Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The re-invention of sainfoin: an example of a novel resource for sustainable agriculture

02.04.2007
The University of Reading is to investigate how feeding an ancient food to livestock could be of huge benefit to the environment.

Ruminants, especially dairy cows, are major contributors to environmental pollution, but by eating sainfoin, an almost forgotten traditional fodder legume, the animals' polluting emissions could be cut significantly.

Now the University of Reading's agriculture department, in collaboration with other EU and Armenian colleagues, is part of a new Marie Curie research training network called 'HealthyHay', to investigate the benefits of feeding sainfoin to livestock.

Dr Irene Mueller-Harvey, who is leading the project at Reading, said: "Ruminants utilise sainfoin protein very efficiently. They also make better use of the energy in sainfoin compared to grass of equal metabolisable energy content.

"This is important because more efficient nutrient utilisation of protein and energy leads to less environmental pollution in terms of nitrogen and methane emissions.

"HealthyHay takes a holistic approach to a unique sainfoin (Onobrychis viciifolia) germplasm collection, and will develop a scientific and technical basis for animal feeding systems based on lower chemical inputs by re-popularising a traditional fodder legume for more efficient, animal- and environment-friendly farming systems.

"At present, research on sainfoin focuses only on a few cultivars in a few EU countries. This prevents exploitation of the full genetic potential of sainfoin. The unique collection available within this network and a concerted effort to evaluate this germplasm collection will lay the foundation for exploiting the full potential of this traditional forage crop in contemporary cultivation systems."

Sainfoin was widely grown in Europe before the use of commercial fertilisers and synthetic veterinary drugs, and has a very high voluntary intake by cattle, sheep and horses. It is thought that the unique nutritional, environmental and veterinary properties of sainfoin are governed by the presence of tannins, which are natural products that occur only in a few fodder legumes.

The English term sainfoin is derived from the French 'sain foin', which means 'healthy hay'. Research also suggests that the sainfoin tannins achieve good anti-parasitic effects. This could explain why it is such a good fodder for young livestock such as lambs and calves.

As sainfoin contains nutrients, that are used more efficiently, and natural compounds such as tannins, that act against parasites, it is a fodder legume that is ideal for sustainable livestock farming systems.

Lucy Ferguson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.reading.ac.uk/about/about-pressreleases2007.asp

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State

nachricht How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>