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Agriculture 2015, 5(3), 577-597; doi:10.3390/agriculture5030577

Nutrient Composition, Forage Parameters, and Antioxidant Capacity of Alfalfa (Medicago sativa, L.) in Response to Saline Irrigation Water

US Salinity Laboratory, 450 W. Big Springs Rd., Riverside, CA 92507, USA
Currently at INTA- Estaci
These authors contributed equally to this work.
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Cory Matthew
Received: 17 April 2015 / Revised: 16 July 2015 / Accepted: 20 July 2015 / Published: 28 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forage Plant Ecophysiology)
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Abstract

Although alfalfa is moderately tolerant of salinity, the effects of salinity on nutrient composition and forage parameters are poorly understood. In addition, there are no data on the effect of salinity on the antioxidant capacity of alfalfa. We evaluated four non-dormant, salinity-tolerant commercial cultivars, irrigated with saline water with electrical conductivities of 3.1, 7.2, 12.7, 18.4, 24.0, and 30.0 dS·m−1, designed to simulate drainage waters from the California Central Valley. Alfalfa shoots were evaluated for nutrient composition, forage parameters, and antioxidant capacity. Salinity significantly increased shoot N, P, Mg, and S, but decreased Ca and K. Alfalfa micronutrients were also affected by salinity, but to a lesser extent. Na and Cl increased significantly with increasing salinity. Salinity slightly improved forage parameters by significantly increasing crude protein, the net energy of lactation, and the relative feed value. All cultivars maintained their antioxidant capacity regardless of salinity level. The results indicate that alfalfa can tolerate moderate to high salinity while maintaining nutrient composition, antioxidant capacity, and slightly improved forage parameters, thus meeting the standards required for dairy cattle feed. View Full-Text
Keywords: alfalfa; salinity; forage quality; nutrient composition; antioxidant capacity; total phenolics alfalfa; salinity; forage quality; nutrient composition; antioxidant capacity; total phenolics
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Ferreira, J.F.S.; Cornacchione, M.V.; Liu, X.; Suarez, D.L. Nutrient Composition, Forage Parameters, and Antioxidant Capacity of Alfalfa (Medicago sativa, L.) in Response to Saline Irrigation Water. Agriculture 2015, 5, 577-597.

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