Abstract: In the semiarid and subtropical regions of northeastern Mexico, leaves and pods of Leucaena sp. are important forage complements into ruminant feeding. In order to determine the effectiveness of the use of Leucaena as fodder, samples of leaves of four species L. diversifolia, L. leucocephala, L. pulverulenta, L. shannoni and the hybrid L. leucocephala K743 were collected for estimation of some of their chemical characteristics, cell wall components, mineral composition, Volatile Fatty Acid (VFA) concentration and tannin and mimosine content. Results from chemical analysis revealed significant (p< 0.05) differences in nutrient values between species and hybrid of Leucaena. The highest value of crude protein (27.4%) and lowest ash content (7.9%) were exhibited by L. leucocephala K 743, while the highest NDF (38.5%) and ADF (26.8%) content were observed in L. pulverulenta and L. diversifolia. Low level of hemicellulose and soluble ash was observed in L. pulverulenta (7.3% and 0.11% respectively). The maximum mimosine content was observed in L. leucocephala (3.02%) and L. pulverulenta (2.91%). The VFA was higher in L. diversifolia (55.6mM) and L. leucocephala (51.5 mM) compared to L. pulverulenta (42.0 mM) and L. shannoni (48.3 mM). L. leucocephala had higher content of iron (115.5 ppm), lead (2.02 ppm) and aluminum (133.2 ppm) compared to others species, whereas, L. diversifolia showed the higher values in zinc (14.3 ppm), cobalt (0.06 ppm) and manganese (36.8 ppm). The leaves of Leucaena sp. should be considered as different entities than other ingredients of the traditional diets when characterizing nutrient quality.
R. Foroughbakhch , J.L. Hernandez-Pinero , R. Ramirez , M.A. Alvarado , M.H. Badii , A. Rocha and M.A. Guzman-Lucio , 2007. Nutrients, Mineral and Volatile Fatty Acids Content in Four Leucaena Species and the Hybrid K743. Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, 6: 1083-1087.