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The effect of condensed tannins in fresh sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) on in vivo and in situ digestion in sheep

Theodoridou, K., Aufrere, J., Andueza, D., Pourrat, J., Le Morvan, A., Stringano, E., Mueller-Harvey, I. and Baumont, R. (2010) The effect of condensed tannins in fresh sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) on in vivo and in situ digestion in sheep. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 160 (1-2). pp. 23-38. ISSN 0377-8401

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2010.06.007


This study focused on effects of structure, content and biological activity of condensed tannins (CT) in leaves, stems and whole plant of sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) on its in vivo and in situ digestive characteristics in sheep. Sainfoin was studied as fresh forage during the first vegetation cycle at two phenological stages (i.e., end of flowering and green seeds) and during the second vegetation cycle (i.e., start of flowering). The feeding experiment used 12 sheep; with six dosed, through the rumen cannula, with polyethylene glycol (PEG) to neutralise CT effects. Organic matter digestibility (OMD), total tract N disappearance and N balance were measured in sheep fed the whole plant. The residues of dry matter (DM) and N from nylon bags suspended in the rumen were determined on leaves and stems. Intestinal digestibility was measured using other, intestinally fistulated sheep. PEG addition and vegetation cycle increased total tract N digestibility (P<0.001) but PEG affected OMD only at the end of flowering. PEG inactivated the CT and increased urinary N excretion (P<0.05) but this was offset by lower faecal N excretion (P<0.001). Feeding sainfoin can be used to alter the form of excreted N (i.e., urine vs faeces) and thus potentially reduce environmental N pollution without affecting body N retention. Kinetic studies of total N, ammonia N (NH3-N) and volatile fatty acids (VFA) in rumen fluid were made before and 1.5, 3 and 6 h after feeding. Sainfoin CT decreased rumen fluid soluble N (P<0.05) and NH3-N (P<0.01). Ruminal N disappearance (DisN) of leaves or stems was lower in the presence of active CT compared to PEG-inactivated CT (P<0.001) for both vegetation cycles. PEG also increased intestinal digestibility (P<0.05) of leaves and stems. Leaves had lower ruminal DisN, but higher N disappearing from intestine than stems. The biological activity and content of CT in the whole plant decreased as phenological stage increased. Prodelphinidin:procyanidin (PD:PC) ratios of leaves varied with vegetation cycle and phenological stage. The molecular size of CT in the whole plant, as indicated by their mean degree of polymerisation (mDP), was lowest at the start of flowering and coincided with the higher biological activity and content of CT.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Walker Institute
Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Animal Sciences > Animal, Dairy and Food Chain Sciences (ADFCS)- DO NOT USE
ID Code:16939
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sainfoin feed value; Sheep; In vivo and in situ measurements; Tannins; Polyethylene glycol

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