Chemical composition and in vitro ruminal fermentation of pigeonpea and mulberry leaves

  • Jinhe Kang
  • Rong Wang
  • Shaoxun Tang
  • Min WangEmail author
  • Zhiliang Tan
  • L. A. Bernard


Mulberry and pigeonpea trees are two widely distributed trees in southwest regions of China, and grow well in summer and winter season respectively. The present study is to investigate the nutritive value of mulberry and pigeonpea leaves by using in vitro ruminal fermentation. Pigeonpea leaves were harvested in February, October, November and December, while mulberry leaves were harvested in May, July, September, October. Comparisons of chemical composition, kinetics of in vitro gas production, methane production, dry matter degradation and VFA production of pigeonpea and mulberry leaves were performed by using in vitro ruminal batch culture system. Pigeonpea and mulberry leaves had crude protein varying from 186 to 208 and 209 to 269 g/kg dry matter, respectively, and neutral detergent fiber ranging from 395 to 456 and 252 to 336 g/kg dry matter, respectively. In vitro fermentation indicated that pigeonpea leaves had lower in vitro dry matter degradation and theoretical maximum of gas production, but greater initial fractional rate of degradation and acetate to propionate ratio in comparison with mulberry leaves. Meanwhile, harvest time influenced the acetate to propionate ratio of both leaves. In conclusion, pigeonpea and mulberry leaves have protein content larger than 180 g/kg dry matter, and can be alternative protein resource for ruminants. In addition, harvest time significantly affect the fermentation pathway of these two leaves.


Chemical composition In vitro fermentation Mulberry Pigeonpea 



The financial support was received from National Natural Science Foundation of China (31561143009, 31320103917 and 31472133), Open Fund of Key Laboratory of Agro-ecological Processes in Subtropical Region, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISA2017304), State Key Laboratory of Animal Nutrition (2004DA125184F1705), China Agriculture Research System (CARS-36), Hunan province science and technology plan (2015WK3043), National key research and development program of China (2016YFD0500504, 2018YFD0501800), Youth Innovation Promotion Association CAS (2016327), CAS President’s International Fellowship Initiative (2018VBA0031), Major Project of Hunan Province (2017NK1020).


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory for Agro-Ecological Processes in Subtropical Region, National Engineering Laboratory for Pollution Control and Waste Utilization in Livestock and Poultry Production, South-Central Experimental Station of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science in Ministry of Agriculture, Institute of Subtropical AgricultureThe Chinese Academy of SciencesChangshaPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.International Livestock Research InstituteNaironiKenya

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