Nutritional intervention in early life to manipulate rumen microbial colonization and methane output by kid goats postweaning

L Abecia, A I Martín-García, G Martínez, C J Newbold, D R Yáñez-Ruiz

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92 Citations (Scopus)


The growing interest in reducing methane (CH4) emissions from ruminants by dietary means is constrained by the complexity of the microbial community in the rumen of the adult animal. The aim of this work was to study whether intervention in early life of goat kids has an impact on methane emissions and the microbial ecosystem in the rumen and whether the effects persist postweaning. Sixteen doe goats giving birth to 2 kids each were randomly split into 2 experimental groups: 8 does were treated (D+) with bromochloromethane (BCM) after giving birth and over 2 mo, and the other 8 does were not treated (D-). In both groups of does, 1 kid per doe was treated with BCM (k+) for 3 mo, and the other was untreated (k-), resulting in 4 experimental groups: D+k+, D+k-, D-k+, and D-k-. Methane emissions were recorded, and ruminal samples were collected from kids at 2 mo of age (weaning, W) and 1 (W+1) and 4 (W+4) mo later. At W+1 mo, CH4 emissions by k+ kids were 52% and 59% less than untreated kids (in D+ and D- groups, respectively). However, at W+4 mo, only D+k+ kids remained lower (33%) emitters and exhibited greater daily BW gain (146 g/d) compared with the other 3 groups (121.8 g/d). The analysis of the archaeal community structure by Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE)showed a strong effect of BCM treatment on does and kids that persisted only in D+k+ kids. The study showed that the application of BCM during early life of kids modified the archaeal population that colonized the rumen, which resulted in decreased CH4 emissions around weaning. The effect is influenced by the treatment applied to the doe and persisted 3 mo later in D+k+ kids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4832-40
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPrint publication - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal Feed
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Archaea/drug effects
  • Diet/veterinary
  • Fermentation
  • Goats/growth & development
  • Hydrocarbons, Halogenated/pharmacology
  • Methane/metabolism
  • Rumen/drug effects
  • Weaning
  • Weight Gain


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