Livestock Research for Rural Development 24 (1) 2012 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Feeding of formaldehyde-treated protein meals to lactating buffaloes; effect on milk yield and composition

S G Vahora, K B Kore and S Parnerkar*

College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry,
Navsari Agricultural University, Navsari- 396 450 India.
* College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry,
Anand Agricultural University, Anand - 388 001 India.


A trial was conducted to study the effect of feeding a concentrate containing formaldehyde-treated protein meals on milk production in dairy buffaloes in two villages of Dahod district of Gujarat. The experiment was carried out for 90 days using 24 lactating buffaloes in their 2nd and 3rd lactation. The animals were divided in two groups, one control group (CON) fed a traditional concentrate and a treatment group (BYPRO) fed the same concentrate but with the protein meals treated with formaldehyde. All the animals were fed with paddy straw ad libitum.

Milk yield tended to be higher (P=0.14) in the BYPRO treatment group (5.53 kg/day) compared to the control (4.98). Fat percent, 6% fat corrected milk and fat yield were increased by feeding the BYPRO concentrate. It is concluded that feeding buffaloes under farm conditions with protein meals treated with formaldehyde leads to increase in yield of 6% FCM compared with feeding untreated protein meals..

Key words: Bypass protein, farm conditions, fat yield, FCM,  rice straw


Livestock are a major source of income for poor farmers of rural India, besides milk they are also a source of fuel, fertilizer and draught power for farming. Traditionally, farmers in villages feed their animals on agriculture by-products and crop residues such as straw and stovers, whose nutritional value is very low and inadequate to meet the nutrient requirements of lactating animals. The farmers in the rural areas feed their livestock in the different seasons depending on the available roughage, straws and stovers in the summer and green grass after the rainy season (Chandrasekharaiah et al 2008).  

The problem of nutrients for dairy animals could be overcome by newer feeds and by the use of alternative feed technologies, which may lead to better and more efficient utilization of available feed resources. Dietary proteins are mostly degraded in the rumen and transformed in microbial protein. The method to increase protein supply to the animals is termed “bypass protein technology” (Preston and Leng 1987; Garg et al 2007). The protected protein by-passes the rumen and provides additional essential amino acids for absorption at the small intestine (Walli 2005). Bypass protein is known to stimulate the voluntary feed intake (Preston and Leng 1987) and thereby improve milk quality and quantity with improvement in economic returns from dairy animals (Garg et al 2005; Gulati et al 2005).

There are different methods of protecting proteins from ruminal degradability, however, some of the protein sources like oilseed meal, fishmeal, cereal bran, tannin-containing legume, corn gluten meal and cottonseed meal are naturally less degradable in the rumen hence can be considered as natural bypass proteins or nutrients (Preston and Leng 1980; Preston and Leng 1987). In the case of soluble protein meals, their bypass protein qualities can be improved and they can be protected from degradation in the rumen by “protection”  processes which include heat (depending on the protein source); reactions with aldehydes, such as formaldehyde and gluteraldehyde or mixing with tannins or selection of plants with tannins (Leng 1991).

It is generally presumed that  bypass protein is most beneficial to high yielding animals, however, in view of the positive results obtained in several studies in India on  medium producing animals, the subject needs a rethinking on the part of ruminant nutritionists (Walli 2005).  The present study was carried out with the aim to evaluate the effect of feeding a concentrate containing formaldehyde-treated protein meals on milk production in lactating buffaloes under field conditions.

Materials and methods

The experiment was conducted in the rural area of Limkheda taluka, the tribal Dahod district of Gujarat. Twenty four lactating buffaloes in their 2nd to 3rd lactation were used for the 90-day experiment. All animals were healthy and of average body size. They were randomly divided in two equal groups based on their body weight and milk production. A control group (CON) was fed the untreated concentrate; the other (BYPRO) was fed the concentrate after the protein-rich components had been treated with formaldehyde. The basal diet was ad libitum paddy straw.

The concentrate (Table 1) was prepared at the Cattle Feed Factory, a unit of Panchmahal co-operative milk producers’ union in Gujarat, where the protein sources (Guar, rapeseed and groundnut meals) were treated with 1% formaldehyde prior to being stored in an air tight silo for nine days. The untreated protein sources were used for the control group.

 Table 1. The proportion of ingredients (%) in the concentrate




Rice polish fine



De-oiled rice bran






Groundnut extraction



Rapeseed extraction.















Mineral mixture









Groundnut shell powder



CON= Control group, BYPRO= Bypass protein supplemented group,
# Formaldehyde treated

 The chemical composition of the experimental diets was analyzed by standard procedures of AOAC (1995). Milk samples were drawn at fortnightly intervals for analysis (ISI 1961 and ISI 1977). For the conversion of whole milk into 6 % FCM, the equation derived by Rice et al (1970) was used

6% FCM (kg) = (0.4 M + 15 F) / 1.3.

Where M = Milk yield in kg and F = weight of fat.

The data were analyzed statistically using standard methods (Snedecor and Cochran 1994) and significance was declared when P value was less than 0.05.

Results and discussion

The chemical composition of the experimental feeds is given in Table 2.

Table 2. Chemical composition (% on DM basis) of feed ingredients



Rice straw





Crude protein





Ether extract





Crude fibre





Nitrogen free extract





Total ash




















Milk yield and quality

The average daily milk production tended (P=0.14) to increase in the BYPRO group compared to the control (Table 3). The percentage fat in the milk was increased thus 6% FCM yield was higher by 15% for buffaloes fed the BYPRO diet (Figure 1). 

Table 3. Effect of feeding formaldehyde-treated protein meals on milk and fat yield






Milk yield, kg/d





Fat yield, kg/d





6% FCM yield, kg/d





a,bValues in same row with different superscripts differ at P<0.05

Figure 1.
Milk fat % and fat corrected milk (FCM) as influenced by feeding
of formaldehyde-treated protein meals (CON: control group,
BYPRO: formaldehyde-treated protein group)

Earlier reports have shown a significant increase in milk production in medium producing crossbred cows on feeding of cotton seed extraction as bypass protein (Chandrasekharaiah et al 2008). In line with the present finding, Yadav and Chaudhary (2004) also found an increase in milk and FCM yield in dairy animals fed formaldehyde treated ground nut cake (GNC) as a bypass protein. Likewise, Bugalia and Chaudhary (2010) reported that the average milk yield was significantly improved in lactating crossbred cows fed with formaldehyde treated sesame cake in place of untreated sesame cake in the concentrate mixture.

Bypass protein usually increases feed intake and as a consequence promotes milk production (Preston and Leng 1987). The increase in milk production may be attributed to more availability of protein for digestion in the intestine, thereby increasing supply of precursors of milk production (Mishra et al 2006). Also it was suggested that the improved milk production may be due to supply of required amino acids and metabolizable energy to the host animal at cellular level (Bugalia and Chaudhary 2010).

Several studies have shown positive responses from feeding formaldehyde-treated groundnut cake and mustard cake on milk production and fat percentage (Sampath et al 1997; Chatterjee and Walli 2003). Corroborating our results, Sampath et al (1997) found an increase in FCM in crossbred cows supplemented with formaldehyde treated GNC.



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Received 3 November 2011; Accepted 2 December 2011; Published 4 January 2012

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