Poultry production has experienced a lot of remarkable growth within the past forty years, but there are still some problems confronting the industry, one of which is the high cost of feed materials. Recent data have shown that feed cost constitutes about 70-75% of the total cost of production, this could be basically attributed to the stiff competition between humans and animals for grains and upward increase in human population, poor government policies and insurgency in some agricultural parts of the country. Formulation of diets for animals requires protein and energy sources (variable ingredients) as major components. One of the ways to solve the problem of high feed cost is the use of local feed materials (unconventional) to produce feed at least cost and providing enough animal protein since profit can only be maximized when animals are fed well-formulated diets at reasonable costs. (Fagbenro et al., 2004), reported that Soya meal which is regarded as an outstanding source of supplemental protein in diets of livestock has become relatively scarce and expensive. It is rich in highly digestible protein, and the protein is made up of amino acids (essential and non-essential) which are the building blocks of body protein for livestock. According to (Gary L. Cromwell, 2007), Soybean meal accounts for nearly sixty-nine of all macromolecule sources employed in animal feeds followed by rapeseed (canola) meal (13%), cottonseed meal (6%), sunflower meal (5%), fish meal (2%), and peanut meal (2%) worldwide.
One of the ways to minimize the cost of feed and get maximum production /performance is the use of some plants/leaves, which are found to be loaded with nutrients (Chisoro, 2015). Several reports have also shown that the use of plants as protein especially when incorporated into livestock feed are cheaper, improve digestibility, immune system (due to the presence of bioactive compounds) and growth performance. Some plants in this category includes noni leaf (Morinda citrifolia) and Moringa olifera. Morinda citrifolia belongs to the family Rubiaceae, it is a tropical and subtropical plant grown in Asia, Australia and other countries. M. citifolia also known as Noni is widely used as herbal plants and treatment of many disease because it contains several bioactive chemicals and minerals like selenium which has an important function to activate glutathione peroxidase and neutralize free radicals which attack fat molecules in the body (Kusnandar et al., 2003; Setiawan et al., 2005; Wang et al., 2002 and Takashima et al., 2007).
Morinda citrifolia leaf have been reported to perform multiple role such as antibacterial (Aziz et al., 2009), anti-inflammatory (Dussossoy et al., 2011), antitumor (Satwadhar et al., 2004), antifungal and antidiabetic activities (Ramesh et al., 2012). The leaf meal provides protein source and some essential vitamins such as vitamins A, C, E and minerals (Su BN et al., 2005 and Liu C et al., 2007). Moringa olifera belongs to the Moringaceae family, it is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Moringa commonly known as drumstick –tree or horse radish tree is a multi-purpose that has given considerable fodder yield in the tropical humid forest zone of Nigeria during wet and dry seasons (Fuglie, 2009). According to (Olson et al., 2001), Moringa leaves meal contains 27.51% crude protein, 19.25% crude fibre, 2.23% crude fat, 7.13% ash, 76.53% moisture, 43.88% carbohydrate and 1296.00 Kj/g calories. The leaves are rich in several minerals and vitamins (Bhatt et al., 2001, Moyo et al., 2011).
The tree is often called ‘multipurpose’ because all parts including the leaves, pods, seeds, flowers, fruits and roots are edible and high medicinal (Orwa et al., 2009; Aruna et al., 2012; Fahey et al., 2001; Abbas et al., 2012; Siddhuraju et al., 2003 and Atawodi et al., 2010).
Many research have been carried out on the use of Moringa olifera on livestock, for instance (Kakengi et al., 2013) reported that Moringa olifera can be included up to 30% in rabbit diet without any adverse effect on the growth performance, but there is little or no information on the combination of M. olifera with noni, mixing this plant will give a good result coupled with their nutrients profile and their abundance in the tropics. Therefore, the aim of this experiment is to evaluate the growth performance of weaner rabbits (Thryonomys swinderianus) fed noni (Morinda citrifolia) and Moringa olifera leaf meal mixture as partial replacement for Soy bean meal.
Materials and Methods
The experiment was carried out at Division of Animal Nutrition, Sumitra Research Farm, Gujarat, (Western India).
Collection of plant materials
Fresh healthy and mature Morinda citrifolia and Moringa olifera leaves were obtained with in the farm premises and it was authenticated and assigned a voucher numbers of SRF 102 and SRF 103 respectively. The leaves were collected in August, 2018.
Both leaves were thoroughly washed under running tap water and air dried separately for 12 days. The leaves were then grind into coarse powder using high capacity grinding machine separately to obtain Morinda citrifolia leaf meal (MCM) and Moringa olifera leaf meal (MLM). It was finally stored in airtight containers at 5 oC for further analysis.
Parameters measured in the test materials
Phytochemical screening for the presence of tannin, flavonoids, alkaloids, saponins, phenols and oxalate were determined according to procedures outlined by Harbone (1984) and Boham and Kocipai-Abyazan (1974).
Mineral analysis was carried out using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS).
Vitamin content was determined by method described by (Sabrell et al., 1967, Hussein et al., 1997).
Amino acid profile was determined using Eppendorf- Germany LC 3000, amino acid analyzer.
Proximate analysis of crude protein, ash, ether extract and crude fibre were carried out in accordance with the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC, 2000).
The cages were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before the arrival of the animals, feeders and drinkers were also washed and cleaned, all the cages were equipped with feeding and watering troughs. Separate isolation cage was also provided in the pen to accommodate any isolated animal after arrival. Anti-stress (strexia) and de-wormer (Promectin) injection as prophylactic against ecto and endoparasites were purchased.
A total of fifty (50), 7-8 weeks bucks cross breed rabbits (Chinchilla × New Zealand White) with an average weight of 620 g and 625 g were used for this experiment. They were individually housed in an all wire cages measuring 50cm×30cm×35cm (width×length×height), they were allowed one-week adjustment period during which they were fed the basal diet and other medications administered. The animals were feed twice daily between 7:30 am and 3:30pm, clean feed and water were provided ad libitum throughout the experimental period which lasted for 98 days.
The experimental animals were randomly assigned to five treatments of ten (10) animals per group, each treatment was replicated ten times with each replicate having a rabbit in a completely randomized design (CRD).
Morinda citrifolia leaf meal (MCM) and Moringa olifera leaf meal (MLM) were mixed in the ratio of 1:1 and thoroughly mixed to form Morinda-Moringa leaf meal (MCLM), they were further mixed with the basal diet to form five experimental diets as follows:
Treatment 1 (control): Basal diet + 0% MCLM
Treatment 2: Basal diet + 3% MCLM
Treatment 3: Basal diet + 6% MCLM
Treatment 4: Basal diet + 9% MCLM
Treatment 5: Basal diet + 12% MCLM
The basal diet was formulated to meet the nutrients requirements of growing rabbits according to the (NRC, 1977).
Growth performance parameters
Daily feed intake (g) was calculated by difference between feed offered and the left over, feed conversion ratio was determined as feed intake divided by body weight gain, water consumption and mortality were recorded daily.
All data obtained were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) using the linear models Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 15.0) software. Significant difference between means were separated using Duncan’s multiple range test (Duncan, 1955).
Results and Discussion
The results on the proximate analysis of Morinda citrifolia meal (MCM) and Moringa olifera leaf meal (MLM) are presented in Table 2. Dry matter content of MCM was 92.18% while those of crude protein, crude fibre, ether extract and total ash are 18.48%, 13.31%, 6.11% and 12.61% respectively. The proximate constituents of MLM are 93.67%, 28.49%, 10.11%, 8.09% and 10.88% for dry matter, crude protein, crude fibre, ether extract and ash respectively. Both leaf meal contain tangible quantity of minerals and vitamins like phosphorus, calcium, potassium, magnesium, selenium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, boron, vitamin A, B and C. The present study regarding the proximate analysis of MCM and MLM was in agreement with the findings of (Rubanza et al., 2005; Moyo et al., 2011; Rweyemamu, L. 2006, Kamiya et al., 2004) who reported that MCM and MLM are highly digestible in animals because of their rich nutritional composition.
Phytochemical components of MCM and MLM are presented in Table 4. Saponin, tannin, phenol, flavonoids, alkaloids and oxalate content of MCM was 1.90%, 1.52%, 5.22%, 2.11%, 1.60% and 0.15% respectively while those of MLM are 4.12%, 3.01%, 12.02%, 7.08%, 2.11% and 0.10% for saponin, tannin, phenol, flavonoids, alkaloids and oxalate. Both MCM and MLM have a high level of phenol confirming the reports of (Makkar et al., 1999; Krishnaiah et al., 2011; Mohammed et al., 2001; Wang et al., 2002; Zin et al., 2002, Siddhuraju et al., 2003). The presences of phytochemicals in the plants makes them important in pharmacological roles, for instance, the antimicrobial, antibacterial, antioxidant and antiviral properties of MCM have been reported by (Locher et al., 1995; Mckoy et al., 2002; Moure et al., 2001; Pietta et al., 1998; Saludes et al., 2002; Sang et al., 2001a; Shovic Whistler, 2001; Nayak et al., 2011; Bussmann et al., 2012).
(Mekonnen et al., 2003) also confirmed that MLM contains benzylsothiocyanate, 4-(4'- O-acetyl-a-L-rhamnopyranosyloxy) benzyl, isothiocyanate and other substance which gives them anticancer, antibacterial, antioxidant and antiviral properties. The retained phenol in both MCM and MLM could also be attributed the processing method after collection. According to (Bhuvaneshwari et al., 2017) phenol can easily be destroyed by excessive heat. Flavonoids are known to act against activity of gram positive and gram negative bacteria, perform anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant roles (Terashima et al., 2002).
The effect of feeding different levels of MCML in weaner rabbits is shown in Table 3. The initial body weight ranges between 620. G –625 g while those of final live weight is between 17701 g –1780.1 g. The result showed the effect of partially replacing soya meal with MCML on the final weight gain was not significant (p>0.05). However rabbits in Treatment 3 had the highest final body weight (1780.1 g) followed by Treatment 2 with (1777.8 g), Treatment 1 had the lowest weight with (1706.1 g). No significant (p>0.05) differences were observed between the treatment in terms feed intake, rabbits in treatment 1 consumed more in compared to treatment 2, 3, 4 and 5. Feed conversion ratio (FCR) were not significantly (p>0.05) different among the treatments. This was similar with the finding of (Wogar, 2011) when grass cutter were fed cassava based diets with graded protein levels. (Attanayaka et al., 2015) noted that the cotton seed meal can be used to replace soya bean meal at 10% in broiler chicken but contrary to the reports of (Banjo et al., 2012) when maize was replaced with brewer’s dry grain (BDG) in the diet of weaner grass cutters.
Similarly, (Wogar, 2012) reported that substituting palm kernel meal (PKM) at 9% in the diet of growing grasscutters improved their final body weight though not at a significant level when compared with maize sievates and wheat offal.
There was a significant difference (p<0.05) in the mortality rate of the animals. Treatment 1 recorded the highest number of 3 rabbits, no mortality was recorded in treatment 2, 3, 4 and 5. This could possibly be due to the presence of secondary metabolites (phytochemicals) in MCML. For instance, saponins and phenolic compounds prevent bacterial infections (Dussossoy, 2011), parasites (Fahey, 2001).
It can be concluded that MCML could be included up to 12% in the diets of rabbits without any deleterious effect on their health and general performance, MCML have proven to be loaded with vital nutrients that are necessary for the growth of animals, however, 3% substitution gave the highest weight gain for the animals. MCML can also be used as an herbal supplement or phytobiotics.
This article was originally published in International Journal of Advanced Biological and Biomedical Research, Volume 7, Issue 2 (2019) pp. 185-195. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.