Nutritional Characteristics of Some Medicinal-Range Plant Species Grazed by Small Ruminants in Torbat-e Jam Region of Iran
Rangeland plants provide most of the nutritional requirements of small ruminants in Iran. Data about the nutritional value of some range plants are scarce. Hence, we investigated the nutritional characteristics of four range plants (Pulicaria gnaphalodes, Amaranthus blitoides, Heliotropium europaeum, and Solanum nigrum) through different laboratory analyses. In 2021, twenty samples of each plant species were randomly collected in the flowering stage from mountain pastures of Torbat-e Jam, Iran. We observed different ranges of dry matter (15.98–45.23 %), crude protein (8.59–23.31 %), ether extract (1.88–4.5 %), neutral detergent fiber (31.52–64.71 %), acid detergent fiber (26.97–47.05 %), ash (6.09–16.06 %), and non-fiber carbohydrates contents (13.99–31.55 %) among the range plants species. The mineral compounds including calcium (33.28 g/kg DM), phosphorus (2.28 g/kg DM), magnesium (13.61 g/kg DM), potassium (25.83 g/kg DM), iron (501.89 mg/kg DM), and manganese (35.70 mg/kg DM) were the highest in H. europaeum, P. gnaphalodes, H. europaeum, S. nigrum, H. europaeum, and S. nigrum, respectively. Solanum nigrum exhibited the lowest potential gas production (23.50 ml/200 mg DM). P. gnaphalodes and A. blitoides had the highest values of mtabolizable energy (6.89 and 6.77 MJ/kg DM, respectively). It is concluded that the studied plants can easily supply the maintenance requirements of small ruminants. Based on the present results, it seems that the nutritional value of P. gnaphalodes and A. blitoides was superior to H. europaeum and S. nigrum. Excessive consumption of H. europaeum due to its toxic effects should be done with more caution.