Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Poisonous Plant Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #331718

Research Project: Understanding and Mitigating the Adverse Effects of Poisonous Plants on Livestock Production Systems

Location: Poisonous Plant Research

Title: The effect of ensiling and haymaking on the concentrations of steroidal saponin in two Brachiaria grass species

Author
item De Lima, Flavia - Federal University Of Goias
item Lee, Stephen
item Pfister, James - Jim
item Miyagi, Eliane - Federal University Of Goias
item Costa, Gustavo - Federal University Of Goias
item De Silva, Roberta - Federal University Of Goias
item Fioravanti, Maria Clorinda - Federal University Of Goias

Submitted to: Electronic Publication
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/5/2014
Publication Date: 5/1/2015
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/63024
Citation: De Lima, F.G., Lee, S.T., Pfister, J.A., Miyagi, E.S., Costa, G.L., De Silva, R.D., Fioravanti, M.S. 2015. The effect of ensiling and haymaking on the concentrations of steroidal saponin in two Brachiaria grass species. Ciencia Rural. 45(5):858-863.

Interpretive Summary: Forage conservation is a key element for productive and efficient ruminant livestock operations. Forage conservation methods such as ensiling and haymaking allow a more reliable supply of quality feed when production is low or dormant. Brachiaria (signalgrass) is now the most widely used tropical grass genus in Central and South America. However, Brachiaria spp. can cause hepatogenous photosensitization in livestock. Steroidal saponins, specifically protodioscin, present in Brachiaria spp. may be responsible for liver injury and subsequent photosensitization. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of ensiling Brachiaria decumbens and Brachiaria brizantha or making hay from Brachiaria decumbens on the concentrations of steroidal saponin in these grasses. Brachiaria grass had no detectable levels of the saponin protodioscin after 24 days of ensiling. In addition, in Brachiaria decumbens, the concentration of the protodioscin decreased 48% over the first three days after haymaking and then remained constant. These results suggest that livestock consuming Brachiaria either as silage or hay may have reduced risk of intoxication by protodioscin.

Technical Abstract: Brachiaria (signalgrass) is now the most widely used tropical grass genus in Central and South America. However, Brachiaria spp. can cause hepatogenous photosensitization in livestock. Steroidal saponins, specifically protodioscin, present in Brachiaria spp. may be responsible for liver injury and subsequent photosensitization. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of ensiling Brachiaria decumbens and Brachiaria brizantha or making hay from Brachiaria decumbens on the concentrations of steroidal saponin in these grasses. Brachiaria grass had no detectable levels of the saponin protodioscin after 24 days of ensiling. In addition, in Brachiaria decumbens, the concentration of the protodioscin decreased 48% over the first three days after haymaking and then remained constant. These results suggest that livestock consuming Brachiaria either as silage or hay may have reduced risk of intoxication by protodioscin.