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Crop Science Abstract -

Section to Slide Technique for Study of Forage Anatomy and Digestion


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 22 No. 2, p. 444-446
    Received: Mar 24, 1981

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  1. Danny E. Akin



A section to slide technique (SST) is reported for light microscopic observation of forage tissues digested by rumen microorganisms which will permit rapid evaluation of many samples. Leaf blades of orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.) and bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon L. (Pers.)] were embedded in a cryostat using ice as the embedding matrix. Thin sections were cut 16-µ thick and the ribbons of plant tissue and accompanying ice were air-dried on double-stick, transparent tape, which was adhered to a microscope slide. The slides were then transferred to Coplin staining jars containing rumen fluid. The jars were sealed under CO2 using a stopper with a Bunsen valve and incubated at 39 C. At selected times, the slides were removed from the jars, rinsed with distilled water, mounted with a coverslip, and observed directly with a light microscope. Use of the SST showed normal progression of tissue digestion with mesophyll degraded before other tissues. After digestion for 24 hours, identical residues were found in orchardgrass by the SST and scanning electron microscopy of blades. This rapid and simple technique could be useful in examining large numbers of samples for the effect of forage anatomy on digestibility and for the effect of additives on in vitro digestibility of specific forage tissues.

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