Enhancement of Palm residues (Phoenix canariensis) for a potential use in ruminant feed
AbstractThe increase of biological residues from numerous fellings of palms (Phoenix canariensis) infested by red palm weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Olivier) in central Italy and around the Mediterranean basin, has created an important disposal problem. This issue could provide a further use by introducing it as a food in diet of ruminants, beyond that represented by the use as fuel in biomass power plants for heating or electrical energy. The shredded material of palm can be employed to animal nutrition, resulting in interest for the feed industry and livestock sector. Analysis, carried out on samples of shredded palm, made using a chipper machine modified to obtain a product of small size (according to the phytosanitary measures of Lazio Region: n. 390, June 5, 2007), showed an high water content (79%) and therefore a not easy conservation. A conservation technique could be dehydration, in order to make product as flour, pellets, to introduce in unifeed together with the other compounds of the diet (forage, concentrates, etc.). Given the high water content, the dehydration process causes a very high production cost. About nutritional value, analysis showed 0.65 UF/ kg on dry matter basis, higher than the straw and hay of stable grass in an advanced stage of maturation (0.20 to 0.30 UF/kg). These values are similar to a good hay obtained from mixed grass. As consequence it is possible to use shredded palm as part of energy of the ruminants diet. Is still not clear which component allows the achievement of this value, probably derives in small part by the lipid component and largely by the fibrous component. Moreover data showed that the presence of fatty acid precursors of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) such as oleic acid and linoleic acid, is much higher than the values of Italian pastures. Utilization of these fatty acids in animal diets improves quality of the final products (milk, cheese, meat). The possibility of introducing shredded palm in ruminants diet, may be topic of interested to feed animal in arid areas of the Mediterranean basin, where it is difficult to find good forages.
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