Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version



Journal of Applied Microbiology 123, 1381–1395


© 2017 The Authors.

This is an open access article

doi: 10.1111/jam.13583


Aims: The effect of feeding dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) or reduced-fat DDGS (RFDG) on ruminal methanogenesis and the rumen bacterial community of dairy cattle was evaluated. Methods and Results: Treatments were CONT, a diet with no distillers grains; DG, inclusion of 20% DDGS; rfDG, inclusion of 20% RFDG; and MIX, inclusion of 10% DDGS and 10% RFDG. Methane emission was measured; rumen bacterial community was evaluated by sequencing the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene. Total methane production remained unaffected. However, feeding distillers grains tended to reduce methanogenesis per unit of feed intake, decreased the abundance of the phylum Bacteroidetes and tended to increase Firmicutes. The abundance of Prevotellaceae positively correlated with feed intake; methane emission was positively correlated with the abundance of Prevotellaceae and was negatively correlated with the abundance of Succinivibrionaceae. Conclusions: DDGS or RFDG may reduce methanogenesis per unit of feed intake; shifts in the abundance of predominant ruminal bacterial families may influence methane formation, likely because of their role on hydrogen liberation and utilization pathways. Significance and Impact of the Study: Replacing corn and soybean meal with DDGS or RFDG in dairy rations may reduce the proportion of dietary energy wasted as methane, without detrimental effects on the overall bacterial population.