The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of various concentrations of three salts (sodium chloride (NaCl), magnesium chloride (MgCl2), and calcium chloride (CaCl2)) on the in vitro rumen fermentation of cellulose, starch, and protein substrates. Six salt concentrations were tested, separately, namely 0, 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600 mg/dL. The experiment was conducted using the completely randomized design in a 6 × 3 × 3 factorial arrangement with main effects of salt concentration and salt type (six levels of three salts (NaCl, MgCl2, or CaCl2) (0, 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600 mg/dL) into three substrates [starch, cellulose, and glucose]) with three replicates. Cellulose- and glucose-fermenting bacteria were sensitive to NaCl concentrations greater than 400 mg/dL (17.48 decisiemens per metre (dS/m)) and 800 mg/dL (20.55 dS/m) in the media, respectively. In contrast, starch-fermenting bacteria continued to grow in NaCl concentrations up to 1600 mg/dL (29.09 dS/m). Thus, it was concluded that starch-fermenting microorganisms tolerated higher concentrations of NaCl compared with the other microbial groups. Cellulose-fermenting microorganisms are less tolerant to MgCl2 in relation to the other microbial groups. Starch, cellulose-, and glucose-fermenting bacteria from cattle tolerate CaCl2 concentrations of up to 1600 mg/dL (12.26 dS/m). These results suggest that brackish water may be used for ruminants. However, it is important perform an analysis of that water and then to adjust diets to minimize the effects of types of salt and concentrations of salt on rumen microorganisms.
"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher