Effect of sodium laurate on ruminal fermentation and utilization of ruminal ammonia nitrogen for milk protein synthesis in dairy cows

A. N. Hristov, K. L. Grandeen, J. K. Ropp, M. A. McGuire

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37 Scopus citations


A crossover design trial with 4 ruminally and duodenally cannulated lactating dairy cows was conducted to study the effect of sodium laurate on ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestibility, and milk yield and composition. The daily dose of sodium laurate (0, control or 240 g/cow, LA) was divided in 2 equal portions and introduced directly into the rumen through the cannula before feedings. Ruminal samples (29 in 114 h) were analyzed for fermentation variables and protozoal counts. Sodium laurate had no effect on ruminal pH and total and individual volatile fatty acids concentrations. ruminal ammonia concentration, ammonia N pool size, and the irreversible loss of ammonia N were unaffected by treatment. Compared to control, protozoal counts were reduced by 91% by LA. Carboxymethylcellulase and xylanase activities of ruminal fluid were decreased (by 40 and 36%, respectively), and amylase activity was not affected by LA compared with control. Flow of microbial N to the duodenum was reduced by LA. Dry matter intake and apparent total tract digestibility of dry matter, organic matter, crude protein, neutral detergent fiber, and acid detergent fiber were not different between the 2 treatments. Milk yield, fat-corrected milk yield, milk fat and protein concentrations and yields, and milk urea N content were not affected by treatment. Sodium laurate did not affect transfer of ruminal ammonia-15N into bacterial or milk protein. In conclusion, LA at approximately 0.3% of the rumen weight reduced ruminal protozoal population and had a negative effect on fibrolytic activities of ruminal fluid and microbial protein flow to the intestine. Treatment had no other significant effects on ruminal fermentation, total tract digestibility, or transfer of ruminal ammonia-15N into milk protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1820-1831
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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