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In our livestock based food productions,
an important element is how
those animals take those components,
those plant based components and
convert them into products that
we find palatable and digestible.
Taking care of nutritional feeding is so
important because it
comprises such a significant proportion
of the cost of our production.
And, that's true for all of our systems.
But, the actual proportion varies
depending on the species and
depending on the type of
system under consideration.
How much nutrition contributes and
how much it costs depends on those things.
Dairy cattle, for instance that
are raised somewhat on pasture,
nutrition might be 50
to 60% of those costs.
Whereas with pigs it might be 80% of
the cost of production in a swine system.
But because of these costs,
optimizing the nutritional content and
matching it with the production
outcomes is an essential part of
the management of running of an efficient,
effective and profitable system.
Because the costs are such a high
proportion of the total costs that go
into an animal.
And nutrition feeding an animal isn't just
simply turning them out onto a pasture or
putting feed in front of them.
Nutrition is a complex scientific process.
Feeding the animals exactly
the right constituents at
exactly the right time is really important
for the sustainability of production.
And to understand nutrition, to be able
to design good nutritional programs,
you need to be able to understand not
just the components of the nutrition,
not just what the components of
plants are and how they're made up.
But also the anatomy and
physiology of the animal.
How their intestinal tract works,
how they digest nutrients,
how they maximize those to
become efficient in production.
So I'm Dr. Brian Aldrich, I'm here at
the College of Veterinary Medicine at
the University of Illinois, and
we're in the Department of Anatomy.
And to start to understand that
science of how nutrition works.

We're going inside of a cow.


This is a skeleton of an adult cow used
here as an autonomy demonstration to teach
the Bentley students the structures that
are inherit to the function of this animal
and we want to just show you where the
major part of the digestive system sits.
For ruminants, they're unique because they
have four compartments to their stomach.
And within their abdomen they have a
massive fermentation vac called the rumen.
That's the second of the stomachs and
it sits right here within
the belly of the animal.
And all of the other
structures are secondary to
really this Rumen in
the digestive process.
The Rumen lining has small
little Little leaves,
tiny little microscopic leaves which
increase the surface air of the room and,
and therefore optimize
its absorptive capacity.
Absorbing the break down products
of the bacterial fermentation,
particular the break down products
of carbohydrate metabolism.
The volatile.
Fatty acids.
And that is the seat of efficiency for
nutrition and the seat of efficiency for
production as far as
nutrition is concerned.
So here I am holding the four stomachs of
a ruminant inside the abdomen of this cow.
So that's exactly where it sits.
But if you think that this is the real
structure and this is the real size,
I'm fooling you because this
is actually a sheep's stomach.
And it's about a tenth of the size of that
which would sit inside this cow's abdomen.
Now this is the real rumen of this animal.
And as you can see it's massive.
It's a massive fermentation vat.
Probably all together this
structure holds something like
300 liters, 300 liters of fluid.
Each compartment structurally designed
both in its form and its function.
To most efficiently take
undigestible proteins and
carbohydrates and make them digestible.
Firstly for the animal, and then to
convert them into metabolic products.
So let me talk you around the different
stomachs in this specimen.
The rumen is unique in
that it has four stomachs.

This here is the first stomach,


it's called the reticulum.
The reticulum is in some ways the first
compartment that the food meets.
The food comes down the esophagus,
down the throat and through a small
sphincter here and is then dumped
into this part of the stomach.
It's lined with a reticulated mucosa
which is designed to capture particles.
And it's so effective, that, if the animal
swallows a, a piece of wire, to prevent
the wire from accessing lower parts of
the intestine, they get trapped there.
Stones will get trapped in
this honeycomb appearance,
stopping it's interference with
other digestive processes.
And every part of this remarkable stomach
system is unique in structure, but
also in lining, and also in its contents.
Each of them, though contiguous,
perform a different function,
because of their anatomical structure.
But this is also, the part of the stomach,
when the food is chewed again and again.
This is the food that goes
back up into the mouth so
a doesn't just chew it's food once,
it takes in the food,
it goes down into the and
then it's brought back up and down so
that this plant material is, is, in step
wide fashion is crushed and broken up.
Now this occurs by a repeated
process of chewing.
Of, of swallowing, of entry into the room
and vat and then of bringing it back up.
So this is where rumination takes place,
this is also the first sack
of this fermentation vat and
food moves from this structure
into this large multi-sacked.
Parts of the stomach called the rumen.
This is where all
the fermentation takes place.
Again, it has a unique structure of
sacks cause that's where most of
the mixing takes place.
It is mixed up so that the bacteria are
exposed to every part of that digester.
And there's three layers of food,
in this rumen.
There's the top layer, which is the gas,
which is a byproduct of digestion.
There's a fiber layer that sits in there.
And that's the part of the fiber that
goes into the reticulum and is rechewed.
It's the long fiber.
And then, the bottom, there's food

particles suspended in liquid.


Looks more like pea soup.
And that's where,
the bacteria doing most of their work.
Being exposed to the small fibres and
doing the digestion.
Taking the plant proteins and
the complex carbohydrates and
breaking them down into simpler
proteins and simpler sugars as well.
Probably about one point five billion
bacteria live in that, in the animal.
From there, as the food is broken down,
the more liquid component goes
through another sphincter,
another opening, into this omasum.
And every stage, every stage of digestion,
the particles are going from
long fibers to smaller fibers.
And when it gets to there it's
essentially smaller particles with
a large amount of fluid.
But to get down into the smaller parts
of the intestine in the lower parts of
the intestinal tract,
most of the water should be removed.
And that's what takes
place in this omasum.
The lining of the omasum like book leaves.
And it's a perfect way to increase
the surface area such as, so
that water absorption could be maximized.
And that's where a lot of
the water is absorbed.
From there, the food goes into
what is really the true stomach,
the abomasum, the stomach that in
humans and in pigs and in horses
does most of the digestive processes
of the gastric part of the intestine.
It's the true stomach because that's where
some of the enzymes are produced that
digest some of the carbohydrates and
the proteins.
The lining of the abomasum is glandular.
It's full of folds, but
it's secretory, the only part of these
four stomachs that secrete anything.
It secretes the digestive enzymes.
It secretes the hydrochloric
acid to lower the pH.
It's a true stomach because.
Its acidity, its PH, is much lower
than the rest of the intestinal tract.
The secretion that comes out of the lining
of this is called hydrochloric acid.
As with humans, and
as with other monogastrics.
So, the components of this part of
the digestive tract have been simplified.

From the long fiber that


we've seen in the rumen.
And, the bacteria in the rumen
have done most of the digestion.
They've been breaking down the celluloses
and the starches to more simple sugars.
They've been taking
the protein in those plants and
breaking them down to
their essential acids.
In fact,
the bacteria then take the amino acids and
put them into the protein
of their own body wall.
And they form part of the nutrients for
the lower digestive tract.
The abomasum's role and the lower
intestine is to take those bacteria and
break them down and to release
the nutrients that they have released from
the grasses and the grains that took
place during the fermentation process.
So in some way for
the ruminant, the bacteria become
an important dietary component.
The bacteria break down the,
the plants and
then the rest of the body
digests the bacteria.
But these things that
we do nutritionally and
managely, managementally which are fake,
the structure and function.
The contents of these rumen.
If we don't get the nutrition right,
if you don't get the nutrition right,
then we mess up the function of this
wonderful organ, and therefore.
We decreased productivity.
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