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ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Plant Science Research » Research » Research Project #442570

Research Project: Digestibility of Alfalfa Stem Segments

Location: Plant Science Research

Project Number: 5062-21500-001-011-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2022
End Date: Aug 31, 2025

Gain a better understanding of developmental patterns of alfalfa lignification and cell wall composition in relation to in vitro neutral detergent fiber digestion. This understanding will be accomplished by analyzing alfalfa stem segments for the allocation of cell wall components found in diverse digestibility alfalfa genotypes and integrating them into a structural model.

Morphology and lignification of five ARS cloned genotypes of alfalfa will be evaluated at five time points: vegetative, early bud, early flower, flowering and green pod stages. Stems will be sectioned for microscopy to determine allocation of lignin across the stem and then lignin will be quantified using the Uppsala dietary fiber method. These data will then be used to create a structural finite model (engineering model) to predict structural breeding targets for increased digestibility.