Sufficient supply of feed is mandatory to cope with increasing its demand amplification of livestock business. Soyabean meal (SBM) is considered as the one of the most significant source of protein in feeds worldwide as well as in sub-Saharan Africa1. But unfortunately; SBM necessities of the livestock feed industry are not being fulfilled in the majority of developing countries, including countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)2,3. Because of these reasons, they are compelled to depend on expensive SBM imports which ultimately accelerate the feed expenses. Therefore, to manage extensive animal production and for cheap feed resources, there is urgent need to focus on alternate ways for utilizing locally accessible non-conventional dietary protein sources for feeds.
The large Sourplum, Ximenia caffra, is an indigenous drought resistant4 fruit bearing tree; distributed across SSA5. Its fruit pulp has a high proportion of protein and ascorbic acid6. Chemical and in vitro experiments have evaluated the potential X. caffra seed as an alternative dietary protein source7,8. But; chemical analyses and in vitro investigations don’t support the nutritional value of alternative feeds in vivo.
Eliton Chivandi and fellow scientists conducted a study to calculate, in vivo potential of defatted X. caffra kernel meal to replace to SBM by using Sprague Dawley (SD) rats to model monogastric animals. For this purpose five diets were formulated wherein XCKM replaced SBM on a crude protein basis at 0, 25, 50, 75 and 100%. Scientists subjected 20 adult male SD rats to the 5 diets in the digestibility trial. After a 12-day adaptation period feed and nutrient intake, faeces and urine output were determined over a 5-day collection period. Researchers also calculated the Apparent Total Tract Digestibility (ATTD) of nutrients and nitrogen absorption and retention. While in the growth trial, 40 weanling male SD rats were randomly exposed to the five dietary treatments and fed for 38 days. The rats were weighed twice weekly. Chivandi and team removed the gastrointestinal viscera following euthanasia to evaluate their macro-morphometry.
Scientists concluded that defatted Ximenia caffra kernel meal can be utilized as an alternate of SBM as a protein source in the diets of adult male SD rat without compromising ATTD of nutrients and the absorption and retention of nitrogen. Consequently, it can be hypothesized that XCKM has the potential to substitute SBM for mature monogastric animals. Moreover, it was also concluded that care is mandatory because elevated levels of dietary XCKM negatively impact femora and tibiae mass and density which might be an sign of compromised long bone health.
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