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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Cell Wall Biology and Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #316312

Title: Redesigning alfalfa to reduce protein losses

item Hatfield, Ronald
item Sullivan, Michael

Submitted to: Progressive Forage Grower
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/10/2015
Publication Date: 6/1/2015
Citation: Hatfield, R.D., Sullivan, M.L. 2015. Redesigning alfalfa to reduce protein losses. Progressive Forage Grower. 16(6):40.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Alfalfa is often referred to as the “Queen of Forages” due to its relatively good digestibility, high protein, and ability to readily fix nitrogen. But there’s a big drawback to alfalfa – much of its protein is lost during the harvest and ensiling process, and more is lost in the rumen of livestock. An exception to this often-observed problem with alfalfa and other forages, including corn silage, is red clover. We have determined that red clover's ability to maintain protein following harvest is due to the natural presence of the enzyme, polyphenol oxidase (PPO), and the o-diphenol compounds utilized by PPO. Work to transfer the components of this natural system of protein protection to alfalfa is described.