Full Length Research Paper
Tagasaste (Chamaecytisus proliferus (L. fit.) Link var. palmensis (Christ) Hansen and Sunding is a perennial fodder shrub naturalized in a range of environments for its valuable forage traits. This research was aimed at evaluating the seasonal variation in chemical composition, bioactive compounds and antioxidant properties in edible biomass components (leaves, twigs, flowers, and pods) of tagasaste grown in a Mediterranean environment of Sardinia (Italy). Season influenced the composition of edible biomass and chemical composition and antioxidant capacity of leaves and twigs. On average, crude protein concentration was 200, 97 and 66 g kg-1 dry matter, in leaves, twigs and mature pods, respectively. Neutral and acid detergent fibre were high in twigs. In late summer, antioxidant capacity of leaves reached 44 mmol/100 g dry weight of Trolox equivalent and was correlated with the levels of total phenolics and flavonoids. Research highlights that the edible biomass of tagasaste is a high quality feed source available during the most critical forage shortage for rainfed farming systems of Mediterranean climatic areas.
Key words: Bioactive compounds, forage quality, plant parts, polyphenols, tree lucerne.
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