Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 17–24 | Cite as

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

  • K. Kandylis
  • I. HadjigeorgiouEmail author
  • P. Harizanis
Original Paper


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.


Mulberry leaves Nutritive value Sheep Nitrogen solubility Protein fractions 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the “Inovative System for High Quality Cocoon Production” project (funded through European Union, Contract No QLK5-CT-2002-71165) for the present investigation. Moreover, the authors express their sincere gratitude to Prof. G. Zervas for his kind advice and to Mr. M. Goliomitis for his assistance on mulberry leaves harvesting, preparation and sampling. Thanks are also expressed to Mr. C. Petropoulos for his technical support through the digestibility trial.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal NutritionAgricultural University of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.Department of SericultureAgricultural University of AthensAthensGreece

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