Nitrogen metabolism of sheep and goats consuming Acacia brevispica and Sesbania sesban

Journal of Animal Science
By:  and 



We described the effects of two East African browses, Acacia brevispica and Sesbania sesban, on nitrogen metabolism of sheep and goats. The A. brevispica had a substantial amount of proanthocyanidins (condensed tannins); S. sesban did not. The browses were fed at three levels in combination with vetch (Vicia dasycarpa) and teff straw (Eragrostis abyssinica). Fecal N, N balance, and plasma urea N (PUN) were estimated with intact animals. Ruminal ammonia (RuA) and VFA concentrations were estimated with ruminally fistulated animals. Urinary N loss, PUN, RuA, and VFA concentrations were higher for S. sesban diets than for A. brevispica diets. Fecal N was highest with diets including A. brevispica due to high levels of fecal neutral-detergent insoluble N. Nitrogen retention was highest for diets including S. sesban. Nitrogen retention was adequate for A. brevispica diets because low urinary N compensated for high fecal N. Four hypotheses describe possible effects of tannins on N metabolism: 1) escape of protein from the rumen to the lower tract; 2) increased microbial yield; 3) increase in N-containing endogenous products; and 4) protein made indigestible in tannin-protein complexes. The effect of tannins in A. brevispica on N metabolism can best be described by the formation of indigestible tannin-protein complexes, although increased production of endogenous products is also possible.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Nitrogen metabolism of sheep and goats consuming Acacia brevispica and Sesbania sesban
Series title Journal of Animal Science
DOI 10.2527/1997.7541130x
Volume 75
Issue 4
Year Published 1997
Language English
Publisher Acsess
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 1130
Last page 1139