Effect of Air on Rumen Gas Production

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Ruminants may swallow air as they eat and ruminate throughout the day. However, it is unclear as to how the introduction of oxygen impacts fermentation pathways, bacteria, and yeast within this mostly anaerobic environment. Therefore, the focus of this thesis was to study air’s impact on rumen fermentation and to determine if probiotics could offset air’s impact on digestibility. An in vitro analysis of air and probiotics indicated the main effect of air decreased digestibility, the main effect of probiotics had variable effects, and probiotics had significant interactions with air. The interactions suggested yeast employing a potential alternative pathway with the introduction of oxygen. Utilizing published literature, a static and dynamic mathematical model was built to further analyze digestibility, gas composition, and uptake of oxygen within the rumen. Future studies will further develop this model with in vivo studies to further interpretation and understanding of rumen fermentation’s complex system.