Starch in ruminant diets: a review


  • Luis M Gómez Universidad de Antioquia
  • Sandra L Posada
  • Martha Olivera



acidosis, amylopectin, amylose, digestibility, lactation, methanogenesis


starch is an important energy source for ruminants nutrition. This carbohydrate is often used to improve rumen fermentation, optimizing digestion of structural carbohydrates and increasing protein flow to the small intestine. Microbial and digestive enzymes are involved in starch digestion, generating products that can positively or negatively affect animal performance and health, depending on the starch contents of the diet. Objective: to describe the basic characteristics of starches, the factors affecting its nutritional availability, and its effects in ruminants. Conclusion: a number of factors affect starch digestibility, including granule size, amylose/amylopectin ratio, proportion of farinaceous and vitreous endosperm, presence of starch-lipid and starch-protein complexes, and physical-chemical processing of the feed. Ingestion of large amounts of starch can trigger ruminal acidosis. However, its rational use in the diet has positive effects on methane emissions, and in milk yield and composition.

= 1670 veces | PDF
= 440 veces| | HTML
= 135 veces|


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Luis M Gómez, Universidad de Antioquia



Agle M, Hristov AN, Zaman S, Schneider C, Ndegwa PM, Vaddella VK. Effect of dietary concentrate on rumen fermentation,digestibility, and nitrogen losses in dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 2010; 93:4211-4222.Aguerre MJ, Wattiaux MA, Powell JM, Broderick GA, Arndt C. Effect of forage-to-concentrate ratio in dairy cow diets on emissionof methane, carbon dioxide, and ammonia, lactation performance,and manure excretion. J Dairy Sci 2011; 94:3081-3093.Allen MS, Longuski RA, Ying Y. Endosperm type of dry ground corn grain affectsruminal and total tract digestion of starch in lactating dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 2008; 91(E-Suppl. 1):529.Alvani K, Qi X, Tester RF, Snape CE. Physico-chemical propertiesof potato starches. Food Chem 2011; 125:958-965.Bannink A, Kogut J, Dijkstra J, France J, Kebreab E, Van Vuuren AM, Tamminga S. Estimation of the stoichiometry of volatile fatty acid production in the rumen of lactating cows. J TheorBiol 2006; 238:36-51. Bednar GE, Patil AR, Murray SM, Grieshop CM, Merchen NR, Fahey GC. Starch and fiber fractions in selected food and feed ingredients affect their small intestinal digestibility and fermentabilityand their large bowel fermentability in vitro in a canine model. J Nutr 2001; 131:276-286.Biliaderis CG. Structural transitions and related physicalproperties of starch. In: BeMiller J, Whistler R, editors. Starch: Chemistry and Technology. 3th ed. Academic Press USA; 2009. p. 293-372. Caballero DJ. Efecto del uso de alimento balanceado peletizado desde el inicio hasta el engorde en la granja porcina el Hobo, Santa Cruz de Yojoa, Honduras. Tesis de pregrado. Zamorano, Honduras. 2010; [Access date: March 9, 2015]. URL: ARJ, Vale JMP, Bessa RJB, Dewhurst RJ, Fonseca AJM. Effects of dietary starch source and buffers on milk responses and rumen fatty acid biohydrogenation in dairy cows fed maize-baseddiets. Anim Feed Sci Technol 2009; 152:267-277.Caldas Neto SF, Zeoula LM, Branco AF, Do Prado IN, Dos SantosGT, Fregadolli FL, Kassies MP, Dalponte AO. Mandioca e resíduosdas farinheiras na alimentação de ruminantes: Digestibilidade total e parcial. Rev Bras Zootec 2000; 29:2099-2108.

Callison, SL, Firkins JL, Eastridge ML, Hull BL. Site of nutrient digestion by dairy cows fed corn of different particle sizes or steam-rolled. J Dairy Sci 2001; 84:1458-1467.Casper DP, Schingoethe DJ, Eisenbeisz WA. Response of early lactation dairy cows feed diets varying in source of nonstructural carbohydrate and crude protein. J Dairy Sci 1990; 73:1039-1050.Chanjula P, Wanapat M, Wachirapakorn C, Rowlinson P. Effect of synchronizing starch sources and protein (NPN) in the rumen on feed intake, rumen microbial fermentation, nutrient utilizationand performance of lactating dairy cows. Asian Aust J Anim Sci 2004; 17:1400-1410.CCRP, Climate Change Research Program. Effect of starch basedconcentrates with different degradation characteristics on methaneemissions. Reducing emissions from livestock research program.Australian Government, Department of Agriculture, Fisheriesand Forestry. 2012.Correa CES, Shaver RD, Pereira MN, Lauer JG, Kohn K. Relationship between corn vitreousness and ruminal in situ starchdegradability. J Dairy Sci 2002; 85:3008-3012.Cotta MA. Amylolytic of selected species of ruminal bacteria. App Environ Microbiol 1998; 54:772-776.Crowe TC, Seligman SA, Copeland L. Inhibition of enzymicdigestion of amylose by free fatty acids in vitrocontributes to resistant starch formation. J Nutr 2000; 130:2006-2008.Dann HM, Tucker HA, Cotanch KW, Krawczel PD, Mooney CS, Grant RJ, Eguchi T. Evaluation of lower-starch diets for lactating Holstein dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 2014; 97:7151-7161.Delahoy JE, Muller LD, Bargo F, Cassidy TW, Holden LA. Supplemental carbohydrate sources for lactating dairy cows on pasture. J Dairy Sci 2003; 86:906-915.Eckhoff SR, Watson SA. Corn and Sorghum starches: Production.In: BeMiller J, Whistler R, editors. Starch: Chemistry and Technology. 3th ed. Academic Press USA; 2009. p. 373-439.Ellis JL, Dijkstra J, Kebreab E, Bannink A, Odongo NE, McBride BW, France J. Aspects of rumen microbiology central to mechanistic modelling of methane production in cattle. J Agricul Sci 2008; 146:213e33. Engstrom DF, Mathison GW, Goonewardene LA. Effect of beta-glucan, starch and fiber content and steam vs dry rolling of barley-grain on its degradability and utilization by steers. Anim Feed Sci Technol 1992; 37:33-46.Evers AD, O’Brien L, Blakeney AB. Cereal structure and composition. Aust J Agric Res 1999; 50:629-650.Gaynor PJ, Waldo DR, Capuco AV, Erdman RA, Douglass LW, Teter BB. Milk fat depression, the glucogenic theory and trans-C 18:1 fatty acids. J Dairy Sci 1995; 78:2008-2015.Gibson TS, Solah VA, McCleary BV. A procedure to measure amylose in cereal starches and flours with concanavalin A. J Cereal Sci 1997; 25:111-119.Giuberti G, Gallo A, Masoero F, Farraretto LF, Hoffman PC, Shaver RD. Factors affecting starch utilization in large animal food production system: A review. Starch 2014; 66:72-90.Gozho GN, Mutsvangwa T. Influence of carbohydrate source on ruminal fermentation characteristics, performance, and microbialprotein synthesis in dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 2008; 91:2726-2735.Grant, R. 2005. Optimizing starch concentrations in dairy rations.Proc Tri-State Dairy Nutr Conf, Fort Wayne, IN, 2005. p. 73-79.Griinari JM, Dwyer DA, McGuier MA, Bauman DE, Palmquist DL, Nurmela KV. Trans- octadecenoic acids and milk fat depression in lactating dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 1998; 81:1251-1261.Gulmez BH, Turkmen II. Effect of starch sources with different degradation rates on ruminal fermentation of lactating dairy cows.Revue Méd Vét 2007; 158:92-99.Hales KE, Cole NA, MacDonald JC. Effects of corn processing method and dietary inclusion of wet distillers grains with solubleson energy metabolism, carbon-nitrogen balance, and methaneemissions of cattle. J Anim Sci 2012; 90:3174-3185.Hatew B, Podesta SC, Van Laar H, Pellikaan WF, Ellis JL, Dijkstra J, Bannink A. Effects of dietary starch content and rate of fermentation on methane production in lactating dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 2015; 98:486-499. Harson DL. Understanding starch utilization in the small intestineof cattle. Asian-Aust J Anim Sci 2009; 22:915-922. Hernández-Medina M, Torruco-Uco JG, Chel-Guerrero L, Betancur-Ancona D. Caracterización fisicoquímica de almidonesde tubérculos cultivados en Yucatán, México. Cienc TecnolAliment 2008; 28:718-726.Herrera-Saldana R, Huber TJ, Poore MH. Dry matter, crudeprotein, and starch degradability of five cereal grains. J Dairy Sci 1990; 73:2386-2393.Hook SE, Steele MA, Northwood KS, Wright AD, McBrideBW. Impact of high-concentrate feeding and low ruminal pH on methanogens and protozoa in the rumen of dairy cows. Microb Ecol 2011; 62:94-105.Hu G, Burton C, Yang C. Efficient measurement of amylosecontent in cereal grains. J Cereal Sci 2010; 51:35-40.Huhtanen P, Sveinbjörnsson J. Evaluation of methods for estimating starch digestibility and digestión kinetics in ruminants.Animal Feed Sci Technol 2006; 130:95-113.Huntington GB. Starch utilization by ruminants: from basics to the bunk. J Anim Sci 1997; 75:852-867.Huntington GB, Harmon DL, Richards CJ. Sites, rates, and limitsof starch digestion and glucose metabolism in growing cattle. J Anim Sci 2006; 84:E14-E24.Jiao HP, Dale AJ, Carson AF, Murray S, Gordon AW, FerrisCP. Effect of concentrate feed level on methane emissions from grazing dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 2014; 97:7043-7053.

Jurjanz S, Colin-Schoellen O, Gardeur JN, Laurent F. Alteration of milk fat by variation in the source and amount of starch in a total mixed diet fed to dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 1998; 81:2924-2933.Kennelly JJ, Glimm DR. The biological potential to alter the composition of milk. Can J Anim Sci 1998; 78(Suppl):23.Khampa S, Wanapat M. Influences of energy sources and levels supplementation on ruminal fermentation and microbial protein synthesis in dairy steers. Pakistan J Nutrition 2006; 5:294-300.Khorasani GR, Okine EK, Kennelly JJ. Effects of substituting barley grain with corn on ruminal fermentation characteristics, milk yield and milk composition of Holstein cows. J Dairy Sci 2001; 84:2760-2769.Knapp JR, Laur GL, Vadas PA, WeissWP, Tricarico JM. Enteric methane in dairy cattle production: Quantifying the opportunitiesand impact of reducing emissions. J Dairy Sci 2014; 97:3231-3261.Knowles MM, Pabon ML, Carulla JE. Use of cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) and other starchy non-conventional sourcesin ruminant feeding. Rev Colom Cienc Pecu 2012; 25:488-499.Kotarski SF, Waniska RD, Thurn KK. Starch hydrolisis by the rumen microflora. J Nutr 1992; 122:178-190.Krause KM, Combs DK, Beauchemin KA. Effects of forageparticle size and grain fermentability in mid-lactation cows. II. Ruminal pH and chewing activity. J Dairy Sci 2002; 85:1947–1957.Kumar S, Dagar SS, Puniya AK, Upadhyay RC. Changes in methane emission, rumen fermentation in response to diet and microbial interactions. Res Vet Sci 2013; 94:263-268.Lanzas C, Fox DG, Pell AN. Digestion kinetics of dried cereal grains. Anim Feed Sci and Technol 2007; 136:265-280.Larsen M, Lund P, Weisbjerg MR, Hvelplund T. Digestion site of starch from cereals and legumes in lactating dairy cows. Anim Feed Sci and Technol 2009; 153:236-248.Lawton JW. Zein: A history of processing and use. Cereal Chem2002; 79:1-18.Li L, Blanco M, Jane JL. Physicochemical properties of endosperm and pericarp starches during maize development.Carbohydr Polym 2007; 67:630-639.Medel P, Salado S, de Blas JC, Mateo GG. Processed cereals in diets for early-weaned piglets. Animal Feed Sci and Technol 1999; 82:145-156.Moharrery A, Larsen M, Weisbjerg MR. Starch digestion in the rumen, small intestine, and hind gut of dairy cows – A meta-analysis. Anim Feed Sci Technol 2014; 192:1-14.Momany FA, Sessa DJ, Lawton JW, Selling GW, Hamaker SA, Willet JL. Structural characterization of alpha-zein. J Agric Food Chem 2006; 54:543-547.Montoya NF, Pino ID, Correa HJ. Evaluación de la suplementacióncon papa (Solanum tuberosum) durante la lactancia en vacas holstein. Rev Col Cienc Pec 2004; 17:241-249.Mosavi GHR, Fatahnia F, Mirzaei Alamouti HR, Mehrabi AA, Darmani Koh H. Effect of dietary starch source on milk productionand composition of lactating Holstein cows. S Afr J Anim Sci 2012, 42:201-209.Myers AM, Morell MK, James MG, Ball SG. Recent progress toward understanding biosynthesis of the amylopectin crystal. Plant Physiol 2000; 122:989-997. Ngonyamo-Majee D, Shaver RD, Coors JG, Sapienza D, Lauer JG. Relationship between kernel vitreousness and dry matter degradability for diverse corn germplasm. II.Ruminal and post-ruminal degradabilities. Anim Feed Sci Technol 2008;142:259-274.Offner A, Bach A, Sauvant D. Quantitative review of in situ starch degradation in the rumen. Anim Feed Sci Technol 2003; 106:81-93.Offner A, Sauvant D. Thermodynamic modeling of ruminalfermentations. Anim Res 2006; 55:343-365.Ortega ME, Mendoza G. Starch digestion and glucose metabolismin the ruminant: a review. Interciencia 2003; 28:380-386.Owens FN, Zinn RA, Kim YK. Limits to starch digestion in the ruminant’s small intestine. J Anim Sci 1986; 63:1634-1648.Parker R, Ring SG. Aspects of the physical chemistry of starch. J Cereal Sci 2001; 34:1-17.Perez S, Baldwin PM, Gallant DJ. Structural features of starch granules I. In: BeMiller J, Whistler R, editors. Starch: Chemistry and Technology. 3th ed. Academic Press USA; 2009. p. 149-192. Pimentel RR, Andrade FM, Chaves AS, de Lima LE, Ramos VR. Substituição do milho pela raspa de mandioca em dietas para vacas primíparas em lactação. R Bras Zootec 2006; 35:1221-1227.Pirondini M, Colombini S, Mele M, Malagutti L, Rapetti L, Galassi G, Crovetto GM. Effect of dietary starch concentration and fish oil supplementation on milk yield and composition, diet digestibility, and methane emissions in lactating dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 2015; 98:357-372.Plaizier JC, Krause DO, Gozho GN, McBride BW. Subacuteruminal acidosis in dairy cows: the physiological causes, incidenceand consequences. Vet J 2009; 176:21-31.Poore MH, Moore JA, Swingle RS, Eck TP, Brown WH. Responseof lactating Holstein cows to diets varying in fiber source and ruminal starch degradability. J Dairy Sci 1993; 76:2235-2243.Reynolds CK. Production and metabolic effects of site of starch digestion in dairy cattle. Anim Feed Sci Technol 2006; 130:78-94.Reynolds CK, Sutton JD, Beever DE. Effects of feeding starch to dairy cattle on nutrient availability and production. In: Garnsworthy PC, Wiseman J, editors. Recent advances in animal nutrition Nottingham University Press. Nottingham 1997. p. 105-134.Rooney LW, Pflugfelder RL. Factors affecting starch digestibilitywith special emphasis on sorghum and corn. J Anim Sci 1986; 63:1607-1623

Santana A, Meireles A. New starches are the trend for industry applications: a review. Food and Public Health 2014; 4:229-241.Silveira C, Oba M, Beauchemin KA, Helm J. Effect of grains differing in expected ruminal fermentability on the productivity of lactating dairy cows. J Dairy Sci 2007; 90:2852-2859.Stevnebo, Sahlstrom S, Svihus B. Starch structure and degree of starch hydrolysis of small and large starch granules from barley varieties with varying amylose content. Anim Feed Sci Technol 2006; 130:23-38.Sung HG, Kobayashi Y, Chang J, Ha A, Hwang IH, Ha JK. Low ruminal pH reduces dietary fiber digestion via reduced microbial attachment. Asian-Aust J Anim Sci 2007; 20:200-207.Sutton JD. Altering milk composition by feeding. J Dairy Sci 1989; 72:2801-2814.Sveinbjörnsson J, Murphy M, Udén P. In vitro evaluation of starchdegradation from feeds with or without various heat treatments. Anim Feed Sci Technol 2007; 132:171-185.Svihus B, Uhlen AK, Harstad OM Effect of starch granulestructure, associated components and processing on nutritivevalue of cereal starch: A review. Anim Feed Sci Technol 2005; 122: 303-320.Tester RF, Karkalas J, Qi X. Starch structure and digestibility enzyme-susbstrate relationship. Worlds Poult Sci J 2004; 60:186-195.Thair MN. Effects of the level, type and processing of cereal grainsin diets for dairy cows. Doctoral Thesis. Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 2012; [Access date: September 4, 2015]. URL: Tothi R, Lund P, Weisbjerg MR, Hvelplund T. Effect of expander processing on fractional rate of maize and barley starchdegradation in the rumen of dairy cows estimated using rumen evacuation and in situ techniques. Anim Feed Sci and Technol 2003; 104:71-94.Van Barneveld SL. Chemical and physical characteristics of grainsrelated to variability in energy and amino acid availability in ruminant: a review. Aust J Agric Res 1999; 50:651-666.Van Soest PJ. Nutritional ecology of the ruminant. 2th ed. O & B Books, Corvalis; 1994.Vasanthan T, Bhatty RS. Physicochemical properties of small- and large-granule starches of waxy, regular and high amylose barleys.Cereal Chem 1996; 73:199-207.Vearsilp T, Mikled C. Site and extent of cassava starch digestion in ruminants. International Workshop on Current Research and Development on Use of Cassava as Animal Feed. Khon Kaen, University Thailand 2001; [Access date: March 9, 2015] URL: LM, Caldas Neto SF. Recentes avanços em amidona nutrição de vacas leiteiras. In: Simposio Internacional em bovinocultura de leite. Anais Lavras 2001: Lavras: Universidad Federal de Lavras p. 249-84




How to Cite

Gómez, L. M., Posada, S. L., & Olivera, M. (2016). Starch in ruminant diets: a review. Revista Colombiana De Ciencias Pecuarias, 29(2), 77–90.



Literature reviews

Most read articles by the same author(s)

> >> 

Similar Articles

> >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.