Effect of Tea Saponins on Rumen Microbiota and Rumen Function in Qinchuan Beef Cattle

Xiaopeng Qu, Sayed Haidar Abbas Raza, Yanqing Zhao, Jiahan Deng, Jing Ma, Juze Wang, Nada Alkhorayef, Samia S. Alkhalil, Sameer D. Pant, Hongtao Lei, Linsen Zan

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Antibiotics can promote livestock growth but have side effects, so the search for safe and effective alternatives to antibiotics is urgent. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of supplementing cattle feed with tea saponins on ruminal bacteria and fungi. Sixteen Qinchuan beef cattle with a live body weight of 250 ± 10 kg were divided into four groups (four animals in each group) using a completely randomized experimental design. Four different levels of tea saponins were provided to the Qinchuan cattle as treatments, including 0 g/cattle per day control, CON), 10 g/cattle per day (low-level, LT), 20 g/cattle per day (medium-level, MT) and 30 g/cattle per day (high-level, HT). The pre-feeding period was 10 days and the official period was 80 days in this experiment. After 90 days of feeding, the rumen fluid from sixteen Qinchuan beef cattle was collected using an oral stomach tube for evaluating changes in ruminal microbiota and rumen fermentation parameters. Results indicate that the total VFAs and proportions of propionate in the LT group was significantly higher than that in the CON and HT groups ( p < 0.05). For ruminal bacteria, results indicate that the Chao1 index of the MT group was significantly lower than the CON and HT groups ( p < 0.05). The phyla Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes were found to be the most abundant in all treatment groups, with the LT group having significantly increased relative abundances of Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria and Ascomycota at the phylum level ( p < 0.05). The relative abundance of Bacteroides was found to be relatively lower in the LT, MT and HT treatment groups compared with the CON treatment group at the genus level ( p < 0.05). For ruminal fungi, the LT treatment group was found to have higher relative abundances of Saccharomyces and Aspergillus, and lower relative abundances of Succiniclasticum and Bacteroides at the at the phylum level ( p < 0.05). Compared with the CON treatment group, a significant increase in the relative abundance of Saccharomyces and Aspergillus were observed in the LT treatment group at the genus level ( p < 0.05). PICRUSt analyses identified pathways associated with Xenobiotic biodegradation and metabolism and glycolysisIII to be significantly enriched in the LT and HT treatment groups ( p < 0.05). These findings could provide insights on how tea saponins may influence ruminal bacteria and fungi, providing a theoretical basis for replacing antibiotics with tea saponins for promoting growth in cattle.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 02 Feb 2023


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