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Anti-nutrient components of guinea grass (Panicum maximum) under different nitrogen fertilizer application rates and cutting management

Academic Journals (Kenya)
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This research was carried out in 2004 in the Department of Crop Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The study investigated the anti-quality factors in Panicum maximum under different N-fertilizer application rates and cutting management. The experiment was a 4 × 4 factorial laid out in a randomized complete block design with three replications. The treatments comprised four levels of nitrogen of 0, 150, 300 and 450 kg N ha-1 and four harvesting frequencies of 3-6-9 and 12 weekly intervals, resulting in 16 treatment combinations per block. The grass analyzed in this study had low levels of anti-nutrient constituents such as tannin, phytate, hydrogen cyanide, saponin and alkaloid. The alkaloid, hydrogen cyanide and tannin contents were depressed significantly (P < 0.05) with infrequent cutting interval. Nitrogen fertilizer application significantly (P < 0.05) increased the alkaloid, hydrogen cyanide and phytate content when compared with the control. The 9-weeks cutting interval gave significantly (P < 0.05) lowest alkaloid and phytate contents when 150 kg N ha-1 was applied. The hydrogen cyanide and tannin contents were lower at the cutting interval of 12 weeks when 300 kg N ha-1 was applied. Application of 300 kg N ha-1 produced the lowest saponin content when cutting was done every 6 weeks.Key words: Panicum maximum, cutting frequency, N-fertilizer, anti-nutrient factors, alkaloid, saponin, tannins, hydrogen cyanide and phytate.

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