Rumen fluids from fistulated buffalos (Italy-BRF) and cows (Netherlands-CRF) were used as inocula to determine the fermentation kinetics of three forages. These were corn silage (CS), grass silage (GS) and wheat straw (WS) which had originated from both regions, giving six substrates in total. Fermentation kinetics was assessed by the measurement of cumulative gas production. Organic matter (OM) loss and volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentration at the end of the fermentation period were also determined. Both BRF and CRF ranked the substrates in the same order for total VFA, total gas production and the maximum rate of substrate degradation (CS > GS > WS). However, while the ranking of substrates was the same for both species, the absolute values differed significantly between the two inocula. Gas production, expressed as cumulative volume per unit mass of incubated (OMCV, ml g-1) and as cumulative volume per unit mass of OM degraded (OM ml g-1) for CRF was consistently higher than that for BRF for all substrates (p <0.0001). VFA production, particularly of acetic and butyric acids, was significantly (p <0.0001) lower for BRF than for CRF, though the digestibility of OM was the same for both inocula. VFA production predicted by the use of stoichiometric equations was generally higher than the observed gas production. These equations also predicted that the calculated amount of OM utilised for microbial growth was higher for BRF than for CRF. This may explain why diets having the same energy content but less protein can be fed to buffalo since they seem to have a lower requirement for protein compared with cattle. This possibility will need to be investigated in vivo. Given the similar ranking of feedstuffs between the two sources of inocula, these results suggest that either inoculum would be suitable for use in the cumulative gas production test as a measure of feedstuff evaluation. However, given the differences in absolute values, it is recommended that inocula from the species which will receive the feedstuff should be used.
- ruminant feeds