Submitted to: Agronomy Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 26, 1995
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: A potential strategy to improve utilization of plant protein involves matching the rapidly degraded protein with an equally rapidly degraded carbohydrate (RDC) source such that energy would not be limiting to rumen microbes. Pectic polysaccharides represent a potential source of RDC, and a significant portion of the total structural polysaccharides in forage legume cell walls are pectic materials. Using laboratory procedures, we examined the variability of pectic polysaccharide concentration (PPC) in walls of leaves and stems of 14 populations of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) and one population each of red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) and birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.). For alfalfa and red clover, stem PPC exceeded leaf PPC at the bud stage of growth for both the first and second harvest. However, at the 50% bloom stage of growth, PPC of the leaves was greater than in the stems in the first harvest only. PPC of trefoil leaves swas greater than in the stems in the first harvest, but the reverse was true in the second harvest. Significant variation was detected in both leaf and stem PPC among the fourteen alfalfa populations.