AFST: Influence of quebracho tannin extract fed at differing rates within a high-roughage diet on the apparent digestibility of dry matter and fiber, nitrogen balance, and fecal gas flux Academic Article uri icon


  • Sustainable ruminant production is an important element in meeting the high-quality protein requirements of an increasing global population. Gaseous byproducts from ruminant production such as methane (CH) and nitrous oxide (NO) can reduce energy efficiency and be detrimental to the environment. Condensed tannins (CT) are interesting alternatives for improving animal and system-level efficiency due to their potential for improving nitrogen use efficiency and reducing enteric CH. In this study, a Latin rectangle design using four periods and 8 English crossbred steers (43517kg BW) were used to determine the effects of quebracho tannin (QT) extract. We evaluated how QT inclusion at 0, 15, 30, and 45g/kg of dietary dry matter (DM) within a roughage-based diet affected metabolic parameters and fecal gas emissions. Using metabolism crates, total collection of excreta occurred over 4 d followed by an enumeration of fecal gas fluxes via static chambers. The 45g/kg inclusion rate affected intake and increased fecal DM production (P0.01). Addition of QT affected all digestion coefficients (P<0.001) with a linear reduction as QT level increased. Reduced digestibility led to greater daily energy excretion with increasing QT inclusion (P<0.001), resulting in a linear reduction in daily digestible energy (DE), DE/kg DM intake, and DE-to-gross energy ratio. Greater daily fecal energy and N outputs were observed with increased QT (P<0.001), but no difference in concentrations. The feeding of QT resulted in a linear shift in the route of N excretion from urine to feces (P=0.005). For fecal gas flux, cumulative CO and NO decreased linearly with increased QT supplementation; by contrast, CH displayed a cubic relationship with the 30g/kg treatment having the least emissions. Total CO equivalents (COe; CH + NO) displayed a cubic relationship with emissions being largely driven by CH production (r=0.99, P<0.01). In contrast, gross COe (Total COe+CO) displayed a linear reduction in emissions as QT inclusion increased, with CO having the largest influence (r=0.99, P<0.01). Emission factors displayed a linear decrease in fecal N emitted as NO-N with increased QT inclusion (P<0.05). We concluded that feeding QT above 15g/kg DM could reduce fecal CO and NO emissions but also apparent digestibility and N balance. Determination of energy fractionation and urinary gas emissions are required to fully define the influence of CT upon system efficiency.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Norris, A. B., Tedeschi, L. O., Foster, J. L., Muir, J. P., Pinchak, W. E., & Fonseca, M. A.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Norris, AB||Tedeschi, LO||Foster, JL||Muir, JP||Pinchak, WE||Fonseca, MA

publication date

  • February 2020