Lactic acidosis may become an animal welfare issue in New Zealand if the level of concentrates used in the feed ration increases. Lactic acidosis develops in ruminants because of the excessive production of lactic acid by starch degrading bacteria in the rumen after animals are introduced to grain–based diets containing large amounts of starch. It is important that lactic acid is converted to volatile fatty acids in the rumen rather than being absorbed into the bloodstream. Rumen bacteria that ferment starch to lactic acid are capable of rapid cell reproduction and, when starch is freely available, produce lactic acid at a higher rate than lactate is fermented to volatile fatty acids by lactate-using bacteria.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 69, Christchurch, 230-232, 2009
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