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Species composition of ryegrass (Lolium perenne) and tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) mixtures using various combinations of n-alkanes

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Abstract:

Abstract

This study was conducted to evaluate the reliability of the n-alkane technique for estimating the species composition of Lolium perenne (ryegrass, L) and Festuca arundinacea (tall fescue, F) mixtures. Samples of L and F were collected in May (period 1) and June 2003 (period 2) on mono-specific swards that were maintained at a height of 9 cm. Seven sets of mixtures containing controlled proportions of L and F were then prepared: 1·00:0, 0·80:0·20, 0·60:0·40, 0·50:0·50, 0·40:0·60, 0·20:0·80 and 0:1·00 of L:F, respectively, in the mixture. The proportion of each species in the mixtures was estimated from measured n-alkane concentrations, and then compared with the actual known proportion. Various n-alkane combinations were tested and compared to establish which combination gave the best estimate. Total n-alkane concentrations, and especially C29- and C31-alkane concentrations, were higher in period 1 than in period 2 for both species. The best n-alkane combination varied between periods, as did the effectiveness of C29-alkane in discriminating between L and F. The species composition of the mixtures was satisfactorily estimated for the majority of n-alkane combinations, providing the combination included n-alkanes with contrasting profiles between both species. A systematic overestimation of the proportion of ryegrass was observed for the 0·50:0·50 mixture.

Keywords: botanical composition; n-alkanes; ryegrass; tall fescue

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2494.2005.00473.x

Affiliations: 1: Departamento de Zootecnia, Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Avenida Colombo, 5790, Maringá, Paraná, Brazil 2: Unité de Recherches sur les Herbivores, INRA Clermont-Ferrand/Theix, 63122 St-Genès-Champanelle, France

Publication date: 2005-09-01

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