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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Effect of Dimethyl Sulfoxide on Forage Digestibility1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 76 No. 6, p. 996-999
    Received: Feb 7, 1984

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  1. J. R. Forwood and
  2. C. E. Owensby2



Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) has found use in agriculture as a carrier for plant toxicants and nutrients mainly due to its membrane penetrating properties. Our objective was to determine the effect of DMSO on forage digestibility. Effects of DMSO on digestibility were determined by adding 0.0, 8.5, 42.3, and 423 mM DMSO L−1 to in vitro dry matter digestion tubes (IVDMD) containing big bluestem (Andropogon gerardi Vitman) harvested in mid-July. Concentrations of 0.0, 4.2, 8.5, and 423 mM DMSO L−1 were also added to tubes containing mid- and late July harvested big bluestem and late July harvested indiangrass [Sorghastrum nutans (L.) Nash]. The latter DMSO rates were also added to in vitro tubes containing fall harvested tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.) cultivars Kentucky 31, Kenhy, MO 96, and ‘Hallmark’ orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.). Rates of 0, 1.12, 5.60, and 22.4 kg DMSO ha−1 were foliarly applied to potted big bluestem plants in the late vegetative stage and to fleldstanding (uncut) ‘Kentucky 31’ tall fescue and ‘Hallmark’ orchardgrass in mid-October. Soil type was a Mexico silt loam (fine, montmorillonitic, mesic Udollic Ochraqualf). Forage from the foliar application studies were harvested 24, 48, and 168 h after DMSO application. Dimethyl sulfoxide at 8.5 and 42.3 mM L−1 significantly increased big bluestem in vitro digestibility while 42.3 mM L−1 was most effective on indiangrass. The 423 mM L−1 rate severely reduced digestibility of big bluestem. In vitro digestibility of cool-season grasses was significantly increased by 8.5 and 42.3 mM DMSO L−1, but not as greatly as with warm-season grasses. There was no significant digestibility increase of warm or cool-season grasses due to foliarly applied DMSO.

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