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Effect of Origanum vulgare L. leaves on rumen fermentation, production, and milk fatty acid composition in lactating dairy cows

Hristov, A.N., Lee, C., Cassidy, T., Heyler, K., Tekippe, J.A., Varga, G.A., Corl, B., Brandt, R.C.
Journal of dairy science 2013 v.96 no.2 pp. 1189-1202
Holstein, Origanum vulgare, ammonia, dairy cows, dietary supplements, digestibility, dry matter intake, experimental design, fatty acid composition, feed conversion, fungi, lactation, leaves, methane, methane production, methanogens, milk, milk composition, milk yield, neutral detergent fiber, nutrients, odors, oregano, pH, protein synthesis, rumen, rumen bacteria, rumen fermentation, urea nitrogen, urine, volatile fatty acids
This experiment investigated the effects of dietary supplementation of Origanum vulgare L. leaf material (OR) on rumen fermentation, production, and milk fatty acid composition in dairy cows. The experimental design was a replicated 4×4 Latin square with 8 rumen-cannulated Holstein cows and 20-d experimental periods. Treatments were control (no OR supplementation), 250g/cow per day OR (LOR), 500g/d OR (MOR), and 750g/d OR (HOR). Oregano supplementation had no effect on rumen pH, volatile fatty acid concentrations, and estimated microbial protein synthesis, but decreased ammonia concentration and linearly decreased methane production per unit of dry matter intake (DMI) compared with the unsupplemented control: 18.2, 16.5, 11.7, and 13.6g of methane/kg of DMI, respectively. Proportions of rumen bacterial, methanogen, and fungal populations were not affected by treatment. Treatment had no effect on total-tract apparent digestibility of dietary nutrients, except neutral detergent fiber digestibility was slightly decreased by all OR treatments compared with the control. Urinary N losses and manure odor were not affected by OR, except the proportion of urinary urea N in the total excreted urine N tended to be decreased compared with the control. Oregano linearly decreased DMI (28.3, 28.3, 27.5, and 26.7kg/d for control, LOR, MOR, and HOR, respectively). Milk yield was not affected by treatment: 43.4, 45.2, 44.1, and 43.4kg/d, respectively. Feed efficiency was linearly increased with OR supplementation and was greater than the control (1.46, 1.59, 1.60, and 1.63kg/kg, respectively). Milk composition was unaffected by OR, except milk urea-N concentration was decreased. Milk fatty acid composition was not affected by treatment. In this short-term study, OR fed at 250 to 750g/d decreased rumen methane production in dairy cows within 8h after feeding, but the effect over a 24-h feeding cycle has not been determined. Supplementation of the diet with OR linearly decreased DMI and increased feed efficiency. Oregano had no effects on milk fatty acid composition.