Sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza juncea var. sericea) for sustainable small ruminant production: feed, helminth suppressant and meat preservation capabilities

Mahachi, Leo N. ; Chikwanha, Obert C. ; Katiyatiya, Chenaimoyo L. F. ; Marufu, Munyaradzi C. ; Aremu, Adeyemi O. ; Mapiye, Cletos (2020-12)

CITATION: Mahachi, L. N. et al. 2020. Sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza juncea var. sericea) for sustainable small ruminant production: Feed, helminth suppressant and meat preservation capabilities. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 270. doi:10.1016/j.anifeedsci.2020.114688

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Small ruminants significantly contribute towards livelihood, food and nutrition security for people living in semiarid low-to-middle-income countries. However, their productivity is largely constrained by feed shortages, prevalence of gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) and postharvest meat losses. The current review explores the possibility of using sericea lespedeza (Lespedeza juncea var. sericea) as a natural helminth suppressant, feed ingredient and meat preservative for improving small ruminant health, meat production and shelf life. Sericea lespedeza has moderate contents of crude protein, fibre, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and diverse composition of physiologically active substances such as condensed tannins, sterols and flavanols from which it derives nutritional, anti-bloat, helminth suppressant, antimicrobial and antioxidative properties. Overall, the present review demonstrates the potential of feeding sericea lespedeza to small ruminants as a sustainable means of controlling GIN and enhancing meat production and shelf life, while also reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, more research is required to determine optimal feeding strategies and doses for reducing GHG emissions while improving health, meat production and quality of small ruminants.

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