Effect of enzyme preparations on in situ and in vitro degradation and in vivo digestive characteristics of mature cool-season grass forage in beef steers

J Anim Sci. 1996 Jun;74(6):1349-57. doi: 10.2527/1996.7461349x.


In situ and in vitro studies with a 3 x 2 x 5 factorial arrangement of treatments with an added untreated control evaluated three enzyme preparations, two levels of enzyme, and five moisture conditions of grass forage. Enzyme preparations predominantly contained cellulase and xylanase and will be designated as enzyme 1 (E1), enzyme 2 (E2), and a 50:50 combination of E1 and E2 (E1E2). The five moisture conditions included fresh, wilted, dried and rehydrated to fresh, dried and rehydrated to wilt, and dried grass. Addition of the high level of E1E2 to dried grass improved (P < .05) in vitro DM (43.5 vs 38.7%) and NDF (31.1 vs 26.0%) disappearance (48 h incubation) compared with the control treatment. Also, IVDMD was greater (P < .05) for the low level of E1 applied to wilted grass compared with the control. No other enzyme application improved in situ or in vitro disappearance of substrate over the control. In vivo responses of enzyme treatments found most likely to be effective from degradability studies were measured using four ruminally cannulated steers in a 4 x 4 Latin square experiment. Treatments examined were E1 applied to fresh forage, then dried; E1 applied to wilted forage, then dried; E1E2 applied to dry forage immediately before feeding (E-dry), and untreated forage (control). All forage treatments were harvested as dry hay. Total diet and hay DM intakes were greater (P < .05) for the E-dry than for the control diet. Rate of in situ NDF disappearance and total tract DM and NDF digestibility were greater (P < .05) for the E-dry than for the other treatments. Ruminal fluid ammonia N concentration, total VFA concentration, and pH were not altered (P > .10) by dietary treatment. Ruminal particulate passage rate was greater (P < .05) and ruminal retention time was shorter (P < .05) for the E-dry than for the control treatment. Data from this study suggest that addition of fibrolytic enzymes to grass hay before feeding has the potential to enhance intake and digestion.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animal Feed / standards*
  • Animals
  • Cattle / metabolism*
  • Cattle / physiology*
  • Cellulase / pharmacology*
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Digestion / physiology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Poaceae*
  • Random Allocation
  • Rumen / metabolism
  • Rumen / physiology
  • Seasons
  • Xylan Endo-1,3-beta-Xylosidase
  • Xylosidases / pharmacology*


  • Xylosidases
  • Xylan Endo-1,3-beta-Xylosidase
  • Cellulase