Elucidation of factors associated with the maturity related decline in degradability of big bluestem cell wall

TitleElucidation of factors associated with the maturity related decline in degradability of big bluestem cell wall
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1996
AuthorsTitgemeyer, EC, Cochran, RC, Towne, EG, Armendariz, CK, Olson, KC
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Pagination648 -657
Accession NumberKNZ00571

Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) forage samples were collected from three ungrazed, annually burned pastures at 38, 58, and 97 d after burning. Cell wall material received five treatments: chlorite delignification, chlorite delignification plus alkali extraction, NaOH, NaOCH3 in methanol, or NaBH4. Untreated and treated cell walls were analyzed for carbohydrate composition (glucose, xylose, arabinose, galactose, and uronic acids), acetyl bromide lignin, acid detergent lignin, alkali-labile phenolics (p-coumaric and ferulic acids), acetyl groups, and 24- and 72-h in vitro degradabilities of neutral monosaccharides. A number of compositional features, notably concentrations of xylose, core lignin as measured by acetyl bromide lignin, alkali-labile phenolics, and acetyl groups, were well related to the decline in cell wall degradability that occurred with increasing maturity of big bluestem. p-Coumaric acid increased with increasing maturity to a greater extent than did ferulic acid. Acid detergent lignin was not well related to degradability of the cell wall for either the untreated or chemically treated cell walls. Chemical treatments failed to identify any particular cell wall component as being most inhibitory. However, all treatments improved in vitro degradability of the carbohydrate fraction, indicating that components contributing to the undegradability of big bluestem cell wall are sensitive to chemical alteration. Treatments involving alkali were most effective for improving degradability of big bluestem cell walls.