The main objective of the project is to investigate the nutritive value of fungal treated high fibrous materials for ruminants. This project is part of the research programme ‘Food for thought, thought for food: More meat and milk from straw’ and lead by dr. John Cone (Animal Nutrition Group, Wageningen University) and dr. Anton Sonnenberg (Laboratory of Plant Breeding, Wageningen University).
Now and in the future, an increasing number of animal feed ingredients will compete with foods for human beings and the bio-fuels production. As such, future animal production will ideally be positioned to utilise unused and waste organic materials. The main limiting factor for the use of these wastes as feedstuffs is the high content of lignin, preventing the valuable carbohydrates (hemicellulose and cellulose) to be utilized as an energy source in the rumen of animals ruminants.
Lignin, a structural component of the plant cell wall, provides stiffness to the plant and cannot be broken down under anaerobic conditions, such as in the rumen. Fungi are the only organisms capable of degrading the complex lignin structures in plants. A pre-treatment of high lignin materials with white rot fungi will result in a higher feed value and increased synthesis of volatile fatty acids in the rumen.
The project will investigate the feeding value, palatability and acceptability of high lignin-containing products treated with fungi (and ensiled) when included in a TMR (Total Mixed Rations) by dairy goats. In addition, studies are planned to determine the effects of inclusion of treated products on rumen metabolism as well as effects on milk yield and composition (fat, protein, and lactose). Changing animal feeding from traditionally grown field crops to the feeding of upgraded waste products will significantly contribute to a more sustainable agriculture, livestock husbandry and human food supply chain.Eli Ratni started her PhD project in September 2014. She obtained her BSc and MSc degrees in Animal Nutrition at the Andalas University, Sumatra-Indonesia. She is married and came to the Netherlands with her husband and daughter (2 years old). Currently she is a staff member of the Animal Science Faculty of the Andalas University, West Sumatra-Indonesia. The Directorate General of Higher Education in Indonesia (DIKTI) has awarded her PhD Scholarship.