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Ruminant Nutrition and Forage Utilization
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2000;13(7): 967-973.
https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2000.967    Published online July 1, 2000.
Influence of Inclusion of Salicornia Biomass in Diets for Rams on Digestion and Mineral Balance
M. A. Abouheif, M. Al-Saiady, M. Kraidees, A. Tag Eldin, H. Metwally
A metabolism trial was conducted with 28 Najdi rams allocated into seven dietary groups to evaluate the effect of dietary inclusion of Salicornia bigelovii Torr biomass on nutrient digestibility, ruminal fluid metabolites and nitrogen and mineral balances. Either the stems (ST) or spikes (SP) of this seawater-irrigated halophyte were incorporated into complete diets at rates of 0, 10, 20 and 30% levels, replacing equal amounts of rhodesgrass hay in a ground mixed control diet. Digestibility of DM, OM, EE, NFE and fecal and urinary nitrogen were not affected by increased level of ST in the diet. As level of ST increased from 0 to 20% in the diets, CP digestibility and nitrogen retention approached their maximum (p<0.01), whereas CF digestibility reached its minimum (p<0.01). On the other hand, except for EE, digestion of all nutrients and nitrogen retention were linearly depressed (p<0.01) as SP increased in the diets from 10 to 30% level. Concentration of ammonia-N, total VFA and pH values in the rumen fluid were lower (p<0.01) with the ST- or SP-fed diets than with the control diet. Increasing level of ST or SP in the diet was associated with an increase (p<0.01) in the proportion of acetate and a decline (p<0.01) in molar percentage of propionate in the ruminal fluid. Sodium absorption increased (p<0.01) with increased ST and SP in the diets up to the 10 and 20% level, respectively, followed by constant absorption values up to the 30% level. When the level of ST in the diet gradually increased to 30%, a concomitant increased (p<0.01) in Ca and P absorption were obvious; whereas, increased level of SP in the diets from 0 to 30% resulted in noticeable (p<0.01) depression in Ca and P apparent absorption.
Keywords: Salicornia; Rams; Digestion; Mineral Balance

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