Assessment of the nutritional quality of variously-processed rubber seed meals as dietary ingredients using the laboratory rat as model for pigs
The study determined the growth performance and physiological parameters of laboratory rats fed variously processed rubber seed meals (RSM). Thirty six growing rats (18 males and 18 females) were randomly allotted into 6 groups and were fed a control diet with no RSM and 5 other diets containing 100g of the raw RSM and 4 processed rubber seed meals (soaked, SRSM; sundried, SDRSM; boiled, BRSM; and roasted, RoRSM). The feeding of diets incorporating 100 g of the various types of rubber seed meals had no significant (P > 0.05) effect on feed intake, body weight gain and feed conversion efficiency, as compared to rubber seed meal-free (control) diet. However, water consumption by rats was significantly (P< 0.05) influenced by the dietary treatments. No deaths or health-related problems were recorded during the course of the study. Dietary treatments had significant (P< 0.05) impact on relative weights of the liver, heart and lungs but not on the kidney, spleen and intestinal weights. Treatment differences in blood cellular elements and biochemical indices were not significant (P> 0.05), except the WBC count, MCV value and blood sugar levels. With the exception of the RoRSM diet, cost per gram feed and feed cost per gram live weight gain were slightly reduced when the rubber seed meals were used, Seasonal variations in the prices of feedstuffs such as maize and soyabean meal would make the use of alternative feedstuffs such as rubber seed meal in animal diets more attractive.