Supplementing Northern Australian beef cattle with Desmanthus tropical legume reduces in-vivo methane emissions

Suybeng, Benedicte, Charmley, Edward, Gardiner, Christopher P., Malau-Aduli, Bunmi S., and Malau-Aduli, Aduli E.O. (2020) Supplementing Northern Australian beef cattle with Desmanthus tropical legume reduces in-vivo methane emissions. Animals, 10 (11). 2097.

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The main objective of this study was to investigate the effect of supplementing beef cattle with incremental levels of Desmanthus leptophyllus cv. JCU1 and Desmanthus bicornutus cv. JCU4 on in vivo methane (CH4) emissions and the role of tannins in rumen fermentation. Fourteen yearling Droughtmaster steers were allocated to each of the two Desmanthus species and offered a basal diet of Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) hay plus fresh Desmanthus at 0%, 15%, 22%, and 31% of dry matter intake (DMI). The 15% and 31% Desmanthus periods lasted 21 days and the 22 and 0% Desmanthus periods, 14 days. Methane production was measured by open-circuit gas exchange in the last two days of each period. The results showed a linear increase in DMI and reduction in CH4 yield with the increasing level of Desmanthus and subsequently condensed tannins in the diet. The added tannin binder polyethylene glycol-4000 did not affect CH4 yield but increased rumen NH3-N and iso-acid concentrations. Therefore, on a low-quality diet, Desmanthus has the potential to increase intake and reduce CH4 emissions. Even though its tannins can bind rumen proteins, the beef cattle anti-methanogenic response to supplementation with Desmanthus may be a combination of rumen fermentation and tannin effects.

Item ID: 65024
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2076-2615
Keywords: methane emission; mitigation; tannins; tropical beef cattle; Desmanthus leptophyllus; Desmanthus bicornutus; phenolics; legumes; polyethylene glycol; greenhouse gas
Copyright Information: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Funders: Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS), James Cook University (JCU)
Projects and Grants: DIIS CRC-P-58599, JCU College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2020 23:16
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3003 Animal production > 300303 Animal nutrition @ 100%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8303 Livestock Raising > 830301 Beef Cattle @ 100%
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