The effects of abomasal infusion of oligofructose in lactating dairy cows on the relationship between hindgut fermentation and N metabolism, and its effects on NH3 absorption and transfer of blood urea-N across the portal-drained viscera versus ruminal epithelia were investigated. Nine lactating Holstein cows fitted with ruminal cannulas and permanent indwelling catheters in major splanchnic blood vessels were used in an unbalanced crossover design with 14-d periods. Treatments were continuous abomasal infusion of water or 1,500 g/d of oligofructose. The same basal diet was fed with both treatments. Eight sample sets of arterial, portal, hepatic, and ruminal vein blood, ruminal fluid, and urine were obtained at 0.5 h before the morning feeding and at 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, 4.5, 5.5, and 6.5 h after feeding. It was hypothesized that an increased supply of fermentable substrate to the hindgut would increase the uptake of urea-N from blood to the hindgut at the expense of urea-N uptake to the forestomach. The study showed that abomasal oligofructose infusion decreased the total amount of urea-N transferred from the blood to the gut, NH3 absorption, and arterial blood urea-N concentration. Subsequently, hepatic NH3 uptake and urea-N production also decreased with oligofructose infusion. Additionally, urea-N concentration in milk and urinary N excretion decreased with oligofructose treatment. The oligofructose infusion did not affect ruminal NH3 concentrations or any other ruminal variables, nor did it affect ruminal venous − arterial concentration differences for urea-N and NH3. The oligofructose treatment did not affect milk yield, but did decrease apparent digestibility of OM, N, and starch. Nitrogen excreted in the feces was greater with the oligofructose infusion. In conclusion, the present data suggest that increased hindgut fermentation did not upregulate urea-N transfer to the hindgut at the expense of urea-N uptake by the rumen, and the observed reduction in arterial blood urea-N concentration appeared not to be due to increased urea-N transport, but rather could be explained by reduced NH3 input to hepatic urea-N synthesis caused by increased sequestration of NH3 in the hindgut and excretion in feces. Increasing the hindgut fermentation in lactating dairy cows by abomasal infusion of 1,500 g/d of oligofructose shifted some N excretion from the urine to feces and possibly reduced manure NH3 volatilization without impairing rumen fermentation.
Journal of Dairy Science, 2012, Vol 95, Issue 12, p. 7248-7260