In vitro gas production and nitrogen degradability of tannin-containing tree fruits in response to incremental levels of polyethylene glycol
Mlambo, V., Mould, F. L., Sikosana, J., Smith, T., Owen, E. and Mueller-Harvey, I. (2006) In vitro gas production and nitrogen degradability of tannin-containing tree fruits in response to incremental levels of polyethylene glycol. UNISWA Journal of Agriculture, 14 (1). pp. 120-131. ISSN 1021-0873
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This study was designed to determine the response of in vitro fermentation parameters to incremental levels of polyethylene glycol (PEG) when tanniniferous tree fruits (Dichrostachys cinerea, Acacia erioloba, A. erubiscens, A. nilotica and Piliostigma thonningii) were fermented using the Reading Pressure Technique. The trivalent ytterbium precipitable phenolics content of fruit substrates ranged from 175 g/kg DM in A. erubiscens to 607 g/kg DM in A. nilotica, while the soluble condensed tannin content ranged from 0.09 AU550nm/40mg in A. erioloba to 0.52 AU550nm/40 mg in D. cinerea. The ADF was highest in P. thonningii fruits (402 g/kg DM) and lowest in A. nilotica fruits (165 g/kg DM). Increasing the level of PEG caused an exponential rise to a maximum (asymptotic) for cumulative gas production, rate of gas production and nitrogen degradability in all substrates except P. thonningii fruits. Dry matter degradability for fruits containing higher levels of soluble condensed tannins (D. cinerea and P. thonningii), showed little response to incremental levels of PEG after incubation for 24 h. The minimum levels of PEG required to maximize in vitro fermentation of tree fruits was found to be 200 mg PEG/g DM of sample for all tree species except A. erubiscens fruits, which required 100 mg PEG/g DM sample. The study provides evidence that PEG levels lower than 1 g/g DM sample can be used for in vitro tannin bioassays to reduce the cost of evaluating non-conventional tanniniferous feedstuffs used in developing countries in the tropics and subtopics. The use of in vitro nitrogen degradability in place of the favoured dry matter degradability improved the accuracy of PEG as a diagnostic tool for tannins in in vitro fermentation systems.