Astragalus membranaceus root supplementation improves average daily gain, rumen fermentation, serum immunity and antioxidant indices of Tibetan sheep

X. J. Wang, L. M. Ding, H. Y. Wei, C. X. Jiang, Q. Yan, C. S. Hu, G. X. Jia, Y. Q. Zhou, Z. Henkin, A. A. Degen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

The use of antibiotics as supplements in animal feed is restricted due to possible health hazards associated with them. Consequently, there is increasing interest in exploiting natural products to improve health and production of livestock with no detrimental side effects. In this study, we examined the effect of Astragalus membranaceus root (AMT) supplementation on DM intake, growth performance, rumen fermentation and immunity of Tibetan sheep. Twenty-four male Tibetan sheep (31 ± 1.4 kg; 9 months old) were assigned randomly to one of four dietary treatments with different levels of AMT: 0, 20, 50 and 80 g/kg DM (A0, A2, A5 and A8, respectively) in addition to their basal diets. A0 acted as a control group, and measurements were recorded over a 56-d feeding period. Sheep fed with AMT had a higher average daily gain and a lower feed:gain ratio than controls (P < 0.001). Rumen concentrations of NH3-N (P < 0.001), total volatile fatty acids (P = 0.028), acetate (P = 0.017) and propionate (P = 0.031) in A5 and A8 were higher than those in A0. The addition of AMT in the feed significantly increased serum antioxidant and immunity factors of the sheep and increased the concentrations of serum interleukin, immunoglobulin and tumour necrosis factor-α (P = 0.010). We concluded that AMT can be used as a feed additive to improve growth performance and rumen fermentation and enhance the immunity of Tibetan sheep. Some responses exhibited a dose-dependent response, whereas other did not exhibit a pattern, with an increase in AMT. The addition of 50 and 80 g/kg AMT of total DM intake showed the most promising results.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100061
JournalAnimal
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Botanical feed additives
  • Chinese traditional herb
  • Healthy feeding
  • Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau
  • Secondary compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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