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Evaluation of the inclusion of Moringa oleifera and Tithonia diversifolia in the diet of sheep on parameters of in vivo digestibility, gas production, rumen microbiota, performance and evaluation of carcass and meat


The objective of this project is to evaluate the effect of two alternative bulky food sources, Moringa oleifera and Tithonia diversifolia, in the diet of sheep through the study of in vivo digestibility parameters, in vitro and in vivo CH4 production, ruminal microbial community, and animal performance. The experiment will be carried out in four stages. Stage I will consist of the in vitro gas production test, where experimental silos of 7 treatments will be made, namely: control with 100% sugarcane silage and the other treatments, with proportions of 25%, 50%, and 75% replacing sugarcane with M. oleífera or T. diversifolia. The second stage will be conducted with twenty-five lambs fed with 40% concentrated feed and 60% roughage, divided between five treatments, selected from the results of stage I, in this stage in vivo digestibility parameters will be evaluated. At the end of the previous stage, the animals will proceed to stage III, where CH4 production will be measured in vivo and the bacterial community in the rumen microbiome will be investigated via the V4 region of the 16s rRNA gene in order to elucidate the modulation of the rumen microbiota according to the diets. After digestibility, 3 treatments with the best results in the previous step will be selected to be investigated in step IV.. Thirty lambs will be confined in the Intergado® system for animal performance testing, divided between control treatment (TC), one treatment with substitution of sugarcane for M. oleífera and another for T. diversifolia. Weight gain, feed conversion, feed efficiency, Kleiber rate, and body score evaluation will be measured. Finally, in step V, the 30 animals, participating in the performance test, will be slaughtered for evaluation of the carcass and meat, according to the Moringa and Tithonia treatments. The objective of this work is to investigate the use of M. oleífera and T. diversifolia in substitution to other conventional bulky sources of the feeding of sheep to propose a sustainable food alternative for the production of small ruminants. (AU)

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