Effect of flaking on the digestibility of corn in ruminants
Received: Apr 30, 2021; Revised: Jun 24, 2021; Accepted: Jul 14, 2021
Published Online: Jul 26, 2021
In this study, we aimed to assess the effect of flaking on the nutrient digestibility of corn grain in ruminants. In this regard, <italic>in vitro</italic> rumen fermentation, <italic>in situ</italic> rumen degradability, and <italic>in vivo</italic> metabolic experiments were performed. The automated gas production technique was used for the <italic>in vitro</italic> fermentation experiments. Six types of corn flakes with various degrees of gelatinization (32%, 41%, 48%, 66%, 86%, and 89%) were ground and incubated in rumen fluid to measure rumen fermentation characteristics and digestion rate. The <italic>in situ</italic> degradability of ground corn, whole corn, and corn flakes with 62% and 66% gelatinization was measured by incubation in the rumen of two cannulated Holstein cows. <italic>In vivo</italic> metabolic experiments were performed using 12 crossbred goats (29.8 kg ± 4.37) using a 3 × 3 Latin square design. The dietary treatments consisted of ground corn and flaked corn with 48% or 62% gelatinization. <italic>In vitro</italic> experiments showed that as the degree of gelatinization increased, the digestion rate increased linearly, while the discrete lag time decreased linearly (<italic>p</italic> < 0.05). The effective rumen dry matter degradability, determined by<italic> in situ</italic> fermentation, was 37%p lower in corn flakes than ground corn, assuming a passage rate of 6%/h (<italic>p</italic> < 0.01), and there was no difference between the two flakes. In the <italic>in vivo</italic> experiment, there was no difference in dry matter intake, average daily gain, feed efficiency, and nitrogen utilization among the treatment groups (<italic>p</italic> > 0.05); however, the crude fat digestibility was lower for corn flakes than for ground corn (<italic>p</italic> < 0.05). To summarize, the rate of fermentation of corn flakes increased as the degree of gelatinization increased. However, non-ground corn flakes had lower rumen digestibility and did not improve<italic> in vivo</italic> apparent nutrient digestibility, compared with ground corn. In contrast to the assumption that flaked corn provides more energy to ruminant animals than ground corn, we conclude that the digestibility and energy value of corn flakes are lower than those of ground corn if mastication does not sufficiently reduce the particle size of corn flakes.