The aim of the study was to investigate the association of methane (CH4) yields (g/kg DMI) with rumen VFA molar proportions and animal and diet-related covariates from individual animals and multiple experiments. The dataset available consisted of 284 measurements of CH4 yields for beef cattle from 6 experiments measured in indirect respiration chambers. A compositional modeling approach was employed where VFA measurements were considered as a whole, instead of in isolation, emphasizing their multivariate relative scale. The analysis revealed expected close groupings of acetate and butyrate; propionate and valerate; iso-butyrate and iso-valerate. Linear mixed models were then fitted to examine relationships between CH4 yield and VFA, represented by meaningful log-contrasts of components called compositional balances, while accounting for other animal and diet-related covariates and random variability between experiments. A compositional balance representing (acetate × butyrate)/propionate best explained the contribution of VFA to variation in CH4 yield. The covariates DMI, forage:concentrate proportion (expressed as a categorical variable diet type: high concentrate, mixed forage:concentrate or high forage), and diet ME were also statistically significant. These results provided new insights into the relative inter-relationships among VFA measurements and also between VFA and CH4 yield. In conclusion, VFA molar proportions as represented by compositional balances were a significant contributor to explaining variation in CH4 yields from individual cattle.
- Compositional data
- Methane production
- Mixed models
- Volatile fatty acids
Palarea-Albaladejo, J., Rooke, JA., Nevison, IM., & Dewhurst, RJ. (2017). Compositional mixed modelling of methane emissions and ruminal volatile fatty acids from individual cattle and multiple experiments. Journal of Animal Science, 95(6), 2467 - 2480. https://doi.org/10.2527/jas.2016.1339