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Silage of Prickly Pears (Opuntia spp.) Juice By-Products

Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Production, University of Federico II, via Federico Delpino 1, 80137 Napoli, Italy
Azienda Sanitaria Provinciale Agrigento Viale della Vittoria, 321-92100 Agrigento, Italy
Department of Agricultural, Food and Forest Science (SAAF), University of Palermo, Viale delle Scienze 13, 93011 Palermo, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(9), 1716;
Received: 13 August 2020 / Revised: 17 September 2020 / Accepted: 18 September 2020 / Published: 22 September 2020
The cactus pear plant is a Cactaceae which originates from the Americas and is highly resistant to arid and hot environments. The plant is used as animal feedstuff in regions characterized by a lack of nutrient resources. In Italy, the fruits are known as prickly pears are usually eaten fresh by humans, and more recently have also started to be transformed into fruit juice. Various by-products (i.e., peel, pulp, and seeds) derived from the extraction of fruit juice are used for livestock feed due to their high amounts of fermentable structural carbohydrates. However, some of these by-products are difficult to conserve due to their high fermentability. The aim of the present study was to produce micro-silages of prickly pear by-products with different level of wheat straw (0, 5, and 10% as fed) and evaluate their chemical characteristics and fermentation kinetics using the in vitro gas production technique. Both chemical parameters (higher crude protein and lower neutral detergent fibre) and in vitro fermentation data demonstrated that the silage obtained with 5% of straw as the best-preserved (lower pH and ammonia nitrogen concentration).
Cactus pear cladodes are used as forage in the most arid regions. In Italy, the human consumption of prickly pear fruits and juice is gradually increasing for their numerous health benefits. In manufacturing plants that produce prickly pear juice, several by-products (prickly pear by-products PPB) are obtained. Despite their interesting nutritional characteristics, PPB are not very usable because of their poor shelf-life which is related to their high moisture and sugar content. The aim of this study was to verify the efficacy of ensilage to preserve PPB and to compare different inclusion levels (0, 5, and 10% as fed) of wheat straw. For each treatment, four under vacuum micro-silos were prepared and, after 35 days of storage, the state of preservation was evaluated. Subsequently, the aliquots were analyzed for chemical composition and incubated with bovine rumen fluid to evaluate the fermentation kinetics. The PPB 5% of straw showed significant lower pH and ammonia nitrogen concentration, indicating a better preservation process. Moreover, PPB 5% of straw showed better nutritional parameters (higher crude protein and lower Neutral Detergent Fibre) and fermentation characteristics (higher degradability and VFA volatile fatty acids production) when compared with the other PPB silages. Ensilage with straw represents a suitable storage technique to preserve the nutritional characteristics of PPB. View Full-Text
Keywords: storage; micro silos; in vitro gas production; straw storage; micro silos; in vitro gas production; straw
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MDPI and ACS Style

Vastolo, A.; Calabrò, S.; Cutrignelli, M.I.; Raso, G.; Todaro, M. Silage of Prickly Pears (Opuntia spp.) Juice By-Products. Animals 2020, 10, 1716.

AMA Style

Vastolo A, Calabrò S, Cutrignelli MI, Raso G, Todaro M. Silage of Prickly Pears (Opuntia spp.) Juice By-Products. Animals. 2020; 10(9):1716.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Vastolo, Alessandro, Serena Calabrò, Monica I. Cutrignelli, Girolamo Raso, and Massimo Todaro. 2020. "Silage of Prickly Pears (Opuntia spp.) Juice By-Products" Animals 10, no. 9: 1716.

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