Growth performance of Rattus norvegicus fed on varying concentrations of Azolla meal.
Okello Opio, Isaac
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Plant proteins have been reported to be useful in animal nutrition in this period of sincere efforts of reducing cost of production attributed to high cost of protein sources. This study was conducted to investigate how far Rastrineobola argentea, locally known as ‘Mukene’ can be replaced with Azolla meal. A total of 20 Albino rats (Rattus norvegicus) eight-to-ten weeks of age (average initial weight 100±5g) were used in a growth trial to investigate the potential of Azolla based diets on their growth performance. The feeding trial which lasted 38 days, dietary treatments were assigned to five caged groups of Rattus norvegicus balanced for ancestry, sex, and body weight. The groups were assigned to five experimental diets in a completely randomized design (CRD) consisting of five treatments and four replicates with one rat. Five dietary treatment groups with Azolla replacing Mukene; 0% (control), 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% inclusion levels as protein source. A cake of Azolla meal was developed and fed to Rattus norvegicus. Data were collected on body weight after every 4 days for 24 days and were subjected to analysis of variance statistically using Graph pad prism software, Version 5.01 at 95% confidence level. When Mukene was substituted for Azolla, the average daily feed intake, was not different across all diets, but average weight gain was highest (P<0.05) for the 50% than other levels of substitution. The final body weight of were significantly (P<0.05) affected by feeding on 0%, 25% and 50% Azolla meal formulation. The final body weight of Rattus norvegicus were insignificantly (P<0.05) affected by feeding on 75% and 100% Azolla meal formulation. This study revealed that Azolla can be used as a replacement for Mukene. However, the inclusion must not exceed 50%. This indicated that Azolla can be used to supplement protein source but not totally substituting Mukene as the sole protein source for animal feeds.