The Impact of Perennial Ryegrass Variety Throughout the Growing Season on in vitro Rumen Methane Output

  • P. J. Purcell
  • M. O’ Brien
  • T. M. Boland
  • M. McEvoy
  • P. O’Kiely
Conference paper


The selection and feeding of perennial ryegrass varieties may affect enteric methane (CH4) output due to changes in rumen fermentation dynamics as a result of differences in herbage chemical composition. Thus, the objective of this study was to determine the effects of perennial ryegrass variety (PRV) harvested throughout the growing season on herbage chemical composition and on in vitro rumen fermentation variables and CH4 output. Seven PRV (Alto, Arrow, Bealey, Dunluce, Greengold, Malone, Tyrella), managed under a simulated grazing regime, were incubated in a batch culture for 24 h with rumen fluid and buffer. PRV had no effect (P > 0.05; SEM 0.41) on CH4 output per gram of DM incubated (CH4i; mean values for Alto, Arrow, Bealey, Dunluce, Greengold, Malone, Tyrella were 23.9, 24.0, 24.7, 25.3, 25.2, 24.2 and 24.7 (SEM 0.41) ml CH4 g−1 DM incubated, respectively). Although PRV had an effect (P < 0.001; SEM 1.3) on total gas production per gram of DM incubated, the scale of the effect was small (range of mean values among PRV was 148–160 ml), and PRV had no effect (P > 0.05) on apparent DM disappearance during the in vitro rumen incubation. Thus, the lack of an effect of PRV on CH4i reflected the small scale or lack of effects on herbage composition and in vitro rumen fermentation variables. Hence, these results provide no encouragement that choices among the PRV examined, produced within the management regimes operated, would reduce enteric methane production.


Volatile Fatty Acid Rumen Fluid Water Soluble Carbohydrate Rumen Fermentation Organic Matter Digestibility 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Funding for this study was provided by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (RSF No. 07 517). The authors thank Jim Grant, Séan Lynch, and Grange Laboratories staff.


  1. Ankom (2006a) Acid detergent fiber in feeds filter bag technique. Ankom Technology, Macedon, p 2Google Scholar
  2. Ankom (2006b) Neutral detergent fiber in feeds filter bag technique. Ankom Technology, Macedon, p 2Google Scholar
  3. AOAC (1990) Official methods of analysis: 1st supplement. J Assoc Offic Anal Chem 15:3–4Google Scholar
  4. Davies DA, Fothergill M, Jones D (1991) Assessment of contrasting perennial ryegrasses, with and without white clover, under continuous sheep stocking in the uplands. 3. Herbage production, quality and intake. Grass Forage Sci 46:39–49Google Scholar
  5. Dent JW, Aldrich DTA (1968) Systematic testing of quality in grass varieties. Grass Forage Sci 23:13–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Janssen PH (2010) Influence of hydrogen on rumen methane formation and fermentation balances through microbial growth kinetics and fermentation thermodynamics. Anim Feed Sci Technol 160:1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Jones DIH, ap Griffith G, Walkers RJK (1965) The effect of nitrogen fertilizers on the water-soluble carbohydrate content of grasses. J Agric Sci 64:323–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lovett DK, Bortolozzo A, Conaghan P, O’Kiely P, O’Mara FP (2004)In vitro total and methane gas production as influenced by rate of nitrogen application, season of harvest and perennial ryegrass cultivar. Grass Forage Sci 59:227–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. McDougall EI (1948) Studies on ruminant saliva I. The composition and output of sheep’s saliva. Biochem J 43:99–109Google Scholar
  10. Navarro-Villa A, O’Brien M, López S, Boland TM, O’Kiely P(2011) In vitro rumen methane output of red clover and perennial ryegrass assayed using the gas production technique (GPT). Anim Feed Sci Technol 168:152–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Nowakowski TZ (1962) Effects of nitrogen fertilizers on total nitrogen, soluble nitrogen and soluble carbohydrate contents of grass. J Agric Sci 59:387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Purcell PJ, O’Brien M, Boland TM, O’Donovan M, O’Kiely P (2011a) Impacts of herbage mass and sward allowance of perennial ryegrass sampled throughout the growing season on in vitro rumen methane production. Anim Feed Sci Technol 166–167:405–411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Purcell PJ, O’Brien M, Boland TM, O’Kiely P (2011b) In vitro rumen methane output of perennial ryegrass samples prepared by freeze drying or thermal drying (40 °C). Anim Feed Sci Technol 166–167:175–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ranfft K (1973) Gas-chromatography determination of short-chain volatile fatty acids in the ruminal fluid. Arch Tierernahr 23:343–352PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Thomas TA (1977) An automated procedure for the determination of soluble carbohydrates in herbage. J Sci Food Agric 28:639–642CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Tilley JMA, Terry RA (1963) A two-stage technique for the in vitro digestion of forage crops. Grass Forage Sci 18:104–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Wilkins PW, Sabanci CO (1990) Genetic variation in leaf epidermal cell size and shape in lolium perenne. Euphytica 47:233–239Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. J. Purcell
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. O’ Brien
    • 1
  • T. M. Boland
    • 2
  • M. McEvoy
    • 3
  • P. O’Kiely
    • 1
  1. 1.AGRICTeagasc, GrangeDunsanyIreland
  2. 2.School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary MedicineUniversity College DublinBelfieldIreland
  3. 3.AGRICTeagasc, MooreparkFermoyIreland

Personalised recommendations