Abstract— This study aimed to evaluate the effects of mesquite (Prosopis juliflora) pod meal (MPM) replacing corn in concentrate feeds on ruminal parameters and microbial diversity. MPM was used in 0.0, 33.3, 66.7 and 100% levels in isonitrogenous diets, and elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) silage as forage. For the experiment we divided the animals into 4×4 Latin square. The intake of dry matter, crude protein, neutral detergent fiber and acid detergent fiber were not affected by the MPM levels. The pH varied linearly, increasing according to the levels of MPM and remained at adequate range between 6.32 and 6.85 for 8 hours after feeding. The ammonia concentration showed a peak of 14.01 mmol L-1 2 hours after the morning feeding and the acetate, propionate and butyrate concentrations did not show any effect. The genetic diversity of bacteria and archaea was determined by PCR-DGGE. The analyses showed variations in banding pattern, indicating changes in the populations studied as a result of the treatments and a reduction in methanogenic after the addition of up to 66.7% of MPM. MPM can be used at levels of 33.3% and 66.7% of corn replacing without reducing the nutrients intake. The reduction of archaea has a possible contribution in reducing methanogenesis, since it also reduces the acetate:propionate ratio. Mesquite is a source of food for goats in small holdings, with potential reduction in methanogenesis.
Keywords— ecology, microbial, multivariate analysis, PCR-DGGE, ruminal fermentation.
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