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Animals 2019, 9(3), 95; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9030095

Paulownia Leaves as A New Feed Resource: Chemical Composition and Effects on Growth, Carcasses, Digestibility, Blood Biochemistry, and Intestinal Bacterial Populations of Growing Rabbits

1
Animal Production Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Zagazig University, Zagazig 44511, Egypt
2
Poultry Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Zagazig University, Zagazig 44511, Egypt
3
Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Agriculture, Zagazig University, Zagazig 44511, Egypt
4
Agricultural Engineering Department, Agriculture Faculty, Zagazig University, Zagazig 44511, Egypt
5
Department of Animal Production, College of Food and Agriculture Sciences, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2460, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia
6
Department of Theriogenology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Zagazig University, Zagazig 44511, Egypt
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 January 2019 / Revised: 11 March 2019 / Accepted: 14 March 2019 / Published: 18 March 2019
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Simple Summary

Paulownia trees are grown as a woody biofuel crop, and they yield large amounts of leafy biomass rich in nitrogen. However, there is limited information on the use of paulownia leaves as an animal feed resource. Hence, this study was conducted to assess the effects of paulownia leaf meal (0%, 15%, and 30% in diets) on the growth performance, nutrient digestibility, blood biochemistry, and intestinal microbiota of growing rabbits. The chemical analyses of paulownia leaves indicated that most of the nutrients are similar to those in alfalfa hay. The in vivo results showed that the use of up to 15% paulownia leaf meal instead of alfalfa hay in the diets of the rabbits did not have any negative effects on their performance, nutrient digestibility, and blood constituents. In addition, a notable reduction in both cecal and feed pathogenic bacteria was observed when paulownia leaf meal was included in the diets.

Abstract

This experiment was conducted to study the effects of paulownia leaf meal (PLM) as a nontraditional feed on the growth, carcasses, digestibility, blood chemistry, and intestinal microbiota of growing rabbits. Sixty rabbits (5-weeks old) were randomly allotted to three dietary treatments containing three amounts of PLM (0%, 15%, and 30%). The results showed that PLM has a higher content of ether extract, organic matter, methionine, tyrosine, histidine, manganese, and zinc than alfalfa hay. Body weight gain decreased when 30% PLM was provided. The best feed conversion ratio was recorded in the rabbits fed 15% PLM. A notable increase in high-density lipoprotein levels with a significant decrease in low-density lipoprotein was noted in the rabbits fed the PLM diets. Total fungi and Enterobacteriaceae and total bacterial count in the feed were significantly reduced because of PLM. In the cecum, coliforms, Enterobacteriaceae species, and total bacterial count declined in the rabbits fed the PLM diets. Conclusively, up to 15% PLM can be used in rabbit diets without any deleterious effects on the performance, nutrient digestibility, and blood constituents. In addition, dietary inclusion of PLM has the potential to reduce cecal pathogenic bacteria in rabbits. View Full-Text
Keywords: growing rabbits; intestinal microbiota; nutrient digestibility; paulownia tree leaves; Paulownia tomentosa growing rabbits; intestinal microbiota; nutrient digestibility; paulownia tree leaves; Paulownia tomentosa
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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Al-Sagheer, A.A.; Abd El-Hack, M.E.; Alagawany, M.; Naiel, M.A.; Mahgoub, S.A.; Badr, M.M.; Hussein, E.O.S.; Alowaimer, A.N.; Swelum, A.A. Paulownia Leaves as A New Feed Resource: Chemical Composition and Effects on Growth, Carcasses, Digestibility, Blood Biochemistry, and Intestinal Bacterial Populations of Growing Rabbits. Animals 2019, 9, 95.

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