Evaluation of browse composition: vitamin E


Kerr K, Sullivan K, Livingston S, Staples C, Valdes EV.  2015.  Evaluation of browse composition:  vitamin E.  In Bissell H, Brooks M Eds. Proceedings of the Eleventh Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Portland, OR.


Vitamin E is an important antioxidant, and deficiency is known to impact the reproduction, growth, and immunity in many species. Dietary browse can be an important source of vitamin E for animals housed in zoological institutions; however the contribution of these items to total dietary vitamin E likely varies by browse species and across time. Our objective was to evaluate this variation utilizing browse harvested at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Samples of select browse species were collected monthly over the course of one year (June 2014 to May 2015) during periods of inclusion within animal diets: whole stalk, including leaves, of elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum; n = 30 samples; 3 samples/mon for 10-mon); leaves of Japanese blueberry (Elaeocarpus sylvestris; n = 36 samples; 3 samples/mon for 12-mon); and branches, including leaves, of willow (Salix caroliniana; n = 33 samples; 2 to 3 samples/mon for 12-mon). We utilized Covance laboratories for vitamin E analysis (Table 1), and Dairy One laboratories for proximate analysis (Table 2).

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