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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 26 No. 1, p. 180-184
    Received: July 16, 1984

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Cell-Wall Concentration and Components in Stratified Canopies of Alfalfa, Birdsfoot Trefoil, and Red Clover1

  1. D. R. Buxton and
  2. J. S. Hornstein2



Much of the Variability in digestibility and voluntary intake of herbage is closely associated with variation in cell-wall (CW) concentration and components. This study was conducted to compare CW characteristics of total herbage and plant parts of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.), red clover (Trifolium pratense L.), and white clover (Trifolium repens L.), and to evaluate relationships between CW characteristics and in vitro digestible dry-matter (IVDMD) concentration. Plants were sampled four times during spring growth and three times during summer regrowth. With the exception of white clover, subsamples were divided into leaves (leaf blades) and stems (remaining plant) and grouped by stem-node segment. The CW concentration in total herbage generally was least in white clover and greatest in alfalfa. Within species, CW concentration was least for leaves and greatest for stem segments from plant bases. Stems of red clover had a lower CW concentration than stems of alfalfa or birdsfoot trefoil. Cell-wall lignin concentration was greatest in birdsfoot trefoil and least in the two clover species. Within species, CW-lignin concentrations of leaves and stems were similar. Both CW and CW-lignin concentrations were inversely related to IVDMD concentration in stem segments and total herbage with correlation coefficients ranging from –0.40 to –0.98. The relationships was inconsistent in leaves. Inclusion both CW and CW-lignin concentrations in linear multiple-regression equations acounted for 95 and 84% of the observed variation in IVDMD concentration in stems and total herbage, respectively.

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