Increasing the Sustainability of Maize Grain Production by Using Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Does Not Affect the Rumen of Dairy Cattle (Bos taurus) and Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)

Antonella Chiariotti*, Joan E. Edwards, Gerben D.A. Hermes, Gennaro Catillo, David Meo Zilio, Sabrina Di Giovanni, Hauke Smidt, Luca Buttazzoni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

New approaches are needed to improve the sustainability of feed production and utilization by ruminants. Promising approaches include increased use of buffaloes for more sustainable milk production, and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) to reduce crop production input needs. However, studies assessing the effect of crops grown in the presence of AMF on rumen microbial utilization are limited. Based on current knowledge, we hypothesized that maize grain grown on AMF-inoculated soil affected ruminal fermentation and microbiota, and that this effect differed between buffalo and cattle. A dietary cross-over study (four weeks per diet) was conducted using rumen-cannulated cattle (n = 5) and buffalo (n = 6) to assess the effect of maize grain (3.9% (w/v) of diet) grown on soil with or without AMF (15 kg/ha) on ruminal fermentation and microbiota. Production of maize on AMF-treated soil did not affect any of the assessed ruminal fermentation parameters, microbial concentrations, or prokaryotic community composition (using prokaryotic 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis). In contrast, host type had numerous effects. Protozoal counts, lactate, total VFA and isobutyrate, were significantly higher in buffaloes compared to cattle. Conversely, butyrate was significantly lower in buffaloes than in cattle. Host type explained 9.3% of the total variation in prokaryotic community composition, and relative abundance of nine amplicon sequence variants significantly differed between host types. These findings indicate that AMF treatment of maize crops has no detrimental impact on the value of the resulting maize grains as a ruminant feed, and provides additional insight into rumen-based differences between cattle and buffalo.

Original languageEnglish
Article number556764
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • anaerobic fungi
  • archaea
  • bacteria
  • fermentation
  • protozoa
  • rumen microbiome

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