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Keywords:

  • Terminalia chebula;
  • Allium sativum;
  • methane emission;
  • sheep;
  • plant secondary metabolites

Summary

A study was conducted to evaluate some plant parts (already tested for their antimethanogenic activity in in vitro gas production test in the authors’ laboratory) as feed additive to combat methane emission from sheep. Sixteen male sheep with average body weight of 29.96 ± 1.69 kg (22 months of age) were divided into four groups in a randomized block design. The animals were fed on a diet containing forage to concentrate ratio of 1:1. The concentrate fraction composed (in parts) of maize grain, 32; wheat bran, 45; deoiled soybean meal, 20; mineral mixture, 2 and common salt, 1. The four treatments were control (without additive), seed pulp of Terminalia chebula (Harad), bulb of Allium sativum (Garlic) and a mixture (Mix) of the latter two in equal proportions at the rate of 1% of dry matter (DM) intake. There was no effect on DM intake due to the inclusion of these feed additives. The digestibilities of DM and organic matter tended to be higher (p < 0.1) in the groups with T. chebula and A. sativum, whereas, neutral detergent fibre (NDF), acid detergent fibre (ADF) and cellulose digestibilities were higher (p < 0.05) in all the three experimental groups compared with control. The nitrogen balance and plane of nutrition were not affected by inclusion of any of the feed additives. Methane emission (L/kg digested DM intake) as estimated by open circuit respiration chamber and methane energy loss as per cent of digestible energy intake tended to be lower in T. chebula (p = 0.09) and Mix (p = 0.08) groups compared with control. The data indicated that T. chebula showed antimethanogenic activity, whereas both T. chebula and A. sativum improved nutrient digestibility. Therefore, these two plants appear to be suitable candidates for use as feed additive to mitigate methane emission and to improve nutrient utilization by sheep.