Rumen protected methionine has been used in an effort to improve the amino acid composition of metabolisable protein since the early 1960’s. The positive response in dairy cows in terms of milk protein composition and milk production, especially during early lactation has been well documented. Rumen protected methionine supplementation contributes to improving the protein efficiency of the dairy cow which improves the overall productivity of the dairy enterprise. Recently a locally developed liquid rumen protected methionine prototype became available. In our study this product was evaluated through a series of experiments in conjunction with two standard, well known methionnine sources, Smartamine ™ M and unprotected DL-methionine that provided a reference to the relative bioavailability of the liquid rumen protected methionine. In the first of the two studies the effect of methionine supplementation on milk yield, milk composition as well as milk protein composition was evaluated through the milk composition technique. The ability of the liquid rumen protected methionine to elevate blood plasma methionine levels was also evaluated through the blood plasma technique after oral dosing and post ruminal infusion of methionine. The liquid rumen protected methionine prototype induced no response in either milk yield or milk composition. Results suggested that the prototype is either not adequately protected against rumen degradation or it is not available for absorption in the small intestine. The inability of the liquid rumen protected methionine prototype to elevate blood plasma methionine after post ruminal infusion further proved that the product is not available for absorption at this site either. In the event that the product’s mode of action or method of protection caused it not to be detected as pure methionine in the blood, an effect on milk yield would have been expected which was not the case. This product proved to have a very low or no bioavailability in comparison to the well researched and proven Smartamine ™ M.
Dissertation (MSc(Agric))--University of Pretoria, 2013.