Association of ionophores, yeast, and bacterial probiotics alters the abundance of ruminal microbial species of pasture intensively finished beef cattle


The effect of the association of non-protein nitrogen, yeast, and bacterial probiotics on the ruminal microbiome of beef cattle intensively finished on pasture was evaluated. The experiment was carried out in a completely randomized design with five treatments and four replications. The treatments consisted of a group of animals kept on pasture that received low consumption supplementation (LS) and four groups that received for 98 days, 17.5 g concentrate kg−1 body weight. The supplements were composed of the association of additives: urea (U), slow-release non-protein nitrogen (U+SRN), yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae; U+SRN+Y), and bacterial probiotics (live strains of bacteria; U+SRN+Y+BP). All supplements also contained salinomycin and virginiamycin. After slaughtering the animals, samples of ruminal content were collected to quantify groups of fibrolytic bacteria (Ruminococcus albus and Fibrobacter succinogenes), non-fibrolytic (Prevotella ruminicola, Selenomonas ruminantium, and Streptococcus bovis), Archaea, and ciliate protozoa, using the qPCR technique. The abundance of F. succinogenes was the same for the LS animals and those that received the supplement U+SRN+Y (1.42×108 copies mL−1) but higher than the other treatments. Supplementation reduced by 90% the abundance of S. bovis compared to the LS. The inclusion of yeast increased the abundance of fibrolytic bacteria by 2.2-fold. For animals that received the supplement U+SRN+Y+BP and the LS, there was no difference for non-fibrolytic bacteria (3.07×109 copies mL−1). The use of yeasts and sources of non-protein nitrogen in high-concentrate diets for beef cattle stimulates the growth of fibrolytic bacteria, which can contribute to the reduction of digestive disorders and metabolic diseases in animals that receive diets with high concentrate in pasture intensive termination systems.

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The authors acknowledge CAPES (Coordination of Improvement of Higher-Level Personnel) for granting a scholarship to the first author and Acrinorte (Association of Northern Mato Grosso’s farmers) for the partnership with the beef cattle used [44.771/14 and 50.168/2017].

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This work was supported by Embrapa [grant numbers], Acrimat (Association of Mato Grosso’s farmers), and Fortuna Animal Nutrition.

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Correspondence to Mircéia Angele Mombach.

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The authors confirm that they have followed standards for the protection of animals used for scientific purposes and all procedures performed with animals have been approved and were following the ethical standards of the Biosafety Committee of Embrapa Agrossilvipastoril (Protocol CEUA – No. 008/2015).

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Mombach, M.A., da Silva Cabral, L., Lima, L.R. et al. Association of ionophores, yeast, and bacterial probiotics alters the abundance of ruminal microbial species of pasture intensively finished beef cattle. Trop Anim Health Prod 53, 172 (2021).

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  • Fibrolytic bacteria
  • High-concentrate diets
  • Real-time PCR
  • Rumen microbiology
  • Slow-release urea