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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Foster, Joyce
item Clapham, William
item Belesky, David
item Labreveux, Maria
item Hall, Marvin
item Sanderson, Matt

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/5/2005
Publication Date: 2/20/2006
Citation: Foster, J.G., Clapham, W.M., Belesky, D.P., Labreveux, M., Hall, M.H., Sanderson, M.A. 2006. Influence of Cultivation Site on Sesquiterpene Lactone Composition of Forage Chicory (Cichorium intybus L.). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 54:1772-1778.

Interpretive Summary: Forage chicory is being included in pastures in the eastern U.S. to improve seasonal distribution of herbage. Several commercially available cultivars grown in central PA, are readily grazed by livestock. Animals are reluctant to eat herbage from the same cultivars grown in southern WV. This study was undertaken to identify a chemical basis for the apparent difference in palatability of herbage from the two locations. Bitter compounds were found to be more prevalent in WV-grown herbage, and differences in the concentration of these compounds among cultivars and cultivation sites correspond to differences in forage acceptance. Mineral analyses of soils indicate a potential link between phosphorus availability and bitterness of chicory Results provide insight into ways to manage chicory to control the bitterness. Successful management strategies will enable livestock producers with site limitations to take advantage of the positive attributes of forage chicory.

Technical Abstract: Forage chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) is increasingly used as a pasture species in North America. In southern WV, ruminants are reluctant to consume chicory herbage, and commercial cultivars vary in acceptability. Sesquiterpene lactones in the cultivars Puna, Lacerta and Forage Feast were quantified in herbage grown in PA and WV to determine whether these compounds might be associated with variations in animal feeding behaviors. Total concentration of sesquiterpene lactones in WV-grown chicory was 0.58% (DM basis) in Puna, 0.59% in Lacerta, and 0.79% in Forage Feast in 1997 and ranged from 1.03 (Lacerta) to 1.52% (Forage Feast) in 1998. In PA-grown chicory, sesquiterpene lactones represented 0.16% (Puna), 0.18% (Lacerta), and 0.27% (Forage Feast) of the forage dry matter in 1997 and ranged from 0.32 (Lacerta) to 0.55% (Forage Feast) in 1998. Forage Feast generally contained the highest concentrations of lactucin (lac), lactucopicrin (lpic), and total sesquiterpene lactones, regardless of cultivation site. The lowest concentrations of lpic and total sesquiterpene lactones observed in WV-grown chicory were greater than the highest concentrations present in PA-grown herbage, making WV chicory far more bitter. Mineral analyses of soils from the two cultivation sites indicate that P deficiency may influence sesquiterpene lactone composition of chicory.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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