BLASIUS NCHE AZUHNWI, ELLEN HOFFMANN, KLAUS BECKER
University of Hohenheim, Institute of Animal Production in the Tropics and Subtropics, Germany
The seed of Moringa oleifera Lam, a multipurpose tropical tree, is believed to harbour potential to overcome the excessive breakdown of proteins in the rumen for a `protein sparing effect' of the seed extract was reported in vitro. To avoid laborious processing and associated yield losses during extraction, this study aimed at characterising the whole Moringa seed and its various fractions for example: kernel, defatted kernel, defatted seed and shell, with respect to rumen proteolysis in vitro, on a standard substrate background representing a concentrate rich diet. The bioactivity of seed fractions, included at 18% (w/w), was investigated in 12 h batch incubation, with regular sampling and determination of general parameters (gas production and SCFA yield) and protein specific parameters (iso-SCFA, soluble protein concentration, protein degradation rates and ammonium). While all tested fractions had some impact on fermentation parameters; the defatted kernel stood out as fraction with highest efficacy. It significantly (p < 0.001) reduced iso-SCFA yields to 45% and ammonium (p < 0.05) to 80% compared to control. Soluble protein concentration at 12 h were significantly (p < 0.001) increased to 325% while protein degradation rates were significantly (p < 0.001) reduced to 20% compared to control. The effects produced by defatted kernel were similar to those obtained from monensin, a feedlot antibiotic used in this study as a positive control. When dosages of other Moringa seed fractions were increased to obtain equivalent amounts to 18% (w/w) inclusion of defatted kernel, similar effects to defatted kernel were obtained for rumen fermentation parameters. These results suggest that Moringa seed fractions when included in vivo diets could improve nitrogen utilisation, decrease the input cost by sparing protein in the diet thereby enhancing animal productivity. As a potential alternative to antibiotic feed additives previously applied in intensive livestock production systems; the tropical Moringa plant could become an export item from developing countries in future.
Keywords: Moringa seed fractions, proteolysis, rumen fermentation