Effects of bismuth subsalicylate and dietary sulfur level on fermentation by ruminal microbes in continuous culture

S. W. Fessenden, A. J. Carpenter, M. Ruiz-Moreno, T. C. Jenkins, M. D. Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In ruminants, excess dietary sulfur can be associated with a reduction in DM intake, poor feedlot performance and sulfur-associated polioencephalomalacia. Bismuth subsalicylate (BSS) has been shown to decrease hydrogen sulfide in vitro. The objective of this experiment was to evaluate effects of BSS inclusion (0 or 0.5% of diet DM) and dietary sulfur (0.21 or 0.42% of diet DM) on microbial fermentation in continuous culture. Treatments were arranged in a 2 × 2 factorial design. Eight dual-flow continuous culture fermenters were used during 2 consecutive 10-d periods consisting of 7 d for stabilization followed by 3 d of sampling. A pelleted feedlot diet containing 39% dry rolled corn, 32% earlage, 21% wet distillers grains, 3.2% corn silage, 1.5% soybean meal, 0.6% urea and 2.7% mineral premix (DM basis) was provided as substrate for microbes at a rate of 75 g of DM × fermenter-1 × d-1. Effluents from sampling days were composited by fermenter within period, resulting in 4 replicates/ treatment. Bismuth subsalicylate inclusion decreased (P < 0.01) true OM digestion, while no effects were observed for NDF and ADF digestion. Total VFA concentrations, molar proportions of acetic, propionic, and branched-chained VFA decreased (P < 0.01) with BSS addition. The ratio of acetic to propionic acid and the molar proportion of butyric acid increased (P < 0.01) with BSS addition. In regard to nitrogen metabolism, BSS increased NH3-N concentration, NH3-N and dietary-N flows (P < 0.01), and decreased non-NH3-N flow, microbial-N flow, CP degradation, and efficiency of microbial protein synthesis (P < 0.01). Inclusion of BSS increased mean, minimum, and maximum fermentation pH (P < 0.01). Amount of dietary sulfur and BSS inclusion influenced flows of amino acids and fatty acids from fermenters. Influences on fatty acid biohydrogenation and amino acid flows demonstrated an overall suppression of microbial fermentation. Results from this experiment indicate that BSS inclusion at 0.5% of diet DM has detrimental effects on in vitro rumen fermentation in continuous culture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-569
Number of pages11
JournalTranslational Animal Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Society of Animal Science.


  • Bismuth subsalicylate
  • Continuous culture
  • Fermentation
  • Rumen


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