Journal of animal physiology and animal nutrition | 2019
Effects of over-load iron on nutrient digestibility, haemato-biochemistry, rumen fermentation and bacterial communities in sheep.
There is a risk of iron overload in grazing livestock. However, the effects on nutrient absorption and rumen function induced by excessive iron have not been well understood. Therefore, the purpose of present study was to investigate the impact of over-load iron on growth performance, nutrient digestibility, blood biochemistry, rumen fermentation and bacterial communities in sheep. Twenty-four German Mutton Merino cross-bred sheep with weight (42.66\xa0±\xa02.34\xa0kg\xa0BW) were randomly divided into 4 groups, each with 6 replicates and 1 sheep per replicate. The basal diet consisted of 60% Leymus chinensis hay and 40% concentrate. The sheep in 4 groups were fed the basal diets supplemented with 50 (Control), 500 (T1), 1,000 (T2) and 1,500 (T3) mg Fe/kg as ferrous sulphate monohydrate (FeSO4 ·H2 O) respectively. And the actual contents of iron in the diet were determined to be 457.68 (control), 816.42 (T1), 1,256.78 (T2) and 1,725.63 (T3) mg/kg respectively. The experiment lasted 62\xa0days including a 7-day metabolism trial. During the whole experiment, the digestibility of dry matter, organic matter, neutral detergent fibre and acid detergent fibre showed a quadratic increase with increasing over-load iron levels (p\xa0<\xa0.05), and maximum responses were found with 500\xa0mg/kg supplementation. However, the response of total VFA concentration showed a quadratic decrease, as did the concentrations of propionate, butyrate and valerate (p\xa0<\xa0.05). Serum total iron-binding capacity on day 30 showed a quadratic decrease with the increase in high-dose iron, while the serum iron content increased linearly at day 60 (p\xa0<\xa0.05). Excessive iron resulted in the change in bacterial communities. An increase in over-load iron linearly decreased the abundance of bacteria in the phylum Bacteroidetes (p\xa0<\xa0.05), but linearly increased the Firmicutes (p\xa0=\xa0.037) and Proteobacteria (p\xa0=\xa0.018). In addition, there was a quadratic effect (p\xa0=\xa0.003) on the Fibrobacteres, which was higher in the 500 and 1,000\xa0mg/kg Fe-supplemented groups. At the genus level, there were quadratic effects on the abundances of Selenomonas_1 (p\xa0=\xa0.023) and Ruminococcaceae_UCG-014 (p\xa0=\xa0.016). Furthermore, feeding of iron linearly increased the relative abundances of Succiniclasticum and Succinivibrionaceae_UCG-002 (p\xa0<\xa0.05). These results indicate that increasing ferrous sulphate monohydrate in diets had no negative impact on the growth performance, but it changed nutrient digestibility, blood iron parameters, rumen fermentation and bacterial communities in sheep.