The aim of this study was to evaluate the production and composition of ruminal bacteria and protozoa in cattle fed with glycerin. Five steers, provided with ruminal cannulas, were distributed in a latin square design (5 x 5). Diets were formulated to contain 0, 5, 10, 15, or 20% of glycerin on dry matter (DM) basis. Rumen content samples were collected at 0, 2, 5 and 8 hours after feeding that were separated in solid and liquid phases to determine the amount of liquid associated bacteria (LAB), liquid associated protozoa (LAP) and particle-associated bacteria (PAB). With the increase of glycerin concentration in the diet there was a linear reduction in DM production of LAB and LAP (P<0.05). In the treatment without glycerin the amount of DM was 1048.5 and 2199.5 mg/L for LAB and LAP respectively, while in the treatment with 20% of glycerin it was respectively 756.9 and 1619.9 mg/L for LAB and LAP. Furthermore, there was a reduction in the content of organic matter (OM) and a linear increase in nitrogen (N) of LAB with increasing concentration of glycerin in the diet. The composition of protozoa was not altered by the treatments (average 47.3% OM and 7.2% N). The production of PAB was not affected (P>0.05) by the increasing dietary glycerin and mean values for the quantities of DM, OM and N were respectively 3131.0, 2463.1 and 294.2 mg/kg. There was a linear increase in N content of PAB from 10.8 to 11.3% for treatments with 0 and 20% of glycerin respectively. There was no effect on harvest time for PAB, while for LAB there was reduction in OM production and in OM and N contents. The use of high concentrations of glycerin in the cattle diet requires further study, because there are changes in the production and composition of rumen microorganisms.
biodiesel; byproduct; microorganisms; rumen