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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Range and Livestock Research

Title: Comparison of different supplemental cobalt forms on digestion and cobalamin levels

item Kelly, Whisper
item Larson, C
item Petersen, Mark
item Waterman, Richard

Submitted to: Western Section of Animal Science Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2012
Publication Date: 7/15/2012
Citation: Kelly, W.L., Larson, C.K., Petersen, M.K., Waterman, R.C. 2012. Comparison of different supplemental cobalt forms on digestion and cobalamin levels. Western Section of Animal Science Proceedings 63:169-273.

Interpretive Summary: Cobalt (Co), an essential trace element, has long been recognized to have several important functions in the ruminant. Dietary Co is the limiting factor for ruminal microorganism syntheses of vitamin B12. The source in which Co is fed may be of importance to both vitamin B12 production and the various roles Co is responsible for in the ruminant animal. The research indicates an increased extent of fiber digestion in later incubation hours. Very few studies have increased disappearance with any supplementation this late in the fermentation process thus Co may be a valuable resource for maximize forage fermentation.

Technical Abstract: Cobalt (Co) is essential for rumen microbial metabolism to synthesize methane, acetate and methionine. It also serves as a structural component of vitamin B12, which functions as a coenzyme in energy metabolism. A study was conducted to determine if Co form (cobalt carbonate vs cobalt glucoheptonate) supplemented above NRC requirements would improve fermentability of a low quality forage diet and change serum cobalamin concentrations. Twenty ruminally-cannulated cows (577 ± 13 kg) were individually fed in a completely randomized experimental design. Cows were fed a grass hay diet (7.9% CP, 56% TDN, 63% NDF, 87% DM) at 2.25% of BW for a 62 d study, which consisted of 3 periods (acclimation (AC), treatment (TR), and residual (RE)). Cows were stratified by age (5 ± 0.37 yr) and lactational history, and assigned to receive 12.5 mg supplemental Co in 1 of 2 forms: (1) 27.2 mg of cobalt carbonate (CC, n =11 cows) or (2) 50 mg of cobalt glucoheptonate (CGH, n = 9 cows). Supplementation was administered daily via a gelatin capsule placed directly into the rumen 2 h after daily feeding. During the last 96 h of each period, forage fermentability was measured using an in situ nylon bag technique. Serum samples were collected 4 and 6 h following feeding, 24 h before the end of each period. Measurements taken in the AC period were used as covariates for analysis in the TR and RE periods. A treatment × period interaction (P = 0.03) was exhibited for in situ OM fermentability at 96 h; (TR period, 68.44 and 70.83 ± 0.81 %, and RE period, 67.61 and 66.82 ± 0.75 %, for CC and CGH; respectively). Once inclusion of Co in the CGH group was removed, fermentability was reduced by 4.01 % compared to 0.82 % in the CC cows. The NDF disappearance (OM basis) was lower for the TR period compared to the RE period at 48 h (P < 0.001; 62.95 and 65.18 ± 0.39 %; respectively). However, by 96 h the NDF disappearance was higher for TR period than the RE period (P = 0.02; 70.44 and 68.89 ± 0.44 %; respectively). No differences were detected for cobalamin serum levels or rate of fiber fermentation. The outcomes of this research signify that while there are no residual effects of Co supplementation on fermentation, there is an indication that Co glucoheptonate supplementation does enhance the overall extent of fermentation. The extent of fiber disappearance is also improved with Co supplementation regardless of form.

Last Modified: 06/22/2017
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