adaptation to high energy diets is seldom encountered and the more problematic chronic or sub-acute form, commonly referred to as sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA). Apart from stepwise transition from roughage to concentrates, methods adopted to reduce SARA include grain treatment to reduce starch degradation, feed additives such as buffers to control ruminal pH, dicarboxylic acids to stimulate the growth of lactate utilisers, antibiotics such as virginiamycin and the ionophores which inhibit the growth of lactate producers, and direct-fed microbials (DFM's), some of which are lactate utilisers but used more often as stimulants of the major ruminal lactate utilisers Megasphaera elsdenii and Selenomonas ruminantium. Some of the feed additives are expensive and their effects on SARA mostly inconclusive. With regard to the ruminal lactate utilising bacteria, the potential of M. elsdenii to control lactic acid has been recognized and some success with patented strains has been achieved. However, these strains have not been commercialised because of one or more reasons which include inadequate growth rate, inability to multiply at a low ruminal pH, non-preferential use of lactate as primary substrate, inability to survive in sub-optimal anaerobic conditions, inhibition by ionophores, inadequate delivery methods to the ruminant and inability to keep on producing acetate when fibre digesters become inhibited. Megasphaera elsdenii NCIMB 41125, selected from the concentrate-fed rumen through stringent screening and a pH- auxostat technique, proved to meet most criteria mentioned above. In addition, the strain is unaffected by most anthelmintics and in-feed antibiotics. Research results show that: a) strain 41125 is highly successful in preventing ruminal pH decline and lactic acid accumulation to SARA levels; b) volatile fatty acid (VFA) production is similar to current in-feed products and the proportional contribution depends on substrate, dilution rate and pH. Propionate as preferred VFA can be promoted further by the synergistic benefits of strain 41125 with some antibiotics; c) feed intake may be enhanced but not consistently, apparently depending upon adaptation procedure followed and dietary composition; d) because of effective ruminal acidosis control, less roughage can be used during adaptation which is of economic benefit; e) animal health associated with the SARA-compromised immune system is improved with administration of strain 41125; f) in feedlot cattle carcass gain and carcass feed conversion may benefit by about 2% and in dairy cattle high producers may produce more milk because strain 41125 enables management to challenge these cows with higher levels of concentrate in total mixed rations (TMR's), and g) drenching sheep with strain 41125 before entering harvested maize fields prevents ruminal acidosis. © South African Society for Animal Science. Source

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