Journal of dairy science

Ruminal degradation of quercetin and its influence on fermentation in ruminants.

PMID 26094220


The aim of the present study was to investigate the ruminal degradation of the flavonol quercetin and to determine its potential antimicrobial effects on ruminal fermentation in cows. Ruminal degradation of quercetin (0 or 100μmol/L, respectively) as well as its influence on ruminal gas production (0, 50, or 100μmol of quercetin equivalents/L, respectively, either applied as aglycone or as its glucorhamnoside rutin) using concentrate, grass hay, and straw as substrates were investigated in vitro using the Hohenheim gas test. Additionally, the influence of quercetin on ruminal concentrations of volatile fatty acids and their molar ratio in rumen-fistulated, nonlactating cows (n=5) after intraruminal application of quercetin as aglycone or as rutin (0, 10, or 50mg of quercetin equivalents/kg of BW, respectively) was evaluated. Quercetin was rapidly and extensively degraded, whereby the disappearance of quercetin was accompanied by the simultaneous appearance of 2metabolites 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid and 4-methylcatechol. In vitro total gas and methane production were not reduced by the addition of quercetin aglycone or rutin, respectively, using concentrate, grass hay, and straw as substrates. As expected, however, effects of the substrates used were detected on total gas and methane production. Highest gas production was found with concentrate, whereas values obtained with grass hay and straw were lower. Relative methane production was highest with grass hay compared with concentrate and straw (27.1 vs. 25.0 and 25.5%). After intraruminal application of the quercetin aglycone or rutin, respectively, neither total concentration nor the molar ratio of volatile fatty acids in the rumen fluid were influenced. Results of the present study show that quercetin underlies rapid ruminal degradation, whereby 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid and 4-methylcatechol are the main metabolites, whereas the latter one most likely is formed by dehydroxylation from 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid. Regarding antimicrobial effects of quercetin, results obtained indicate that fermentation processes in the forestomachs are not substantially influenced by quercetin or rutin, respectively. With regard to potential health-promoting effects of quercetin, its application in cows, especially in the form of the better available rutin, might not be accompanied by negative effects on ruminal fermentation.