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  • 1 Department of Animal Hygiene, Herd Health and Veterinary Ethology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Szent István University H-1078 Budapest, István u. 2, Hungary
  • 2 Department of Animal Hygiene, Herd Health and Veterinary Ethology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Szent István University H-1078 Budapest, István u. 2, Hungary
  • 3 Department of Animal Hygiene, Herd Health and Veterinary Ethology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Szent István University H-1078 Budapest, István u. 2, Hungary
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Non-starch polysaccharides (NSPs) form an integral part of the cell walls in plants and represent considerable available energy when degraded into absorbable mono-, di-, tri- and oligosaccharides. The ruminal microflora hydrolyses a good part of NSPs, however, recently there have been attempts to enhance the rate of utilisation by using external polysaccharidase enzymes. In the present study the effects of an enzyme preparation (Rumino-Zyme) high in xylanase activity were studied on ruminal volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentration, parameters of energy and protein metabolism, milk yield, feed conversion ratio (FCR) and body condition score of high-yielding dairy cows. A lignolytic enzyme preparation produced by the thermophilic fungus Thermomyces lanuginosus was applied in the present experiment and fed to dairy cows at 34 g/day dosage in the period between calving and the 110th day of lactation. This preparation increased VFA concentration in the rumen from about 32 days after calving and onward. Increased VFA concentration was followed by an about 5 to 10% increase in milk production and an almost 0.1% increase in butterfat production. Increased VFA concentration produced more balanced energy metabolism in the experimental cows as indicated by the lower incidence rate of hyperketonaemia, and lower acetoacetic acid and non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) concentration in the blood of the experimental cows. Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activity was tendentiously higher in the control group and the proportion of cows that had AST activity higher than 100U/l was also higher in the control group. Both control and experimental cows showed balanced protein and acid-base metabolism throughout the experiment. Enhanced VFA concentration contributed to an improvement in energy balance in the experimental cows with a resultant improvement of feed intake and feed utilisation. Due to the more balanced energy metabolism postparturient body condition loss of the treated cows was reduced.

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