The effects of Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain CNCM I-1077 dietary supplementation were examined in lactating buffalo cows. On a farm in Caserta province, 44 buffalo cows were divided into Control and Saccharomyces groups balanced for age (on average, 52.7 ± 2.1 mo), days in milk (120 ± 64 d) and milk production (9.2 ± 1.37 kg/head/d). The groups were fed the same total mixed ration (TMR) that was supplemented, in Saccharomyces group, with 50 g/day of yeast supplement (Levucell SC), corresponding to 10 × 109 cfu/day live cells. The experimental period lasted 16 weeks. At the beginning and at the end of this period, each cow was weighted and scored for BCS. Every 2 weeks milk yield of each cow was measured and sampled; DMI was also evaluated on pen basis. At the end of experimental period, total tract in vivo digestibility was evaluated by using acid insoluble ash as indigestible marker. Milk traits and estimated mozzarella cheese yield were analyzed by a linear mixed model for repeated measures including the effects of diet, time and the interaction diet*time. The effect of diet on DMI, BCS and digestibility coefficients were analyzed by one-way ANOVA. No differences (P > 0.05) were found between the dietary groups for live weight (663.0 vs. 689.6 kg, respectively for Control and Saccharomyces group, SEM 11.8) and BCS (6.33 vs. 6.11 SEM 0.39). Saccharomyces supplemented cows presented higher (P < 0.05) TMR-DMI (16.1 vs. 16.5 kg/d, SEM 0.11) and milk yield (7.6 vs. 8.3 kg/head/d, SEM 0.251). Although milk fat (9.10 vs. 9.64%, SEM 0.254) and milk protein (5.39 vs. 5.34%, SEM 0.10) were not influenced by the treatment (P > 0.05), Saccharomyces group had greater (P < 0.01) estimated mozzarella yield (2.17 vs. 2.45 kg/d SEM 0.075). Total tract in vivo digestibility coefficients of dry matter, organic matter, crude protein and NDF were significantly higher in Saccharomyces compared with Control group. Overall, live yeast supplementation to lactating buffaloes significantly increased milk production, without decreasing milk quality, live weight and BCS
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