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Nutrient Digestibility and Ferment-ability of Oil Palm Fronds

Palm fronds as a waste from oil palm plantations have potential for use as alternative feed forage replacement. This waste is highly abundant throughout the year, but its use as livestock feed is not maximized, especially on farms. The nutritional content of palm fronds was as follows: dry matter, organic matter, crude protein, crude fiber, neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber, cellulose and lignin. The utilization of palm fronds as feed is limited because of the high lignin content1.

Lignin is a natural phenolic polymer that is commonly found in plant cell walls and is a limiting factor in animal feed due to its low digestibility. Fermentation of palm fronds using P. chrysosporium supplemented with Ca, P and Mn minerals can decrease the lignin content. The digestibility and microbial protein synthesis (MPS) increase as the lignin content in palm fronds decreases2. Low lignin content makes it easier for rumen microbes to degrade feed so that more nutrients can be utilized as a source of energy for livestock and rumen microbes.

Tithonia is a flowering plant genus. This plant also has potential as an alternative feed. The combination of T and elephant grass (EG) can improve the digestibility and ferment-ability of the rumen fluid.

Therefore, researchers conducted a new study in which they measured the microbial protein synthesis (MPS) in Phanerochaete chrysosporium (a crust fungus) and determined the in vitro nutrient digestibility and ferment-ability of fermented oil palm fronds (FOPF) under supplementation with calcium, phosphorus and manganese minerals grown with tithonia (T) and elephant grass3.

The variables measured in the study were crude protein digestibility (CPD), cellulose digestibility (CD), ammonia (NH3) concentration, total volatile fatty acid (VFA) content and fluid ruminal pH values as indicators of fermentability and MPS.

The results indicated that the combination of 20% fermented oil palm fronds +16% tithonia and 64% elephant grass was highly effective in rations derived from plantation waste products, such as oil palm fronds. The combination of elephant grass and tithonia were capable of producing a higher crude protein digestibility. This suggested that combined treatment with different types of forage can improve the crude protein digestibility.

The cellulose digestibility in the study was higher than the cellulose digestibility in oil palm fronds fermented by P. chrysosporium without combination with other forage ingredients. Moreover it was also observed that the average total VFA content was sufficient for maximum rumen microbial growth.

Hence, the best effects on microbial protein synthesis, in vitro nutrient digestibility and fermentability were evaluated in the study effectively. This study will help researchers to realize that the combination of FOPF with T and EG is important for supporting MPS, in vitro fermentability and digestibility. Thus, this research could lead to a new theory on the importance of feed material combinations in rations derived from plantation waste products.


In vitro fermentability, FOPF, tithonia, elephant grass, MPS, Tithonia, Lignin, Phanerochaete chrysosporium, crust fungus, microbial protein synthesis, digestibility, feed material combinations, effective in rations.


  1. Zain, M., J. Rahman and Khasrad, 2014. Effect of palm oil by products on in vitro fermentation and nutrient digestibility. Anim. Nutr. Feed Technol., 14: 175-181.
  2. Jamarun, N., M. Zain, Arief and R. Pazla, 2017. Effects of calcium, phosphorus and manganese supplementation during oil palm frond fermentation by Phanerochaete chrysosporium on laccase activity and in vitro digestibility. Pak. J. Nutr., 16: 119-124.
  3. Pazla, R., Jamarun, N., Zain, M. and Arief, 2018. Microbial Protein Synthesis and in vitro Fermentability of Fermented Oil Palm Fronds by Phanerochaete chrysosporium in Combination with Tithonia (Tithonia diversifolia) and Elephant Grass (Pennisetum purpureum). Pak. J. Nutr., 17: 462-470.

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