Publisher: Bachudo Science Co. Ltd

Nutritional Evaluation of Cowpea and Its Products By Conventional and Germ Free Rats.

I. M. Ofuya
KEYWORDS: Cowpeas, Nutrient evaluation, Conventional rats, Germ free rats


True digestibility of cowpea -starch and nitrogen were studied using weanling germ free (GF) and weanling conventional rats. (CV). The rats were fed raw cowpea meal, alcohol extracted meal and cowpea meal autoclaved for 1 hour. Food consumption was high for all treatment weight gain of CV rats was significantly lower (P<0.01) than that of GF rats for all diets. Feed efficiency in CV rats was 50% of that in GF rats. The caeca of GF rats was significantly larger (P<O.O than those of the CV animals on all diets. Apparent digestibility of starch was in excess of 99% for CV rats, irrespective of diet. Starch digestibility in the CV rats was significantly higher (.P<0.05) than that in the GF rats; The quantity of starch digested by the intestinal bacteria.was genenilly less than 1 % of the starch ingested. Autoclaving and removal of alcohol soluble components did not improve starch digestibility of the raw cowpea meal. Apparent digestibility of nitrogen (ADN) was low in both CV and GF rats irrespective of diet. AON was significantly higher (P<0.05) in the CV rats than GF rats for raw and extracted cowpeas. In the autoclaved sample, there was no significant improvement. This indicates the probable involvement of microbial flora in the digestion of cowpea protein although the amount fermented is only a small percentage of the ingested protein (4-10%).

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