Diurnal dynamics of gaseous and dissolved metabolites and microbiota composition in the bovine rumen

Henk J. van Lingen*, Joan E. Edwards, Jueeli D. Vaidya, Sanne van Gastelen, Edoardo Saccenti, Bartholomeus van den Bogert, André Bannink, Hauke Smidt, Caroline M. Plugge, Jan Dijkstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Diurnal patterns of ruminal fermentation metabolites and microbial communities are not commonly assessed when investigating variation in ruminal CH4 production. The aims of this study were to monitor diurnal patterns of: (i) gaseous and dissolved metabolite concentrations in the bovine rumen, (ii) H2 and CH4 emitted, and (iii) the rumen microbiota. Furthermore, the effect of dietary inclusion of linseed oil on these patterns was assessed. Four rumen cannulated multiparous cows were used in a cross-over design with two 17 days periods and two dietary treatments: a control diet and a linseed oil supplemented diet [40% maize silage, 30% grass silage, 30% concentrate on dry matter (DM) basis for both diets; fat contents of 33 vs. 56 g/kg of DM]. On day 11, rumen contents were sampled for 10 h after morning feeding to profile gaseous and dissolved metabolite concentrations and microbiota composition. H2 and CH4 emission (mass per unit of time) was measured in respiration chambers from day 13 to 17. A 100-fold increase in ruminal H2 partial pressure (contribution to the total pressure of rumen headspace gases) was observed at 0.5 h after feeding. This peak was followed by a decline to basal level. Qualitatively similar patterns after feeding were also observed for H2 and CH4 emission, ethanol and lactate concentrations, and propionate molar proportion, although the opposite pattern was seen for acetate molar proportion. Associated with these patterns, a temporal biphasic change in the microbial composition was observed as based on 16S ribosomal RNA with certain taxa specifically associated with each phase. Bacterial concentrations (log10 16S ribosomal RNA gene copies based) were affected by time, and were increased by linseed oil supplementation. Archaeal concentrations (log10 16S ribosomal RNA gene copies based) tended to be affected by time and were not affected by diet, despite linseed oil supplementation decreasing CH4 emission, tending to decrease the partial pressure of CH4, and tending to increase propionate molar proportion. Linseed oil supplementation affected microbiota composition, and was most associated with an uncultivated Bacteroidales taxon. In summary, our findings support the importance of diurnal dynamics for the understanding of VFA, H2, and CH4 production.
Original languageEnglish
Article number425
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Issue numberMAR
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Bacteria
  • Dairy cow
  • Hydrogen
  • Linseed oil
  • Methane
  • Methanogenic archaea
  • Volatile fatty acids


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