Marker concentration patterns of labelled leaf and stem particles in the rumen of cattle grazing bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon) analysed by reference to a raft model
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Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/43841
Large (>1600 ?m), ingestively masticated particles of bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon L. Pers.) leaf and stem labelled with 169Yb and 144Ce respectively were inserted into the rumen digesta raft of heifers grazing bermuda grass. The concentration of markers in digesta sampled from the raft and ventral rumen were monitored at regular intervals over approximately 144 h. The data from the two sampling sites were simultaneously fitted to two pool (raft and ventral rumen reticulum) models with either reversible or sequential flow between the two pools. The sequential flow model fitted the data equally as well as the reversible flow model but the reversible flow model was used because of its greater application. The reversible flow model, hereafter called the raft model, had the following features: a relatively slow age-dependent transfer rate from the raft (means for a gamma 2 distributed rate parameter for leaf 0.0740 v. stem 0.0478 h-1), a very slow first order reversible flow from the ventral rumen to the raft (mean for leaf and stem 0.010 h-1) and a very rapid first order exit from the ventral rumen (mean of leaf and stem 0.44 h-1). The raft was calculated to occupy approximately 0.82 total rumen DM of the raft and ventral rumen pools. Fitting a sequential two pool model or a single exponential model individually to values from each of the two sampling sites yielded similar parameter values for both sites and faster rate parameters for leaf as compared with stem, in agreement with the raft model. These results were interpreted as indicating that the raft forms a large relatively inert pool within the rumen. Particles generated within the raft have difficulty escaping but once into the ventral rumen pool they escape quickly with a low probability of return to the raft. It was concluded that the raft model gave a good interpretation of the data and emphasized escape from and movement within the raft as important components of the residence time of leaf and stem particles within the rumen digesta of cattle.