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Productive aspects and methane emission in Santa Inês sheep supplemented with the legume Macrotyloma axillare

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Paulo de Mello Tavares Lima
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: Piracicaba.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Helder Louvandini; Rosa Toyoko Shiraishi Frighetto; Luciana Gerdes; Cibele Longo; Débora Botequio Moretti
Advisor: Helder Louvandini; Luciana Gerdes

Using legumes in ruminant production system may provide benefits such as improvement in animal performance; decrease in methane (CH4) emissions, mainly due to the presence of tannins; and increase in nitrogen soil availability, due to the fixation of this element carried out by these plants. Macrotiloma (Macrotyloma axillare - NO 279) is a tropical legume which is characterized for presenting low concentrations of tannins, providing reduced risks of antinutritional effects, but still has few studies regarding its effects on ruminants. The studies described here aimed to determine the effects of macrotiloma tannins on the in vitro ruminal fermentation, and to evaluate apparent digestibility, productive performance, CH4 emission, ruminal fermentative parameters, carcass characteristics and fatty acids profile of the meat in sheep fed this legume. At the first study, an in vitro bioassay was performed to evaluate gas production and ruminal fermentation, while an in vivo trial was carried out to determine apparent digestibility of nutrients using 12 ewes, divided into 2 treatments: exclusive tropical grass hay diet (control - CON); and tropical grass hay diet supplemented with macrotiloma hay (macrotiloma - MAC) (grass:legume, 75-25). In the in vitro assay, reduced total gases (TGP) and CH4 production were observed in the samples incubated without polyethylene glycol (PEG), that is, those which were subject to effects of tannins (p < 0.05) and in the digestibility trial, increased crude protein (CP) digestibility and ruminal ammoniacal nitrogen (NH3-N), as well as reduced protozoa count were observed for the ewes fed MAC (p < 0.05). In the second study, a 90 days growth performance assay was performed, with 14 Santa Inês lambs divided into 2 treatment groups, CON and MAC, as previously described. In addition to growth performance, CH4 emission by using the sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) tracer technique, ruminal fermentative parameters, carcass characteristics and fatty acids profile of meat were evaluated. No difference (p > 0.05) was observed between the lambs of the groups CON and MAC for dry matter intake (DMI), average daily gain (ADG), CH4 emission, short chain fatty acids production, carcass characteristics as well as for fatty acids profile of meat. Evaluating ruminal fermentative parameters, increased concentration of NH3-N in the rumen fluid and reduction of both, protozoa count and relative abundance of methanogens were observed for the animals fed MAC (p < 0.05) when compared to those fed CON. Even though macrotiloma has not influenced productive performance and CH4 emission, the decrease observed for in vitro CH4 production and in vivo protozoa count, as well as the increased NH3-N production and the reduction in methanogens have denoted potential to macrotiloma as a ruminant feed and as an option for being evaluated in further studies regarding CH4 mitigation in the production system (AU)

FAPESP's process: 13/02814-5 - Productive aspects and methane emission by Santa Inês sheep kept on tropical grass - legume consortium pasture
Grantee:Paulo de Mello Tavares Lima
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate