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Condensed tannin content of several shrub species from a mountain area in northern Spain, and its relationship to various indicators of nutritive value

Condensed tannin content of several shrub species from a mountain area in northern Spain, and its relationship to various indicators of nutritive value

Animal Feed Science and Technology 95(3-4): 215-226, 25 February

ISSN/ISBN: 0377-8401

DOI: 10.1016/s0377-8401(01)00323-6

The condensed tannin (CT) content of eight shrub species (Cytisus purgans, C. scoparius, Genista florida, G. occidentalis, Calluna vulgaris, Erica arborea, E. australis and Juniperus communis) from a grazing mountain area of northern Spain was analysed and related to various indicators of nutritive value. Chemical composition, in vitro gas production, OM degradation and true DM digestibility were evaluated in samples collected in January and June. With the exception of two samples comprised of considerable amounts of flowers, the shrub legumes examined had low contents of CT (less than 6.51 g quebracho tannin equivalents/kg DM) which would generally be considered unlikely to affect digestion of nutrients in the gastrointestinal tract of animals. However, Ericaceae species and J. communis, which are evergreen species, showed a high CT content (higher than 176 g quebracho tannin equivalents/kg DM) throughout the year. CT were negatively correlated (P<0.05) with OM degradation and cumulative gas production, and positively correlated with lag time, which is consistent with the extensively reported suppressive effect of condensed tannins on rumen degradation and on the interference of these compounds with microbial attachment to feeds. The positive correlation between these plant secondary compounds and the partitioning factor (OM degradation/total gas production) indicates that the effect of CT is more strongly reflected in the reduction of gas production than in the reduction of OM degradation.

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