Degradation of starch in feed concentrates by enzymes, rumen fluid and rumen enzymes


  • John W Cone

    1. Department of Large Animal Medicine and Nutrition, Veterinary Faculty, State University Utrecht, Yalelaan 16, NL-3584 CM Utrecht, The Netherlands
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The degradation of starch from various feedstuffs was investigated with rumen fluid, α-amylase, pancreatin and a freeze-dried, cell-free preparation of rumen fluid. Rumen fluid was taken from either a hay-fed cow or a concentrate-fed cow. It was shown that incubations with rumen fluid at a constant pH of 6·5 gave a higher degradation of starch than those with a decreasing pH. The degree of starch degradation varied widely for the 21 feedstuffs investigated. Sorghum, maize and millet degraded slowly whereas tapioca showed fast degradation. Processed feedstuffs showed a higher level of degradation than unprocessed ones. The use of enzymes did not allow an accurate prediction of starch degradation by rumen fluid. However, this was made possible by the use of a freeze-dried, cell-free preparation of rumen fluid. Scanning electron microscopic observations showed that for the degradation of starch granules additional enzymes, present in rumen fluid, are necessary.