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Hydrolyzable and fermentable carbohydrates in North Italian pastures for horses

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Author(s): Paola Superchi | Alberto Sabbioni | Valentino Beretti | Ilaria Vecchi | Franca Vaccari Simonini

Journal: Italian Journal of Animal Science
ISSN 1594-4077

Volume: 9;
Issue: 3;
Start page: e66;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Pastures | Grasses | Legumes | Carbohydrate fractions | Fructans

ABSTRACT
Digestive and metabolic disorders in the horse were previously associated with hydrolyzable and nonhydrolyzable but rapidly fermentable components of nonstructural carbohydrates, particularly fructans. Aim of the study was to assess the contribution of the carbohydrate fractions to the composition of pastures in specific areas of Italy ordinarily designed for horses feeding. Seventy-seven samples from 11 pastures differing for floristic composition were collected across two growing seasons from  April 18th 2008 to May 10th 2009 in the foothills (380 m a.s.l.) of the province of Parma (Italy). All samples were collected during the vegetative growth phase. To identify the bioclimatologic conditions of the growth, the average fortnightly thermohygrometric index (THI) was used. Slow fermentable carbohydrates mean concentration (NDF: 510.6, ADF: 274.7, ADL: 31.5 g/kg DM) reflected the typical chemical composition of high-quality grass and grass-legume mixtures. Among the nonstructual carbohydrates (NSC 199.9 g/kg DM), hydrlolyzable carbohydrates content accounted for about the 18%. Nonhydrolyzable but rapidly fermentable carbohydrates were constituted for about the 23% by fructans (37.7 g/kg DM, range 15.5 to 138.2). The environmental conditions significantly affected the carbohydrate concentration in forages. Between NSC, fructans concentration in pastures was affected by bioclimatologic conditions (P
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