In vitro assessment of ruminal fermentation, digestibility and methane production of three species of Desmanthus for application in northern Australian grazing systems

Vandermeulen, Sophie, Singh, Sultan, Ramírez-Restrepo, Carlos Alberto, Kinley, Robert D., Gardiner, Christopher P., Holtum, Joseph A., Hannah, Iain, and Bindelle, Jérôme (2018) In vitro assessment of ruminal fermentation, digestibility and methane production of three species of Desmanthus for application in northern Australian grazing systems. Crop & Pasture Science, 69 (8). pp. 797-807.

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Three species of Desmanthus adapted to the heavy clay soils of northern Australia were studied to determine their nutritive value and effects on in vitro fermentation with rumen fluid, compared to Rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) hay. Leaves and stems of D. leptophyllus cv. JCU 1, D. virgatus cv. JCU 2 and D. bicornutus cv. JCU 4 were collected in summer, winter and spring of 2014 and analysed for chemical composition. Apparent digestibility as in vitro organic matter digestibility (IVD-OM) and fermentation parameters including methane (CH4) production were measured during 72-h fermentations using rumen fluid from steer donors grazing tropical grasses and legumes. Desmanthus bicornutus was on average more digestible than both D. leptophyllus and D. virgatus at 24, 48 and 72 h of incubation. This species also demonstrated an anti-methanogenic potential, in particular when harvested in summer with a reduction in methane production of 26% compared to Rhodes grass hay after 72 h of incubation. At this time point, D. leptophyllus produced higher volatile fatty acids (VFA per g of organic matter fermented) compared to the other forages. This legume also reduced the CH4 production up to 36% compared to the Rhodes grass hay reference. However D. leptophyllus showed lower IVD-OM. Overall, Desmanthus species produced lower in vitro CH4 and lower volatile fatty acids concentration compared to the reference grass hay. These effects may be due to presence of secondary compounds such as hydrolysable tannins, condensed tannins and/or their combination in Desmanthus species. The IVD-OM was influenced by the season after 72 h of incubation; the digestibility was higher in plants collected in spring. This study suggests that contrasting fermentative profiles in Desmanthus cultivars may offer the opportunity to reduce the greenhouse gas contribution of the beef industry. The next step in demonstration of these promising in vitro results is demonstration of Desmanthus in vivo as proof of concept confirming the productivity and methane reduction ability of these legumes in the pastoral systems of Northern Australia.

Item ID: 54234
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1836-5795
Keywords: digestion, greenhouse gas, legume, reminant, tannis
Copyright Information: © CSIRO 1996-2018
Funders: Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique (FRS-FNRS), Australian Endeavour Fellowship
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2018 03:23
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3004 Crop and pasture production > 300404 Crop and pasture biochemistry and physiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8304 Pasture, Browse and Fodder Crops > 830406 Sown Pastures (excl. Lucerne) @ 100%
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