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Abstract

Two experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of Bacillus subtilis natto, which was initially isolated from fermented soybeans on milk production, rumen fermentation and ruminal microbiome in dairy cows. In Experiment 1, 36 early lactation Chinese Holstein dairy cows (56 ± 23 days in milk) were randomly assigned to three groups: Control, cows were fed total mixed ration (TMR); BSNLOW, TMR plus 0.5 × 1011 colony-forming units (cfu) of B. subtilis natto/cow per day; and BSNHIGH, TMR plus 1.0 × 1011 cfu of B. subtilis natto/cow per day. During the 70-day treatment period, daily milk production and daily milk composition were determined in individual cows. The results showed that supplementing dairy cows with 0.5 × 1011 and 1.0 × 1011 cfu of B. subtilis natto linearly increased (P < 0.01) milk production (25.2 and 26.4 kg/day v. 23.0 kg/day), 4% fat-corrected milk (27.3 and 28.1 kg/day v. 24.2 kg/day), energy-corrected milk (27.3 and 28.2 kg/day v. 24.2 kg/day), as well as milk fat (1.01 and 1.03 kg/day v. 0.88 kg/day), protein (0.77 and 0.82 kg/day v. 0.69 kg/day) and lactose yield (1.16 and 1.22 kg/day v. 1.06 kg/day) but decreased milk somatic cell counts (SCC) by 3.4% to 5.5% (P < 0.01) in BSNLOW and BSNHIGH treatments compared with Control. In Experiment 2, four rumen-cannulated dairy cows were fed the basal diet from 1 to 7 days (pre-trial period) and rumen samples were collected on days 6 and 7; the same cows then were fed 1.0 × 1011 cfu/day B. subtilis natto from days 8 to 21 (trial period) and rumen samples were collected on days 20 and 21. B. subtilis natto was discontinued from days 22 to 28 (post-trial period) and rumen samples were collected on days 27 and 28. Compared with the pre- and post-periods, ruminal pH decreased by 2.7% to 3.0% during the trial period (P < 0.01), whereas ammonia nitrogen (NH3-N), total volatile fatty acids and molar proportion of propionate (P < 0.01) and valerate (P < 0.05) increased. Molar proportion of acetate decreased and the acetate to propionate ratio was lower (P < 0.01) during the trial period. However, no differences for 24-h in sacco dry matter digestibility were detected among different periods (treatments) though NDF digestibility was reduced in the trial and post-trial periods (P < 0.01). Compared with pre-trial period, total ruminal bacteria, proteolytic and amylolytic bacteria in rumen enumerated by culture methods increased by 15.0%, 16.2% and 11.7%, respectively (P < 0.01) but protozoa decreased to 5.35 log10 cfu/ml (P < 0.01) during the trial period. These results demonstrate that B. subtilis natto improves milk production and milk components yield, decreases SCC and promotes the growth of total ruminal bacteria, proteolytic and amylolytic bacteria, which indicate that B. subtilis natto has potential to be applied as a probiotic for dairy cows.

Research Insights

SupplementHealth OutcomeEffect TypeEffect Size
Bacillus subtilis DE111Altered Ruminal Fermentation PatternNeutral
Moderate
Bacillus subtilis DE111Enhanced Growth of Rumen BacteriaBeneficial
Moderate
Bacillus subtilis DE111Enhanced Milk ProductionBeneficial
Large
Bacillus subtilis DE111Improved Milk CompositionBeneficial
Large
Bacillus subtilis DE111Reduced NDF DigestibilityHarmful
Moderate
Bacillus subtilis DE111Reduced Somatic Cell CountBeneficial
Moderate
Bacillus subtilis HU58Enhanced Milk ProductionBeneficial
Large
Bacillus subtilis HU58Improved Milk Protein YieldBeneficial
Large
Bacillus subtilis HU58Increased Lactose Yield in MilkBeneficial
Moderate
Bacillus subtilis HU58Increased Milk Fat ProductionBeneficial
Large
Bacillus subtilis HU58Increased Ruminal Bacterial CountBeneficial
Moderate
Bacillus subtilis HU58Reduced Acetate to Propionate RatioBeneficial
Moderate
Bacillus subtilis HU58Reduced Milk Somatic Cell CountBeneficial
Moderate
Bacillus subtilis HU58Reduced Rumen pHBeneficial
Small
Bacillus subtilis HU58Reduced Ruminal ProtozoaBeneficial
Moderate
Bacillus subtilis SNZ-1972Enhanced Milk ProductionBeneficial
Large
Bacillus subtilis SNZ-1972Improved Milk CompositionBeneficial
Large
Bacillus subtilis SNZ-1972Improved Rumen FermentationBeneficial
Moderate
Bacillus subtilis SNZ-1972Increased Ruminal Bacterial CountBeneficial
Moderate
Bacillus subtilis SNZ-1972Reduced Somatic Cell CountBeneficial
Moderate

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