The Journal of Agricultural Science

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The Journal of Agricultural Science (2009), 147:555-568 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

Crops and Soils

Species, climate and fertilizer effects on grass fibre and protein in tropical environments

H. TRANa1a2 c1, P. SALGADOa3 and P. LECOMTEa2

a1 Faculty of Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Hanoi University of Agriculture – Animal Husbandry, Gia Lam, Hanoi, Vietnam
a2 Cirad – UPR Systèmes d'élevage, Saint Pierre F-97410, France
a3 Cirad – UPR Systèmes d'élevage, F-34398, France
Article author query
tran h [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
salgado p [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
lecomte p [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


A 3-year experiment (2005–07) was conducted on Reunion Island (France) to evaluate the effect of species, climate and fertilization levels on fibre and protein fractions of tropical (C4; Chloris gayana and Pennisetum clandestinum) and temperate (C3; Dactylis glomerata and Lotium multiflorum) grasses. A near infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) prediction referential was developed to estimate neutral detergent fibre (NDF), acid detergent fibre (ADF), crude protein (CP), NDF insoluble protein (NDF-IP) and ADF insoluble protein (ADF-IP). The NIRS equations were then used to screen many regrowth grass samples collected at heading stage continuously for 3 years to evaluate their changes during the seasons. Results showed that grass species differed significantly in fibre and protein fractions. NDF, ADF and ADF-IP were the lowest in D. glomerata/L. multiflorum and the highest in C. gayana. The wet season was associated with higher NDF, ADF and NDF-IP in D. glomerata/L. multiflorum and lower NDF-IP in P. clandestinum. Fertilization increased the CP in C. gayana and the NDF-IP in P. clandestinum, but decreased the ADF-IP of both C. gayana and D. glomerata/L. multiflorum. Growth rate strongly changed NDF, ADF, NDF-IP and ADF-IP although no change in CP appeared. In general, NDF, ADF and NDF-IP increased with the growth rate. In contrast, the ADF-IP content decreased from slow to fast growth rate in C. gayana and D. glomerata/L. multiflorum. Growth rate changes were thus considered as a general indicator for fibre and protein fraction variations of these grasses.

(Received February 16 2009)

(Online publication May 11 2009)


c1 To whom all correspondence should be addressed. Email: