Effect of Tannin and Species Variation on In vitro Digestibility, Gas, and Methane Production of Tropical Browse Plants

  • Gemeda, Belete Shenkute (Department of Animal and wildlife Sciences, University of Pretoria) ;
  • Hassen, A. (Department of Animal and wildlife Sciences, University of Pretoria)
  • Received : 2014.05.06
  • Accepted : 2014.08.23
  • Published : 2015.02.01


Nineteen tanniferous browse plants were collected from South Africa to investigate their digestibility, gas production (GP) characteristics and methane production. Fresh samples were collected, dried in forced oven, and ground and analyzed for nutrient composition. In vitro GP and in vitro organic matter digestibility (IVOMD) were determined using rumen fluid collected, strained and anaerobically prepared. A semi-automated system was used to measure GP by incubating the sample in a shaking incubator at $39^{\circ}C$. There was significant (p<0.05) variation in chemical composition of studied browses. Crude protein (CP) content of the species ranged from 86.9 to 305.0 g/kg dry matter (DM). The neutral detergent fiber (NDF) ranged from 292.8 to 517.5 g/kg DM while acid detergent fiber (ADF) ranged from 273.3 to 495.1 g/kg DM. The ash, ether extract, non-fibrous carbohydrate, neutral detergent insoluble nitrogen, and acid detergent insoluble nitrogen and CP were negatively correlated with methane production. Methane production was positively correlated with NDF, ADF, cellulose and hemi-cellulose. Tannin decreased GP, IVOMD, total volatile fatty acid and methane production. The observed low methanogenic potential and substantial ammonia generation of some of the browses might be potentially useful as rumen manipulating agents. However, a systematic evaluation is needed to determine optimum levels of supplementation in a mixed diet in order to attain a maximal depressing effect on enteric $CH_4$ production with a minimal detrimental effect on rumen fermentation of poor quality roughage based diet.


Digestibility;Gas Production;Methane;Ammonia;Volatile Fatty Acids


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