The study investigated the effects of probiotic treatment on nutrient content of rice straw and its impact on blood parameters and gut microbes of heifers. Eight Holstein crossbred heifers with initial average body weight (BW) of 180.25±21 kg were used in this study. The experimental period lasted for 33 days of feeding, of which 5 days were adjustment period. The treatments included feeding of untreated rice straw (Control) and probiotic treated rice straw. In each treatment, four animals were randomly assigned. Feed were offered twice daily and ensured ad libitum water supply. Probiotic treatment improved crude protein (CP) level from 4.35 to 6.37%. Crude fiber content (acid detergent fiber, ADF) was decreased from 64.83 to 61.30% after treatment of straw using probiotic. Blood glucose, albumin and high density lipoprotein (HDL) level were significantly (P<0.05) increased from 65.62 to 125.08 mg/dl; 3.70 to 4.18 g/dl, and 106.28 to 165.28 mg/dl, respectively in probiotic treated straw fed animals. Low density lipoprotein (LDL) level was significantly (P<0.05) decreased from 8.77 to 0.79 mg/dl and 247.6 to 162.2 mg/dl in probiotic treated rice straw fed animals which are worthy for animal health. Probiotic treated group had a normal range of microbial community in the intestine. In conclusion, probiotic treated straw improves nutrient content of rice straw and maintains normal blood parameters and microbial gut flora of heifers.
Key words: Probiotic, rice straw, crude fiber, crude protein, acid detergent fiber, blood parameters, fecal microbiota.
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