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Revista Brasileira de Zootecnia
On-line version ISSN 1806-9290
OLIVEIRA, Veronaldo Souza de et al. Effects of replacing of corn and Tifton hay with forage cactus on microbial protein synthesis and nitrogen metabolism in lactating dairy cows. R. Bras. Zootec. [online]. 2007, vol.36, n.4, pp. 936-944. ISSN 1806-9290. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-35982007000400025.
The objective of this trial was to evaluate the effect of replacing Tifton hay and corn with forage cactus (Opuntia ficus indica Mill ) on microbial protein synthesis and efficiency and N metabolism in lactating Holstein cows. Diets contained (% of DM): 0, 12.0, 25.0, 38.0, or 51.0%) of forage cactus. Five Holstein cows were randomly assigned to treatments in a 5 x 5 Latin square design. Each experimental period lasted 17 days with 10 days for diet adaptation and seven days for data and sample collection. Urinary volume was estimated based on creatinine excretion in spot urine samples obtained four hours after feeding. Urinary volume (27.62 L), urinary excretion of uric acid (35.78 mmol/day) and allantoin (288.42 mmol/day), allantoin in milk (18.11 mmol/day), total allantoin (306.54 mmol/day), total excretion of purine derivatives (342.33 mmol/day), absorbed purines (350.03 mmol/day), microbial protein synthesis (1376.07g/day) and efficiency (115.38 g/kgNDT) were not affected by increasing the levels of forage cactus in the diet. The urinary excretion of urea (mg/kg BW) and the concentrations of urea and urea-N in plasma (mg/dL) decreased linearly while the concentrations of urea and urea-N in milk were not affected when the levels of forage cactus were increased in the diet. Corn can be completely replaced with forage cactus because microbial protein synthesis was not changed and urinary excretion of urea decreased linearly. However, Tifton hay was necessary in the diet to maintain microbial production.
Keywords : allantoin; creatinine; microbial nitrogen; urinary volume.