Metabolic studies reveal that ruminal microbes of adult steers do not degrade rumen-protected or unprotected L-citrulline. Academic Article uri icon


  • In vitro and in vivo experiments were conducted to determine the metabolism of rumen-protected or unprotected l-citrulline (Cit) plus l-glutamine (Gln) by ruminal microbes. In the in vitro experiment, whole ruminal fluid (3 mL, containing microorganisms) from steers was incubated at 37 C with 5 mM Cit plus 6 mM Gln (in a rumen-protected or unprotected form) for 0, 0.5, 2, or 4 h after which times 50 L samples were collected for AA and ammonia analyses. In the in vivo experiment, at 0.5 h before and 0, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, and 6 h after cannulated adult steers consumed 0.56 kg dried-distillers' grain mixed with 70 g Cit plus 70 g Gln (in a rumen-protected or unprotected form), samples of ruminal fluid and jugular venous blood were obtained for AA analyses. Results from both in vitro and in vivo experiments demonstrated extensive hydrolysis of rumen-unprotected Gln into glutamate, but little degradation of the rumen-protected Gln or rumen-protected and unprotected Cit by ruminal microbes. Concentrations of Cit and arginine in the plasma of steers consuming rumen-protected or unprotected AA increased at 1 and 2 h after the meal, respectively, when compared with values at 0 h. Collectively, these novel findings indicate that ruminal microbes of adult steers do not degrade extracellular Cit in a rumen-protected or unprotected form. Our results refute the view that all dietary AAs are extensively catabolized by ruminal microorganisms and also have important implications for dietary supplementation with Cit to ruminants to enhance the concentration of arginine in their plasma and their productivity.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Gilbreath, K. R., Nawaratna, G. I., Wickersham, T. A., Satterfield, M. C., Bazer, F. W., & Wu, G.

citation count

  • 10

complete list of authors

  • Gilbreath, Kyler R||Nawaratna, Gayan I||Wickersham, Tryon A||Satterfield, M Carey||Bazer, Fuller W||Wu, Guoyao

publication date

  • January 2020