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Original Article

Chemical Composition and in vitro Nutrient Digestibility of Sulla aculeolata subsp. aculeolata and Sulla aculeolata subsp. mauritanica from Semi-arid Rangelands of the Mediterranean Area



This study focuses on the evaluation of the chemical composition and in vitro nutrient digestibility of two forage legumes namely, Sulla aculeolata subsp. aculeolata and Sulla aculeolata subsp. mauritanica. from the semi-arid rangelands of the Mediterranean area. For the first time, a study has been conducted to determine the nutritive value of these two pasture forages. Plants were harvested at the flowering stage from two distinct regions of Morocco, namely Beni Chiker and Saïdia. Samples were wilted in the field, oven-dried, and assayed for chemical composition, in vitro organic matter and crude protein digestibility (IVOMD and IVCPD). The results showed that both subspecies were a good source of crude protein up to 13 %DM at the early flowering stage and registered significant differences regarding their fiber contents, where S. aculeolata subsp. aculeolata appear very fibrous (ADF 39.09 %DM and ADL 15.66 %DM) resulting in a decrease of IVOMD (49.04 %OM) and IVCPD (45.54 %DM) as compared to S. aculeolata subsp. mauritanica., which recorded lower values of ADF (24.30 %DM) and ADL (8.62 %DM) and the higher values of IVOMD (74.76 %OM) and IVCPD (56.23 %DM). The use of Sulla aculeolata spp., particularly Sulla aculeolata subsp. mauritanica as a forage crop is suitable to enhance pasture productivity and to ensure animal nutrition of small ruminants in Mediterranean pastures.



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