Pomegranate seed oil rich in conjugated linolenic acids reduces in vitro methane production
The objective of this study was to determine the effect of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) seed oil (PSO) on gas and methane (CH4) production, ruminal fermentation and microbial populations under in vitro conditions. Three treatments consisting of a control diet containing 10 mg tallow (CON); the control diet with 5 mg PSO + 5 mg tallow (MPSO) and the control diet containing 10 mg PSO (HPSO) were compared. Ten mg of the experimental fat/oil samples were inserted into a gas-tight 100 mL plastic syringe containing 30 mL of an incubation inoculum and 250 mg of a basic substrate of a hay/concentrate (1/1, w/w) mixture. In vitro gas production was recorded over 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 24 h of incubation. After 24 hours, incubation was stopped, and methane production, pH, volatile fatty acids (VFAs) and microbial counts were measured in the inoculant. Gas production at 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 24 h incubation, metabolizable energy and in vitro organic matter disappearance increased linearly and quadratically as level of PSO increased. Furthermore, the 10 mg PSO (HPSO) decreased CH4 production by 21.0% compared with the control (CON) group. There were no significant differences in total and individual VFA concentrations between different levels of PSO, except for butyric acid. After 24 h of incubation, methanogenesis decreased in the HPSO compared with the MPSO and CON treatments. In addition, total bacteria and protozoa counts increased with rising PSO levels, while population methanogenesis declined significantly. These results suggested that PSO could reduce methane emissions, which might be beneficial to nutrient utilization and growth in ruminants.