Effect of lactic acid bacteria‐treated King grass silage on the performance traits and serum metabolites in New Zealand white rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

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Worldwide limited land resources have resulted in competition between people and livestock for high‐quality grains and protein supplements. Therefore, efforts have been made towards improving conventional food sources (Abo et al., 2014; Santoso, Hariadia, Manik, & Abubakar, 2011). The LAB produce lactic acid through carbohydrate fermentation. The LAB also play an important role in food technology and the preservation of silage. Isolating wild‐type strains from conventional products is a classical method to obtain starter cultures for food fermentations (Abdelbasset & Djamila, 2008). Using selective wild‐type strains, the large‐scale production of fermented foods can be developed without losing their unique flavour and characteristics (Ammor, Tauveron, Dufour, & Chevallier, 2006).
Many healthy bacteria live in the intestines. Their presence protects the body against “bad” disease‐causing bacteria. For example, when Lactobacillus breaks down food in the gut, several substances (e.g., lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide) are formed creating an unfriendly environment for the unwanted bacteria (Abdel‐Azeem, Hashem, Badawi, & Farid, 2009; El‐Katcha, Ismail, Soltan, & El‐Naggar, 2011). Many studies have shown that direct‐fed lactobacillus preparations play an important role in balancing gut microflora, consequently, provide protection against infections, stimulate immune system, improve performance traits of the animals (Koninkx & Malago, 2008; Wang et al., 2012). Several studies have established that some Lactobacillus strains can improve the antioxidant enzyme levels in the blood serum of rats and humans (Kullisaar et al., 2003; Wang et al., 2012). Pediococcus acidilactici is a probiotic bacteria that produce positive effect on animal production through balancing the intestinal bacteria in the positive direction (Alloui, Chafai, & Alloui, 2012). Lactobacillus planetarium inoculant has been reported to be effective to improve the aerobic stability and fermentation characteristics of pea/wheat bi‐crop silage (Adesogan & Salawu, 2002).
Both L. plantarum and P. acidilactici strains protect cells and tissues from oxidative damage induced by free radicals (Castex, Lemaire, Wabete, & Chim, 2010; Chiu, Guu, Liu, Pan, & Cheng, 2007). L. plantarum and Enterococcus faecium‐treated silage improved Ca and P in dairy cows (Jatkauskas and Vrotniakienė (2007). Simonová et al. (2009) observed increased Ca level in LAB‐treated rabbits. This study examined the effects of treating King grass silage for New Zealand white (NZW) rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) with L. plantarum and P. acidilactici on growth performance; nutrient digestibility; and serum antioxidant enzymes, and macro‐ and micromineral levels.
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