Bigger is not always better: A study of the structure-activity relationship of oligomeric ellagitannins on ruminal fermentation in vitro

Nicolas Baert, W.F. Pellikaan, M. Karonen, J.P. Salminen

Research output: Contribution to journalAbstractAcademic

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate how the degree of oligomerization of ellagitannins (ET) influences their ability to alter ruminal fermentation. Dimeric to heptameric ET were isolated from rosebay willowherb (Epilobium angustifolium) flowers and purified. Ellagitannins were tested in vitro on a mixture of grass silage and buffered rumen fluid. Total gas production was measured in real time using an automated pressure evaluation system. Methane production was monitored at regular interval by gas chromatography for 72 h. The effect of ET was evaluated on 2 sources of rumen fluid using a randomized block design. Ammonia nitrogen, volatile fatty acid concentration, and pH were measured at the end of the experiment. Results show that oligomeric ET decreased gas production and total volatile fatty acid concentration proportionally to their degree of oligomerization. Methane production was also decreased by all the tested compounds and dimer was less effective than the larger ET, which showed similar levels of activity. Additionally, willowherb’s oligomeric ET decreased ammonia-nitrogen and branched-chain volatile fatty acid concentrations, thus indicating reduced protein degradation by ruminal bacteria. This effect showed a quadratic relationship with the degree of oligomerization and was maximal with the tetramer. In conclusion, this study shows that the degree of oligomerization of ET has more than a simple linear effect on fermentation parameters in vitro. Large oligomers, in fact, have more detrimental effects on volatile fatty acid and gas production than small ones, while being similarly effective at inhibiting methane production.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberS1-S381
JournalPlanta Medica
Volume82
Issue numberS 01
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2016
Event9th Joint Meeting of AFERP, ASP, GA, JSP, PSE & SIF - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 24 Jul 201627 Jul 2016

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