The end-products of dietary carbohydrate fermentation catalysed by rumen microflora can serve as the primary source of energy for ruminants. However, ruminants provided with continuous carbohydrate-containing feed can develop a metabolic disorder called “acidosis”. We have evaluated the fermentation pattern of both soluble monomeric and non-soluble polymeric carbohydrates in the rumen in in vitro fermentation trials. We found that acidosis could occur within 6 h of incubation in the rumen culture fermenting sugars and starch. The formation of lactic acid and acetic acid, either alone or in mixture with ethanol, accounted for high build-up of acid in the rumen. Acidosis resulted even when only 20% of a normal daily feed load for all soluble and non-soluble carbohydrates was provided. DNA-based microbial analysis revealed that Prevotella was the dominant microbial species present in the rumen fluid.
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