African Journal of Range and Forage Science

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Evaluation of a thin-layer chromatographic technique for identification of bush species browsed by goats

LV Mabinya, JM Brand


Diet selection by herbivores is a major determinant of animal and plant production and has a direct bearing on the sustainability of stock farming generally. Fistulated goats were confined in designated plots on the University of Fort Hare research farm and fistula samples were collected by the fistula valve technique. Leaves of preferred bush species were also sampled. Methanol extracts of both fistula and bush samples were prepared and analysed by thin-layer chromatography. Chromatoplates, when visualised under ultraviolet light, revealed a number of fluorescent compounds, some of which were common in both the fistula and bush sample extracts. By comparing the presence of characteristic compounds in the fistula sample with those that appear identical in particular bush species, dietary preferences of browsers can be established. However, any results of this nature need to be confirmed by field observations of the particular animal species.

Keywords: dietary preferences, fistulated goats, fluorescent compounds, herbivores

African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2008, 25(1): 43–46
AJOL African Journals Online