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 Researchers discover natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide
16.07.2018 | UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

nachricht Advance warning system via cell phone app: Avoiding extreme weather damage in agriculture
12.07.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V.

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas

19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

New creepy, crawly search and rescue robot developed at Ben-Gurion U

19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Metal too 'gummy' to cut? Draw on it with a Sharpie or glue stick, science says

19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>