Antinutritional properties of forage woody plants

УДК 581.57:591.531.2

A. E. Scopin

Russian Research Institute of Game Managment and Fur Farming, Kirov, Russia,


A. E. Скопин

ВНИИ охотничьего хозяйства и звероводства им. проф. Б. М. Житкова,
Киров, Российская Федерация,,

In winter trees are the main food source, which is the limitative factor for surviving of many browsers. Game herbivores trophic relation to arboreal forages depends mostly on their qualitative composition. One of the basic components affecting negatively on health and digestion are plant secondary compounds. They play a defending role protecting definite plant organs from being eaten. Such metabolic substances in particular cause damage to woody plants consequently predetermined their antinutritional properties.

Toxic estimation of plant vegetative organs was carried out with the biotest method with protozoa Paramecium caudatum (standart cultivation) and Dasytricha ruminantium (mixed cultivation from cattle rumen). The reaction of protozoa on plants vegetative organs extracts having been taken during different seasons was analysed. The extract toxicity criterion was regarded as a surviving time for these organisms. Comparative analysis of free-living protozoa Paramecium caudatum and symbiotic Dasytricha ruminantium showed a clear survival tendency of rumen organisms to plants vegetative organs extracts. However, even adaptation to different plants doesn’t improve probability for D. ruminantium to live in organ extracts with high content of toxicants. High metabolites concentrations in the spruce bark, birch and aspen boughs cause death to given test-organisms. Therefore, the animal consumption of birch, spruce and aspen barks in large quantity may be considered as a forced action.

In comparison with rumen protozoa Paramecium caudatum is more susceptible to different toxic extracts, so they can be used as a very suitable test-organism. The results of our investigation allow us to compare different species of plants according their toxicity level.

We may conclude after the analysis of trees vegetative organs toxicity, that the most toxic organ is a bark. There weren’t also found any toxic properties of deciduous trees wood. The most degree of toxicity for all the trees is appeared to be in summer in comparison with winter period that is a most characteristic feature for spruce. This phenomenon is a direct consequence of terpenes, tannins and other compounds concentration decrease in plant tissues due to the decline of metabolism during the autumn-winter period. Almost every representative among gymnospermous plants are toxic in any case. Therefore, even adapted species to ingestion of coniferous plants vegetative organs, moose for instance, don’t eat their needles and bark in summer. In winter the consumption of gymnospermous plants is restricted by a volume of forage eaten. Among investigated coniferous species the less toxic is Juniperus communis L., its vegetative organs toxicity is even less than from Betula pendula leaves extracts.

The most toxicity level is obtained in following plants: Abies, Acer, Alnus, Cornus, Crataegus, Elaeagnus, Larix, Picea, Populus (for example, P. balsamifera), Quercus, Salix (for example S. pentandra), Thuja. The next woody plants have an average toxicity level Frangula, Fraxinus, Juniperus, Padus, Pinus, Populus tremula, Ribes, Salix, Ulmus. The representatives of Sorbus, Tilia, Salix (for example, S. caprea) types are less toxic or non-toxic at all.

The research was carried out under the financial support of Russian Federation President Grant № 6937.2006.4.

Zoocenosis — 2007
 Біорізноманіття та роль тварин в екосистемах: Матеріали ІV Міжнародної наукової конференції. – Дніпропетровськ: Вид-во ДНУ, 2007. – С. 43-44.