The effect of exogenous phytase on inositol phosphate degradation in the rumen of dairy cows was investigated in a 4 × 4 Latin square design. Four lactating Danish Holstein cows fitted with ruminal, duodenal, and ileal cannulas were offered a total mixed ration (TMR) with a high content of inositol phosphate and supplemented with 1 of 4 concentrations of phytase [none, low, medium, or high, corresponding to 23, 2,023, 3,982, and 6,015 phytase units/kg of dry matter (DM)]. Exogenous phytase lead to a higher rumen pool of phytase. Inositol phosphate content in digesta samples from rumen, duodenum, ileum, and feces was almost entirely composed of myo-inositol hexakisphosphate (InsP6), indicating that degradation of this compound is the rate-limiting step in inositol phosphate degradation in the digestive tract. Ruminal and total-tract degradations of InsP6 were higher when exogenous phytase was added to the TMR. Degradation of InsP6 occurred mainly before the duodenum. The ruminal degradability of InsP6 was increased with increasing dietary concentrations of phytase: 86.4, 93.7, 94.5, and 96.3% for none, low, medium, or high, respectively. A comparison of the InsP6 content in individual feedstuffs and in samples of the TMR revealed that the exogenous phytase started degrading the inositol phosphate when feeds and phytase were mixed, and thus the InsP6 phosphorus (InsP6-P) content in the TMR was found to decrease with higher doses of phytase (1.69, 1.51, 1.39, and 1.25 g/kg of DM for the none, low, medium, and high phytase doses, respectively). It was not possible to distinguish between the degradation of inositol phosphate occurring in the TMR and in the rumen. Exogenous phytase had no effect on total P intake or flow of total P to the duodenum and ileum, whereas exogenous phytase increased flow of microbial P to the duodenum and total fecal P excretion. None of the investigated rumen variables (pH, degradability of neutral detergent fiber, and rumen kinetics for neutral detergent fiber) were affected by treatment. Rumen and total-tract degradations of inositol phosphate were increased when exogenous phytase was added to the TMR, which offers the potential for reducing P excretion through reduced dietary P.
Journal of Dairy Science, 2013, Vol 96, Issue 3, p. 1691-1700