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Journal of Dairy Science
Volume 104 (3), 2021, Pages 2924-2934

Effects of propylene glycol on in vitro ruminal fermentation, methanogenesis, and microbial community structure

K.Wang1*, X.M. Nan1*, Y.G. Zhao1, J.J. Tong2, L.S. Jiang2, B.H. Xiong1

State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Institute of Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100193, China.


We evaluated the effects of propylene glycol (PG) on in vitro ruminal fermentation, methanogenesis, and microbial community structure. A completely randomized design was conducted in the in vitro incubation, and 4 culture PG dose levels (0, 7.5, 15, and 22.5 μL/g of dry matter) were used in the trial. Based on the fermentation results, the control group (0 μL/g of dry matter, CON) and the second treatment group (15.0 μL/g of dry matter, TRT) were chosen for further analysis to explore the effects of PG on the bacterial and archaeal community structure. The concentrations of propanol, propanal, and succinate increased linearly, whereas the concentration of l-lactate decreased linearly as PG doses increased. The molar proportion of propionate demonstrated a linear increase with increasing PG doses. In contrast with propionate, the molar proportion of acetate and butyrate, and acetate-to-propionate ratio decreased linearly with increasing PG doses. The addition of PG markedly decreased methane production without negative effects on nutrient degradability. In the archaeal level, the relative abundance of Methanobrevibacter tended to decrease, but that of Methanomassiliicoccus significantly increased in TRT group. At the bacterial level, the relative abundance of Bacteroidetes and Prevotella in TRT group was numerically higher than that in CON group. The analysis of the Negativicutes class showed that the relative abundance of Succiniclasticum tended to increase, whereas that of Selenomonas tended to decrease in TRT group. These results demonstrated that PG might be used as an inhibitor to mitigate methane emission. However, the small decrease in methane production will limit the application of PG as a methane inhibitor in production practices. Further research is needed to determine whether use together with other inhibitors may improve the effects of PG on the utilization of reducing equivalents ([H]) and methane production.

Keywords: propylene glycol, propionate formation, methanogenesis, bacterial community, archaeal community.

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