Dry chemical processing and ensiling of rice straw to improve its quality for use as ruminant feed
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In this study, changes in the chemical composition, pH, cell wall and degradability of ensiled rice straw were investigated when treated with alkali, acid, oxidant agents (1–11 %, w/w) and a combination of an oxidant with either an alkali (ALHP) or an acid (ACHP). The findings of the study revealed that ALHP had a lower efficiency in enhancing fibre degradability compared to alkali alone. Oxidant treatment showed no detectable changes in pH, dry matter (DM) and phenolic compound (PC) solubility, or in silica and fibre content, but led to increased esterified groups formed within the cell wall constituents (hemicellulose and lignin). Increasing acid concentration led to an exponential change in both pH and solubility of DM and hemicelluloses while it quadratically increased PC and silica solubility. Moreover, crystallinity, hydrogen bonding and esterification were enhanced under high acid concentrations (11 %), but decreased under mild acid conditions (5 %). Increased alkalinity led to the linear enhancement of DM and PC solubility. Solubility of silica and hemicellulose did not exhibit any significant changes with alkali concentration above 7 %. A gradual enhancement (29 %) was observed in ruminal DM degradability with increasing oxidant concentration, whereas exponential (91 %) and quadratic (23 %) enhancements were observed with alkaline and acid treatments, respectively. Treatment with acid showed observable reductions in the degradability of both cellulose and hemicellulose, whereas oxidant treatment reduced only that of hemicellulose. Treatment with 7 % alkali (pH ∼ 12) followed by ensiling appeared to be a promising process for improving rice straw quality.
KeywordsCell wall Dry processing Rice straw Ruminal degradability
The authors would like to acknowledge Iran National Science Foundation and Isfahan Jihad-e-Agriculture for their financial support of this study. Our thanks also go to Dr. Ezzatollah Roustazadeh, from ELC of IUT, and Glenn Nader from California University for having edited the final version of this manuscript.
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