Crop and Pasture Science Crop and Pasture Science Society
Plant sciences, sustainable farming systems and food quality

Supplementation of a tropical grass diet with forage legumes and Sapindus saponaria fruits: effects on in vitro ruminal nitrogen turnover and methanogenesis

H. D. Hess, L. M. Monsalve, C. E. Lascano, J. E. Carulla, T. E. Díaz and M. Kreuzer

Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 54(7) 703 - 713
Published: 23 July 2003


In two in vitro experiments with the RUSITEC-apparatus, Brachiaria dictyoneura was tested alone and with legumes at dietary proportions of 1/3, 2/3, or 3/3 of Arachis pintoi (Expt 1) and 1/3 of Arachis pintoi, Cratylia argentea, or Calliandra calothyrsus (Expt 2). In Expt 2, all diets were evaluated with and without 80 mg/g diet of Sapindus saponaria fruits. In Expt 1, the stepwise replacement of the grass by A. pintoi curvi-linearly increased rumen fluid concentrations of ammonia, volatile fatty acids, bacteria, and protozoa. Methane release rates were 1.7, 7.3, 8.8, and 9.0 mmol/day. With increasing legume proportion, more organic matter and protein were degraded, the latter being only partially recovered as ammonia. In Expt 2, 1/3 of A. pintoi basically had the same effects as in Expt 1. Cratylia argentea was less effective in modifying the fermentation pattern. In association with a higher nutrient degradation and rumen ammonia concentration, C. argentea and A. pintoi increased methane release to about 3- and 4-fold levels. Calliandra calothyrsus reduced nutrient degradation and methane release per gram of organic matter degraded. Tannins, predominant in C. calothyrsus, might have affected methanogenesis. Sapindus saponaria reduced methanogenesis by 11% on average in grass-alone and legume-supplemented diets.

Keywords: Brachiaria dictyoneura, Arachis pintoi, Cratylia argentea, Calliandra calothyrsus, fibre, RUSITEC.

© CSIRO 2003

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