The effect of calcium in the nutrient medium on kikuyu grass (Pennisetum clandestinum Hochst), grown in a solution culture, was investigated. Calcium had no effect on the lignin content of leaf material, but decreased the lignin content per unit stem cell wall. Calcium appeared to have no significant effect on either the hemicellulose and cellulose content or on the ratio of constituent sugars of the hemicellulose fraction of both leaf and stem tissue. A high cell wall phenolic acid content in kikuyu leaves was associated with a high leaf calcium content. High calcium considerably increased the dry matter yield of kikuyu, but did not appear to improve its digestibility.
Keywords: calcium content; cell wall; cell-wall phenolic acids; cellulose; composition; digestibility; dry matter; dry matter yield; hemicellulose; kikuyu; leaves; lignin; minerals; pennisetum clandestinum; yield