Analysis of fermented alfalfameal nutrients and the effects on growth performance and cecalmicrobial population in Gushi geese

Author(s): HaichengYin

The nutritional value of alfalfa meal (AM) can be improved by solidstate fermentation (SSF), which provided an alternative ingredient for replacing soybean meal (SBM) in geese feed. The experiment assessed the quality of the fermented alfalfa meal (FAM) and its feasibility of replacing SBM with the FAM in diet on the growth and cecal microbial population of Gushi geese. Six isoenergetic (metabolizable energy 11.0 MJ/kg) and isoproteic (crude protein 15.3%) diets were formulated, in which 0 (control), 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100% of SBM were replaced by FAM. A total of 300 healthy geese (with the initial weight 392 g) were randomly assigned to six treatment groups with five replicates of 10 geese (5 males and 5 females). Geese were fed ad libitum for 35 days. The results showed that the FAMwas lower inMD, NCF,ADF andNDF, higher in CP, CF,Ash and NE, and approximately equal in Ca and P, and supplemented protease compared to AM. The geese fed the diets with 40% or lower SBM substitution levels had no significantly effects final body weights (FBW) and average day gain (ADG) (P<0.05), whereas 60% or higher caused poor growth record of geese compared to the control diet. The average daily feed intake (ADFI) and feed/gain ratio (F/G)were higher than other groups (P<0.05) with a 40% or higher substitution level. The numbers of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus in the cecal digesta of geese fed with FAM increased (P<0.05), whereas no effect were found in the 20% and 40% SBM substitution level compared with the control (P>0.05). On the contrary, the Coliforms counts of cecum decreased with the increasing inclusion of FAM, while this counts were significantly reduced in geese fed the diets with a 60% or higher SBM substitution level (P<0.05). Results of above suggest that fermentation changed the nutritional characteristics of alfalfa meal, and a certain percentage FAM in feed could promote the growth, by increasing beneficial microbiota, and effecting cecum microbiome of Gushi geese.

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