Plantain Ash Enhances Dietary Mineral Elements Absorption in Pullets

Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Animal Science and Technology, Federal University of Technology, PMB 1526 Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria

2 Department of Animal Science, Kogi State University, Ayangba, Kogi State, Nigeria

3 Department of Animal Health and Production, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria

4 Department of Animal Science and Fisheries, Imo State University Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria


Generally, only a fraction of the mineral ingested by an animal is effectively absorbed, while most are bound to other components such as fibre and then excreted. In this study, faecal mineral composition differentials were used as indicators of mineral uptake by pullets supplemented varying levels of plantain ash in their daily rations for nine weeks. Plantain stalk and root base samples were collected, sun dried and ashed to produce plantain stalk ash (PSA) and root base ash (PRA), respectively. Ninety six (96) day old Isa Brown pullets were reared to 15 weeks of age and thereafter divided into 2 major groups of 48 birds each. Each group was divided into 4 subgroups of 12 birds each and each subgroup divided into three replicates giving four birds per replicate in a completely randomized design. The PSA and PRA were fed to the pullets as mineral supplements to commercial grower from the 15th to 18th week (4 wk) and layer mashes from the 19th to 24th week (6 wk) at the rate 0, 1, 2 and 3 g per kg body weight so that one group received PSA and the other PRA. In each case, the zero supplementation served as control. At the 9th week of feeding, faecal samples were collected from the groups, dried in the sun and analyzed for their mineral compositions by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Among the macro minerals, both PSA and PRA supplementation resulted in reductions in the faecal concentrations of K and Mg, with increasing supplementation level, resulting in further reduction of faecal content of these minerals. Mg showed highly significant (P<0.05, P<0.01) regression effects for PSA and PRA, respectively. Reductions in faecal Ni and Fe concentrations were high (47.62 and 79.19%) across 1 g/kg body weight (BW) PSA and PRA supplementations, while it was 83.33% for Mn at the same 1 g/kg BW PRA supplementation. Ni (PSA) and Cr (PSA and PRA) values were significant (P<0.10) for regression effects, implying that the faecal values of these minerals could be predicted from any given quantity of plantain ash using the regression equations. PRA supplementations resulted in increasing faecal content of the two heavy metals, that is, lead and cadmium, indicating selective poor intestinal absorption of these. Plantain ash could serve as potential sources of absorbable mineral supplements and also could improve mineral uptake from commercial diets offered to pullets.


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