Division of Food Production and Society

Legumes and seaweed as alternative protein sources for sheep

Finished Last updated: 10.05.2020
End: dec 2017
Start: jan 2014

The main objective of this project is to identify alternative protein sources,where locally produced legumes and seaweed seems to be the most suitable, sustainable and environmental friendly sources as alternatives to imported soya.

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Foto: V. Lind
Status Concluded
Start - end date 01.01.2014 - 31.12.2017
Project manager Vibeke Lind
Division Division of Food Production and Society
Department Grassland and Livestock
Total budget 7997000

The project will challenge farmers and public authorities to the issue between the uses of imported versus locally produced feed ingredients in Norwegian livestock production. The social science approach will be followed up by experiments of such ingredients to evaluate their suitability in terms of nutritional value, effect on methane gas emissions and animal health on sheep. The prohibition in the use of animal and fish protein subsequent to the BSE crisis in the 1990's produced a gap in the supply of protein to ruminants.

The Norwegian meat production is highly depending on imported protein sources and soya became the most suitable protein source. However, in 1996 the Norwegian government forbid import and use of GMO-ingredients in animal feeds. The increasing demand for feed worldwide includes also that of GMO-free soya which subsequently is difficult to find.

Focus for covering the demand for protein sources in Norwegian concentrate should be put on locally produced products such as legumes and seaweed. With sheep used as the experimental animal, the project will screen and investigate a number of legumes and red and green seaweed to determine the species best suited as alternative protein sources.

The project will map characteristics important for a high growth rate in lambs; reducing the emission of enteric methane and reduce the burden of gastro-intestinal nematodes.

The project will include a work-package addressing the individual and managerial perceptions on obstacles and opportunities following an altered protein supply change. The results are expected to supplement and stimulate the production of environmental friendly and locally produced protein sources in the Arctic region.

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Høsting kvitkløver i mini-rundballer. Foto: V. Lind

Publications in the project

To document

Abstract

The use of seaweeds in animal diets is not new. However, little is known about the feed value of seaweed, both in terms of chemical composition and protein digestibility, and regarding variation between species and season. In this study, eight seaweed species of the genus Acrosiphonia, Alaria, Laminaria, Mastocarpus, Palmaria, Pelvetia, Porphyra, and Ulva were sampled in spring (March) and autumn (October and November) 2014 at the coast of Bodø in Northern Norway, and were analysed for chemical composition, in situ rumen degradability and total tract crude protein (CP) digestibility. Ash content in dry matter (DM) was generally high (overall mean 190 g/kg in DM) and varied considerably, between species (P < 0.01) and between seasons (P = 0.02). CP concentration in DM varied both between species (P < 0.0001) and seasons (P < 0.01). Highest CP in DM was found for Porphyra (350 g/kg DM) and lowest for Pelvetia (90 g/kg DM). Spring samples were higher in CP than autumn samples. The effective degradability estimated at 5% rumen passage rate (ED5) of CP varied between species (P < 0.0001) but not between seasons (P = 0.10). The highest ED5 of CP was found for Alaria (550 g/kg CP) and lowest for Ulva (240 g/kg CP). Digestible rumen escape protein (DEP) varied significantly between species (P < 0.0001) but not between seasons (P = 0.06); highest DEP was found for Ulva (530 g/kg CP) and Porphyra (500 g/kg CP). Based on our results, Acrosiphonia, Alaria, Laminaria, Mastocarpus and Palmaria can supply the rumen with high amounts of rumen degradable protein, while Porphyra and Ulva can be used as a source of digestible bypass protein. Pelvetia had a very low degradability and should not be used to feed dairy cows.

To document

Abstract

Seaweeds have potentials as alternative feed for ruminants, but there is a limited knowledge on their nutritive value. Seven seaweed species collected along the coast above the Arctic circle of Norway, both in spring and autumn, were assessed for nutrients and total polyphenols (TEP) content, gas production kinetics and in vitro rumen fermentation in batch cultures of ruminal microorganisms. The seaweeds were three red species (Mastocarpus stellatus, Palmaria palmata and Porphyra sp.), three brown species (Alaria esculenta, Laminaria digitata and Pelvetia canaliculata) and one green species (Acrosiphonia sp.). Additionally, the abundance and diversity of total bacteria, protozoa and archaea in the cultures with the three red seaweeds collected in spring were analyzed by quantitative PCR and PCR-DGGE, respectively. The crude protein (CP) content varied widely. Pelvetia had the greatest (P < 0.001) ether extract (EE) content. Non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) content varied from 135 to 541 g/kg DM with brown seaweeds having the greatest values. Ash and CP contents were higher in spring than in autumn (P = 0.020 and 0.003, respectively), whereas concentrations of EE and NSC were not affected by collecting season (P = 0.208–0.341). The TEP values ranged from 1.46 to 50.3 mg/g dry matter (DM), and differed (P < 0.001) among seaweed species and collecting season, being greater in autumn than in spring. The DM effective degradability (DMED), estimated from gas production parameters for a rumen passage rate of 3.0% per h, ranged from 424 to 652 g/kg, the highest values were recorded for Mastocarpus stellatus and Porphyra sp. The lowest DMED values were registered for Pelvetia canaliculata and Acrosiphonia sp. In 24-h incubations (500 mg DM), Palmaria palmata had the highest (P < 0.05) volatile fatty acids (VFA) and methane production (4.34 and 0.761 mmol, respectively) and the lowest (P < 0.05) final pH values and acetate to propionate ratios (6.57 and 2.34, respectively). There were no differences (P > 0.05) among the other seaweeds in VFA production, but Porphyra sp. had the second highest methane production (P < 0.05; 0.491 mmol) compared with the other seaweeds (0.361 mmol; averaged value). The methane/total VFA ratio was not affected (P > 0.05) by either seaweed species or the collection season. Higher final pH (P < 0.05) and lower (P < 0.05) methane and VFA production, ammonia-N concentrations and DMED values were promoted by the fermentation of seaweed collected in autumn compared with those from spring. Among the red seaweeds, there were no species-specific differences (P > 0.05) in the abundance or the diversity of total bacteria, protozoa and archaea. In the PCR-DGGE analysis, samples were separated by the incubation run for all microbial populations analyzed, but not by seaweed species. The results indicate that seaweed species differ markedly in their in vitro rumen degradation, and that samples collected in autumn had lower rumen degradability than those collected in spring.

To document

Abstract

The potential of seaweeds as alternative protein source was investigated in relation to their amino acid (AA) profiles and the ruminal and total tract digestibility of these AAs. Three red (Mastocarpus stellatus, Palmaria palmata, and Porphyra sp.), four brown (Alaria esculenta, Laminaria digitata, Pelvetia canaliculata, and Saccharina latissima), and two green (Cladophora rupestris. and Ulva sp.) seaweed species were used in this study (hereafter, referred to by Genus name only). All seaweeds were collected in Bodø, Northern Norway, during Spring and Autumn in 2014 and 2015, except Ulva, which was only sampled in Autumn of both years, and Saccharina which was not sampled in Spring 2014. All the samples were studied for AA concentration. Six species (Cladophora, Laminaria, Mastocarpus, Palmaria, Porphyra and Ulva) were selected for the more resource demanding in situ study. Species and season interactively affected the content of total AA in crude protein in different seaweeds investigated (P=0.02), with values ranging from 67.2 for Laminaria in Spring to 90.2 gAA/16 g N for Ulva in Autumn. in situ AA degradability was also species specific. The seasonality of total AA in crude protein of different seaweed species mostly did not affect their ruminal degradability, except for alanine, while species and season interactively affected proline’s ruminal degradability. The total tract degradability showed that for Laminaria and Mastocarpus, methionine followed by leucine, isoleucine, histidine and lysine, were protected against rumen degradation. These protections seemed to be acid labile allowing digestion in the lower digestive tract. However, due to high indigestible fractions, these two seaweeds provided low amounts of AA to the intestines. Total tract AA digestibility values were the highest for Porphyra (906 g/kg) followed by Palmaria (843 g/kg) and the green seaweeds. To conclude, Laminaria and Mastocarpus are beneficial sources for bypass protein supply as they contain AA protected against rumen degradation. Based on their amount of AA and their AA degradability, Porphyra, followed by Palmaria and the green seaweeds (Ulva and Cladophora) can be considered as relevant sources of protein for ruminants.

To document

Abstract

This study was designed to analyze the chemical composition and in vitro rumen fermentation of eight seaweed species (Brown: Alaria esculenta, Laminaria digitata, Pelvetia canaliculata, Saccharina latissima; Red: Mastocarpus stellatus, Palmaria palmata and Porphyra sp.; Green: Cladophora rupestris) collected in Norway during spring and autumn. Moreover, the in vitro ruminal fermentation of seventeen diets composed of 1:1 oat hay:concentrate, without (control diet) or including seaweeds was studied. The ash and N contents were greater (p < 0.001) in seaweeds collected during spring than in autumn, but autumn-seaweeds had greater total extractable polyphenols. Nitrogen in red and green seaweeds was greater than 2.20 and in brown seaweeds, it was lower than 1.92 g/kg DM. Degradability after 24 h of fermentation was greater in spring seaweeds than in autumn, with Palmaria palmata showing the greatest value and Pelvetia canaliculata the lowest. Seaweeds differed in their fermentation pattern, and autumn Alaria esculenta, Laminaria digitata, Saccharina latissima and Palmaria palmata were similar to high-starch feeds. The inclusion of seaweeds in the concentrate of a diet up to 200 g/kg concentrate produced only subtle effects on in vitro ruminal fermentation.

To document

Abstract

The aim of the present work was to investigate the potential of Porphyra sp. as an alternative source of protein to soybean meal in diets for sheep. Our experimental treatments included a control diet (CON) based on grass silage and crushed oats and three diets containing protein supplements, clover silage (CLO), soybean meal (SOY) or Porphyra sp. (POR) to increase dietary crude protein concentrations. We studied its effects on rumen fermentation, growth rate and methane emissions. Ruminal fermentation characteristics, kinetics of gas production and methane production were studied in vitro by using batch cultures inoculated with rumen inoculum from sheep. There were no differences among diets in total volatile fatty acids (VFA) production or in the VFA profile in vitro. Across treatments, we measured no differences in methane production either in vitro or in vivo, and we saw no noticeable antimethanogenic effect of Porphyra sp. The present in vivo trial with lambs showed no differences in average daily weight gain when fed diets including Porphyra sp. or soybean meal diets (250 and 254 g/d, respectively). We conclude that Porphyra sp. has a protein value similar to high-quality protein sources like soybean meal.