Interpretive Summary: Nutrient digestibility, rumen microbial protein synthesis, and growth performance in sheep consuming rations containing sea buckthorn pomace.
By: Surely Wallace
In a July 2018 article published in the Journal of Animal Science, researchers studied the potential benefit of sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) pomace (SBP) on the growth performance, nutrient digestibility, and rumen microbe protein synthesis, when included in sheep feed. As a byproduct of juice processing, SBP may be useful as it retains digestible nutrients such as carbohydrates, vitamins, amino acids, and various phytochemicals e.g. flavonoids.
In this study, 40 lambs were randomly separated into four groups, each given a different diet for 90 days, as follows: 0% SBP (control), 7.8% SBP (“8SBP”), 16.0% SBP (“16SBP”), and 23.5% SBP (“24SBP”). The SBP replaced an equivalent percentage of the feed/forage diet comprised of corn, oats, wheat, soybean, and potato plants. All diets contained the same protein levels.
Results found no difference in feed efficiency across the four diets. However, dry matter intake (DMI) and average daily gain (ADG) increased with greater percent SBP in feed (e.g. DMI was 1511 g/day for control, 1548 g/day for 8SBP, 1817 g/day for 16SBP, and 1829 g/day for 24 SBP). Final body weight was also greater in lambs fed SBP than the control diet. The authors note the ideal concentration of SBP in this study was 16.0% due to crude protein increases by rumen microbes at intermediate SBP levels, and a lower nutrient digestibility at 23.5% SBP.
The results of this study suggest there may be a potential for SBP in lamb feed to benefit production. However, this study was a single, small experiment, therefore, repeated studies should be conducted in order to confirm these findings and better understand how SBP might mechanistically affect lamb growth performance, and rumen microbe function and composition.
To view the article, “Nutrient digestibility, rumen microbial protein synthesis, and growth performance in sheep consuming rations containing sea buckthorn pomace,” visit Journal of Animal Science.