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Trop Anim Health Prod. 2009 Jan;41(1):17-24. doi: 10.1007/s11250-008-9149-y. Epub 2008 Mar 15.

The nutritive value of mulberry leaves (Morus alba) as a feed supplement for sheep.

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  • 1Department of Animal Nutrition, Agricultural University of Athens, Iera Odos 75, Athens, 11855, Greece.


A study to determine the nutritive value of mulberry (Morus alba) leaves in sheep diets was conducted. Mulberry leaves contained (g kg(-1) on dry matter basis): 163 ash, 201 crude protein, 120 crude fibre, 37 ether extracts, 479 nitrogen-free extracts, 268 neutral detergent fibre, 148 acid detergent fibre, 41 acid detergent lignin, 121 cellulose and 107 hemicellulose, while the in vitro true digestibility of dry matter was 89.8%. The nitrogen (N) solubility, determined using: a) McDougall's buffer, b) 0.02 N sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and c) 0.15 N sodium chloride (NaCl) as solvents, ranged from 11.6 to 14.9% of total N. In addition, the soluble non-protein nitrogen contributed a substantial part of total N (26.1%), the total true protein was 14.4% and the protein fractions evaluated after classical protein fractionation, were: albumins 11.1, globulins 9.7, prolamins 44.1, glutelins 8.5 and insoluble (or structural) proteins 26.6% of total N. In a digestibility trial, where mulberry leaves partially replaced lucerne hay and concentrates in wether sheep diets, there were no significant differences in dry matter, crude protein or crude fibre digestibility of the total diet. It was concluded that mulberry leaves have an appreciable potential as a protein source in sheep feeding.

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