Fescue toxicosis impacts beef cattle production via reductions in weight gain and muscle development. Isoflavone supplementation has displayed potential for mitigating these effects. The objective of the current study was to evaluate isoflavone supplementation with fescue seed consumption on rumen and serum metabolomes. Angus steers (n = 36) were allocated randomly in a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of treatments including endophyte-infected (E+) or endophyte-free (E−) tall fescue seed, with (P+) or without (P−) isoflavones. Steers were provided a basal diet with fescue seed for 21 days, while isoflavones were orally administered daily. Following the trial, blood and rumen fluid were collected for metabolite analysis. Metabolites were extracted and then analyzed by UPLC-MS. The MAVEN program was implemented to identify metabolites for MetaboAnalyst 4.0 and SAS 9.4 statistical analysis. Seven differentially abundant metabolites were identified in serum by isoflavone treatment, and eleven metabolites in the rumen due to seed type (p < 0.05). Pathways affected by treatments were related to amino acid and nucleic acid metabolism in both rumen fluid and serum (p < 0.05). Therefore, metabolism was altered by fescue seed in the rumen; however, isoflavones altered metabolism systemically to potentially mitigate detrimental effects of seed and improve animal performance.

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Published in Toxins, v. 12, issue 12, 744.

© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This research was funded by the University of Tennessee CVM, Center for Excellence in Livestock and Human Diseases.

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The following are available online at http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6651/12/12/744/s1, Supplementary File 1: Means and standard error of the means of all metabolites in the rumen fluid between treatment groups; Supplementary File 2: Means and standard error of the means of all metabolites in the serum between treatment groups.

The supplementary files are also available for download as the additional file listed at the end of this record.

toxins-12-00744-s001.zip (45 kB)
Supplementary files