This study characterised the response of ruminal fermentation and the rumen microbiome in lambs fed commercial vegetal sources of hydrolysable tannins (HT) and condensed tannins (CT). Forty-four lambs (19.56 ± 2.06 kg) were randomly assigned to either a concentrate diet (CON, n = 8) or CON supplemented with 4% of two HT [chestnut (Castanea sativa, HT-c) and tara (Caesalpinia spinosa, HT-t)] and CT [mimosa (Acacia negra, CT-m) and gambier (Uncaria gambir, CT-g)] extracts (all, n = 9) for 75 days pre-slaughter. Tannin supplementation did not influence ruminal fermentation traits. Quantitative PCR demonstrated that tannins did not affect the absolute abundance of ruminal bacteria or fungi. However, CT-m (-12.8%) and CT-g (-11.5%) significantly reduced the abundance of methanogens while HT-t (-20.7%) and CT-g (-20.8%) inhibited protozoal abundance. Ribosomal amplicon sequencing revealed that tannins caused changes in the phylogenetic structure of the bacterial and methanogen communities. Tannins inhibited the fibrolytic bacterium, Fibrobacter and tended to suppress the methanogen genus, Methanosphaera. Results demonstrated that both HT and CT sources could impact the ruminal microbiome when supplemented at 4% inclusion level. HT-t, CT-m and CT-g extracts displayed specific antimicrobial activity against methanogens and protozoa without compromising ruminal fermentation in a long-term feeding trial.
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