Performance, haemato-biochemical indices and antioxidant status of growing rabbits fed on diets supplemented with Mucuna pruriens leaf meal

Olugbenga D. Oloruntola, Simeon O. Ayodele, Samuel A. Adeyeye, J. O. Agbede


The effects of dietary Mucuna pruriens leaf meal (MLM) supplementation on rabbits’ performance, haemato-biochemical indices and antioxidant status outside their thermal neutrality zone (21 to 25°C) were evaluated. One hundred and twenty 35-d old crossbreed (Chinchilla×New Zealand) rabbits weighing 694±5 g were allotted to 4 treatments (30 rabbits/treatment; 3 rabbits/replicate). A basal diet (crude protein: 16.9%, crude fibre: 17.6%, digestible energy: 2671 kcal/kg) was divided into 4 equal portions i.e. diets 1, 2, 3 and 4, supplemented with 0, 4, 8 and 12 g MLM/kg, respectively, and pelleted. The average body weight in rabbits fed on diets 3 and 4 was higher compared to those fed on diet 1 (control) at 91 d of age (+228 and +262 g, respectively; P=0.01). Within 35 to 91 d, the average daily weight gain in rabbits fed on diets 3 and 4 was higher compared to those fed on the control diet (+4.1and +4.8 g/d, respectively; P=0.01). The dressing-out percentage of rabbits fed on diets 3 and 4 increased (P=0.05) compared to those fed the control diet. At 63 d and 91 d of age, the white blood cell level of rabbits fed on diet 4 increased significantly compared to those fed the control diet (+5.05×109 and +5.32×109/L, respectively). At 63 and 91 d of age, the cholesterol level of rabbits fed on diets 3 (–1.0 and –1.16 mmol/L, respectively) and 4 (–1.10 and –1.21 mmol/L, respectively), were significantly lower compared to those fed on the control diet. The aspartate aminotransferase (AST) concentration in rabbits fed on diet 4 was reduced compared to those on control diet at 63 d of age (–33.68 IU/L; P=0.02). At 63 d and 91 d of age, compared to control, the activities of glutathione peroxidase in rabbits fed on diets 3 (+35.77 and +49.09 mg protein, respectively) and 4 (+54.52 and +55.02 mg protein, respectively) increased significantly, while catalase activities in rabbits fed diet 4 (+217.7 and +209.5 mg/g, respectively) also increased significantly. It could be concluded that dietary MLM supplementation enhanced the rabbits’ performance, reduced serum AST and cholesterol and improved the antioxidant status.


Mucuna pruriens; rabbits; performance; antioxidant status; slaughter traits; health status

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