Interpretive Summary: Productive performance and cost benefits of feeding wistar albino rats with processed tropical sickle pod (Senna obtusifolia) leaf meal-based diets
By: Anne Wallace
There is great need for more affordable livestock feedstuffs in Nigeria. The tropical sickle pod (Senna obtusifolia) is a prolific weed which may also be useful in livestock feed. Leaves from S. obtusifolia are nutrient rich but paradoxically also contain antinutrients, such as tannins, which can make them toxic. Processing however may make the leaves digestible.
Senna obtusifolia leaf meal (SOLM) was processed and fed to albino Wistar rats for a total of 28 days in this April 2020 Translational Animal Science study. The authors’ goal was to determine if SOLM-based feed was more cost effective than standard feed, and to see how different methods of processing potentially impacted performance.
Rats were fed one of five diets. The control diet had no SOLM, whereas the four experimental diets had 20% SOLM, each processed in different ways: (1) sun-dried, (2) boiled, (3) fresh fermented, or (4) boiled + fermented.
There were no differences in production performance or weight gain between rats fed the five different diets in this study. However, feed intake was greatest in rats on the control diet, followed by rats on the SOLM diet with leaves processed by a boiled + fermentation combination. All SOLM-based diets were more cost effective compared to the control diet.
The SOLM-based diet made with leaves processed by a combination of boiling and fermenting was both more cost effective and had minimal impacts on feed intake, in Wistar albino rats. Therefore, further study into SOLM-based feed is warranted. Determining the cost effectiveness and production performance of SOLM-based feed in livestock may also be a potential area of future study.