Feed Clusters According to In Situ and In Vitro Ruminal Crude Protein Degradation
Effective degradation (ED) of crude protein (CP) was estimated in vitro at 0.02, 0.05 and 0.08 h-1 assumed ruminal passage rates for a total of 40 feedstuffs, for which in situ ED was available and used as reference degradation values. For this, the Streptomyces griseus protease test was used. The differences between in vitro CP degradation and the in situ CP degradation values were lowest in legume grains and highest in cereal by-products and barley. The differences between in situ and in vitro ED were expressed using a degradation quotient (degQ), where degQ = (EDin vitro - EDin situ)/EDin situ. Among the tested feedstuffs, eight specific clusters were identified according to degQ for the assumed passage rates. The feedstuffs clustered in an unspecific way, i.e., feedstuffs of different nutrient composition, origin or treatment did not necessarily group together. Formaldehyde-treated rapeseed meal, soybean meal, wheat, a treated lupin, sunflower meal and barley could not be assigned to any of the clusters. Groupwise degradation (range of degQ for assumed passage rates are given in brackets) was detected in grass silages (-0.17, -0.11), cereal by-products together with sugar beet pulp (-0.47, -0.35) and partly in legume grains (-0.14, 0.14). The clustering probably based on different specific nutrient composition and matrix effects that influence the solubility of feed protein and limit the performance of the protease. The matrix can be affected by treatment (chemically, thermally or mechanically), changing the chemical and physical structure of the protein within the plant. The S. griseus protease test had reliable sensitivity to reflect differences between native feedstuffs and treatments (thermally or chemically) that were found in situ.