Effect of Chitosan and Naringin on Enteric Methane Emissions in Crossbred Heifers Fed Tropical Grass

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Simple Summary

The increase in human population and the concomitant rise in demand for animal protein have contributed to augment enteric methane emissions. It is imperative to reduce methane, increase sustainable production, avoid the use of chemical compounds, and guarantee quality products for the consumer. Chitosan and naringin possess antimicrobial properties, and they have shown their capacity to reduce methane in in vitro trials. This study investigated their effects as feed additives given to improve ruminal fermentation and nutrient utilization and decrease methane in crossbred heifers fed tropical grass. In in vitro experiments, chitosan and naringin at three levels (0, 1.5, 3.0 g/kg) showed significant methane reductions when 1.5 g/kg of chitosan was included. The in situ study did not reveal changes in rumen degradability with the inclusion of the additives. However, in in vivo assays, chitosan and naringin at 1.5 or 3.0 g/kg dry matter intake or the combination of both compounds (1.5 and 1.5 g/kg) given directly into the rumen did not induce changes in rumen fermentation, methane production, or nutrient utilization. However, given the promising evidence from other studies, more research needs to be conducted to clarify the potential effects of chitosan and naringin in animal production.


In order to meet consumer needs, the livestock industry is increasingly seeking natural feed additives with the ability to improve the efficiency of nutrient utilization, alternatives to antibiotics, and mitigate methane emissions in ruminants. Chitosan (CHI) is a polysaccharide with antimicrobial capability against protozoa and Gram-positive and -negative bacteria, fungi, and yeasts while naringin (NA) is a flavonoid with antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. First, an in vitro gas production experiment was performed adding 0, 1.5, 3.0 g/kg of CHI and NA under a completely randomized design. The substrate containing forage and concentrate in a 70:30 ratio on a dry matter (DM) basis. Compounds increased the concentration of propionic acid, and a significant reduction in methane production was observed with the inclusion of CHI at 1.5 g/kg in in vitro experiments (p < 0.001). In a dry matter rumen degradability study for 96 h, there were no differences in potential and effective degradability. In the in vivo study, six crossbred heifers fitted with rumen cannulas were assigned to a 6 × 6 Latin square design according to the following treatments: control (CTL), no additive; chitosan (CHI1, 1.5 g/kg DMI); (CHI2, 3.0 g/kg DMI); naringin (NA1, 1.5 g/kg DMI); (NA2, 3.0 g/kg DMI) and a mixture of CHI and NA (1.5 + 1.5 g/kg DMI) given directly through the rumen cannula. Additives did not affect rumen fermentation (p > 0.05), DM intake and digestibility of (p > 0.05), and enteric methane emissions (p > 0.05). CHI at a concentration of 1.5 g/kg DM in in vitro experiments had a positive effect on fermentation pattern increasing propionate and reduced methane production. In contrast, in the in vivo studies, there was not a positive effect on rumen fermentation, nor in enteric methane production in crossbred heifers fed a basal ration of tropical grass.

Keywords: additive; flavonoid; chitin; antimicrobial action; greenhouse gases


Jiménez-Ocampo R, Montoya-Flores MD, Herrera-Torres E, Pámanes-Carrasco G, Arceo-Castillo JI, Valencia-Salazar SS, Arango J, Aguilar-Pérez CF, Ramírez-Avilés L, Solorio-Sánchez FJ, Piñeiro-Vázquez ÁT, Ku-Vera JC. 2021. Effect of Chitosan and Naringin on Enteric Methane Emissions in Crossbred Heifers Fed Tropical Grass. Animals 11(6):1599.