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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Forage and Range Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #313059

Research Project: Develop Improved Plant Genetic Resources to Enhance Pasture and Rangeland Productivity in the Semiarid Regions of the Western U.S.

Location: Forage and Range Research

Title: High Concentrations of Condensed Tannins in Utah Trefoil (Lotus utahensis Ottley)

Author
item Johnson, Douglas
item MACADAM, JENNIFER - Utah State University
item Connors, Kevin
item Stettler, Jason
item Bushman, Shaun
item Jones, Thomas

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/5/2014
Publication Date: 1/23/2015
Citation: Johnson, D.A., Macadam, J.W., Connors, K.J., Stettler, J.M., Bushman, B.S., Jones, T.A. 2015. High Concentrations of Condensed Tannins in Utah Trefoil (Lotus utahensis Ottley). Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts, #176.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Rangeland ecosystems in the western USA are increasingly vulnerable to wildland fires, weed invasion, and misuse. For many of these rangelands, revegetation/restoration may be required to improve degraded conditions, speed recovery, combat invasive weeds, and minimize soil erosion. Utah trefoil (Lotus utahensis Ottley) is a legume species native to the southern Great Basin and Colorado Plateau that occurs in southern Utah, southern Nevada, and Arizona. Utah trefoil is of interest in revegetation/restoration of degraded rangelands because it has the potential to biologically fix nitrogen, enhance native pollinator habitat, and provide nutritious forage for livestock and wildlife. In addition, several species in the genus Lotus contain condensed tannins (CT), which are known to prevent bloat, reduce parasites in the intestinal tract, and enhance amino acid absorption. Seeds of Utah trefoil were collected throughout its distribution from 19 sites in Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. Seeds from these 19 sites and 'Norcen' birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.) for comparison were germinated and grown in a greenhouse. The greenhouse-grown seedlings were transplanted in common gardens at three sites in northern Utah. Forage was harvested from these common-garden sites during October, immediately placed on dry ice, freeze-dried, and ground. An acetone-enhanced butanol-HC1-iron spectrophometric assay was used to solubilize and quantify sample CT. Concentrations of CT for the Utah trefoil collections ranged from 4-26% compared to about 1% for birdsfoot trefoil. Further studies are being conducted to clarify the chemical characteristics and seasonal dynamics of these tannins and determine if differences among collections are genetically based.