Mitigating the anti-nutritional effect of polyphenols on in vitro digestibility and fermentation characteristics of browse species in north western Ethiopia

  • Shigdaf MekuriawEmail author
  • Atsushi TsunekawaEmail author
  • Toshiyoshi Ichinohe
  • Firew Tegegne
  • Nigussie Haregeweyn
  • Kobayashi Nobuyuki
  • Asaminew Tassew
  • Yeshambel Mekuriaw
  • Misganaw Walie
  • Mitsuru Tsubo
  • Toshiya Okuro
Regular Articles


Browse species are important sources of forage for livestock in Ethiopia, especially during the dry season, when the quality and quantity of green herbage is limited. However, browse species have anti-nutritional factors, such as polyphenols. This study evaluated the extent to which polyethylene glycol (PEG) can reduce the anti-nutritional effects of polyphenols whose extent is expected to vary depending on the species type and season on the in vitro fermentation of these plant samples. We selected ten browse species commonly used as livestock feed based on their tannin content, and sixty samples of the leaf and twig of these species were collected during the wet and dry seasons. The study was designed as 10 × 2 × 2 factorial arrangement with 10 browse species (Acacia nilotica, Crateva adonsonia, Dombeya torrida, Ekebergia capensis, Ensete ventricosum, Erythrina brucei, Maesa lanceolate, Sesbania sesban, Stereospermum kunthianum, and Terminalia laxiflora), 2 seasons (wet and dry) and 2 states of PEG (with and without PEG). The effects of tannin on the nutritive characteristics were also evaluated by adding PEG as a tannin-binding agent. The chemical composition and in vitro fermentation products of these samples differed significantly (p < 0.001) among browse species. Specifically, total extractable phenol (TEP) ranged from 26.3 to 250.3 g/kg, total extractable tannin (TET) from 22.8 to 210.9 g/kg, and condensed tannin (CT) from 11.1 to 141.3 g/kg, respectively. Season, species, and their interaction have a significant (p < 0.05) effect on the chemical composition and fermentation characteristics of most browse species. The addition of PEG increased gas production (GP), in vitro organic matter digestibility (IVOMD), metabolizable energy (ME) concentration, dry matter degradability (DMD), and volatile fatty acids (VFA), on average, by 76.8%, 47.9%, 42.2%, 21.2%, and 20.2%, respectively. Secondary polyphenols (TEP, TET, CT, and SCT) were significantly (p < 0.001) and negatively correlated with GP, IVOMD, ME, and VFA. Preferable species namely E. ventricosum, S. sesban, M. lanceolata, E. capensis, and A. nilotica were selected for supplementation in terms of their chemical composition, IVOMD, and mitigating effects of PEG on anti-nutritional functions of their secondary compounds. In conclusion, PEG markedly reduced the anti-nutritional effects of polyphenols and improved the in vitro fermentation of browse species harvested in contrasting seasons.


Dryland In vitro digestibility Polyethylene glycol Season Tannin, Browse species 



The authors are grateful to thank the laboratory staffs of the Arid Land Research Center, Tottori University, and Shimane University as well as the technical staff of Tottori Prefecture Industrial Technology Institute for assisting in the extraction of phenolic compounds and tannins from the leaves of browse species. The first author acknowledges scholarship support from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology.

Funding information

This research was supported by Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS), Grant Number JPMJSA1601, Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)/Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.United Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences (UGSAS)Tottori UniversityTottoriJapan
  2. 2.Amhara Regional Agricultural Research InstituteAndassa Livestock Research CenterBahir DarEthiopia
  3. 3.Arid Land Research CenterTottori UniversityTottoriJapan
  4. 4.Faculty of Life and Environmental ScienceShimane UniversityMatsue-shiJapan
  5. 5.School of Animal Science and Veterinary MedicineBahir Dar UniversityBahir DarEthiopia
  6. 6.International Platform for Dryland Research and EducationTottori UniversityTottoriJapan
  7. 7.Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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