Magnesium absorption as influenced by the rumen passage kinetics in lactating dairy cows fed modified levels of fibre and protein

Oberson, J.-L.; Probst, Stefan; Schlegel, P. (2019). Magnesium absorption as influenced by the rumen passage kinetics in lactating dairy cows fed modified levels of fibre and protein animal, 13(7), pp. 1412-1420. Cambridge University Press 10.1017/S1751731118002963

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The potassium sensitive magnesium absorption through the rumen wall may be influenced by additional dietary properties, such as diet type, forage type or forage to concentrate ratio. These properties are likely associated to rumen passage kinetics modified by dietary fibre content. The study aimed to assess the effects of rumen passage kinetics on apparent Mg absorption and retention in lactating dairy cows fed modified levels of fibre. Six lactating Red-Holstein and Holstein cows, including four fitted with ruminal cannulas were randomly assigned to a 3 × 3 cross-over design. The experimental diets consisted of early harvested low NDF (341 g NDF/kg DM) and late harvested high NDF (572 g NDF/kg DM) grass silage (80% DM) and of concentrates (20% of DM). As the low-fibre diet was excessive in protein, a third high-fibre diet was formulated to be balanced in digestible protein with the low-fibre diet to avoid any eventual confounding effects of NDF and protein excess. All diets were formulated to contain iso-Ca, -P, -Mg, -K and -Na. Passage kinetics of solid and liquid phase of rumen digesta were evaluated using ruminal marker disappearance profiles. Cows fed the low-fibre diet had compared to the other diets, an up to 40% lower solid and 26% lower liquid phase volume of rumen digesta and a 10% numerically higher fractional rumen liquid passage rate. Rumen pH lost 0.6 units and Mg concentration in the rumen liquid phase tripled when cows were fed the low-fibre diet. Faecal Mg excretion was up to 14% higher in cows fed the low-fibre diet and Mg absorbability was 12% compared to up to 19% in other diets. Urinary Mg excretion in cows fed the low-fibre diet was half of the ones in the other treatments, but Mg retention was not affected. Dietary protein excess neither affected rumen passage kinetics nor Mg absorption and retention. Absorption of Mg was correlated with rumen liquid volume which both decreased with decreasing daily NDF intake (NDFi, 11.8 ± 2.4 l/kg NDFi). Consequently, daily Mg absorption decreased by 1.32 ± 0.28 g/kg decreasing NDFi. To conclude, in addition to the known antagonistic effect of dietary K, the present data indicate that Mg absorption was dependent from NDFi which modified rumen liquid volume, but was independent of dietary protein excess likely associated to low NDF herbages.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL > Resource-efficient agricultural production systems
School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences HAFL > Agriculture


Oberson, J.-L.;
Probst, Stefan0000-0003-4703-8789 and
Schlegel, P.


S Agriculture > SF Animal culture




Cambridge University Press


David Zimmer

Date Deposited:

25 Sep 2019 09:15

Last Modified:

18 Dec 2020 13:28

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

mineral, herbage, rumen volume, rumen passage rate, NDF




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