Interpretive Summary: Inclusion of Berberis vulgaris leaf in the diet of fattening lambs: effects on performance, nutrient intake, rumen fermentation, and carcass traits
By: Seyed Morteza Vaghar Seyedin, Navid Ghavipanje, Mohsen Mojtahedi, Seyyed Homayoun Farhangfar, Einar Vargas-Bello-Pérez
Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) leaf (BVL) is an agricultural by-product rich in plant secondary compounds such as alkaloids, flavonoids, anthocyanins, and tannin. The present study was aimed to first, evaluate in vitro nutritional value of BVL and second, explore the effects of BVL inclusion in finishing lambs diet (at levels of 0%, 7.5%, and 15% dry matter [DM] of diet), in partial replacement of alfalfa hay, on performance, carcass characteristics, and ruminal fermentation. BVL had less crude protein, ash, and natural detergent fiber than alfalfa hay, but more phenolic compounds and total tannin. The dietary inclusion of BVL at 7.5% and 15% DM of diet enhanced dry matter intake in fattening lambs and affected apparent digestibility. The relationship between nutrient intake and digestibility (DM, organic matter, neutral detergent fiber, and acid detergent fiber) was optimal with 7.5% BVL inclusion. The highest levels of dietary BVL were associated with lower weight gain; however, the production costs were reduced by BVL inclusion, and return per kilogram body weight gain was improved. However, additional trials are needed to refine the potential effects BVL on ruminal fermentation, methane emission and quality of products.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.