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Vol. 92, No: 4, 2014, Pages:

Improving cell wall digestion and animal performance with fibrolytic enzymes

A. T. Adesogan, Z. X. Ma, J. J. Romero and K. G. Arriola

Department of Animal Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville 32608.


This paper aimed to summarize published responses to treatment of cattle diets with exogenous fibrolytic enzymes (EFE), to discuss reasons for variable EFE efficacy in animal trials, to recommend strategies for improving enzyme testing and EFE efficacy in ruminant diets, and to identify proteomic differences between effective and ineffective EFE. A meta-analysis of 20 dairy cow studies with 30 experiments revealed that only a few increased lactational performance and the response was inconsistent. This variability is attributable to several enzyme, feed, animal, and management factors that were discussed in this paper. The variability reflects our limited understanding of the synergistic and sequential interactions between exogenous glycosyl hydrolases, autochthonous ruminal microbes, and endogenous fibrolytic enzymes that are necessary to optimize ruminal fiber digestion. An added complication is that many of the standard methods of assaying EFE activities may over- or underestimate their potential effects because they are based on pure substrate saccharification and do not simulate ruminal conditions. Our recent evaluation of 18 commercial EFE showed that 78 and 83% of them exhibited optimal endoglucanase and xylanase activities, respectively, at 50°C, and 77 and 61% had optimal activities at pH 4 to 5, respectively, indicating that most would likely act suboptimally in the rumen. Of the many fibrolytic activities that act synergistically to degrade forage fiber, the few usually assayed, typically endoglucanase and xylanase, cannot hydrolyze the recalcitrant phenolic acid-lignin linkages that are the main constraints to ruminal fiber degradation. These factors highlight the futility of random addition of EFE to diets. This paper discusses reasons for the variable animal responses to dietary addition of fibrolytic enzymes, advances explanations for the inconsistency, suggests a strategy to improve enzyme efficacy in ruminant diets, and describes differences among the proteomes of effective and ineffective EFE.

Keywoards: cellulase, cofactor, cow, endoglucanase, lignocellulose, plant cell wall, xylanase.

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