An in vitro gas production study was conducted to evaluate the potential of six browse species (high, medium and low condensed tannin concentrations) collected from the Kalahari Desert as antimethanogenic additives to an Eragrostis trichopophora-based substrate. The browse species studied were Acacia luederitzii, Monechma incanum, Acacia erioloba, Acacia haematoxylon, Olea europaea and Acacia mellifera. The edible forage dry matter of the browse species were incubated with Eragrostis trichopophora in a 30?:?70 (w/w) ratio by adding 40 mL of a buffered rumen fluid at 39°C for 48 h. Gas and methane production at different time intervals after incubation were determined whereas the volatile fatty acids concentration was evaluated after 48 h. Acacia luederitzii and M. incanum foliage decreased methane production by more than 50%, but simultaneously decreased digestibility, and rumen fermentation parameters such as volatile fatty acids concentration. Tannin extracts from A. luederitzii could possibly be used as a dietary alternative to reduce methane production; however, there is a need to determine an optimum level of inclusion that may not compromise the efficiency of rumen fermentation and overall digestibility of the diet.
The research leading to these results has been conducted as part of the AnimalChange Project.