Nutritional Value of Seaweed to Ruminants

  • Roger D. Applegate Wildlife Division, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, 650 State Street, Bangor, ME 04401-5654 U.S.A.
  • Patrick B. Gray Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, 1100 County Park Road, Campbellsville, KY 42718 U.S.A.
Keywords: seaweed, Alaria esculenta, Ascophyllum nodosum, Fucus vesiculosis, winter, digestibility, nutrient content, ruminant fodder


We compared the nutritional quality (apparent digestible dry matter (ADDM), crude protein, total phenolics, gross energy), of 3 seaweed species (Alaria esculenta, Ascophyllum nodosum, Fucus vesiculosis) to that of 3 woody browse species{Acer rubrum, Thuja occidentalis, Abies balsamea), lichen (Usnea spp.), and winter rye (Secale cereals) for ruminants. The ADDM's of the 3 seaweeds (63-80% DM) were 11-167% DM higher and crude protein contents (12.1-14.6% DM) were 68-186% DM higher than the 3 browse species. Seaweeds had lower total phenolics (5.5-10.3% DM) and gross energy (12-15 KJ/g DM), and moderate digestible energy (DE) contents (9-10 KJ/g DM) compared to the browse species. The 3 browse species had ADDM's of 30-57% DM, crude protein contents of 5.1-7.2% DM, total phenolic concentrations of 11.6-16.4% DM, and DE contents of 6-12 KJ/g DM. Winter rye and lichen had the lowest total phenolic concentrations (1.3 and 1.9% DM) of forages examined, and had lower ADDM's (35 and 40% DM), DE contents (6-7 KJ/g DM), and crude protein (7.8 and 5.7% DM) than seaweeds. The relatively high DE and protein contents of seaweed may explain high deer densities of Maine coastal islands where browse availability and use appears to be low.
How to Cite
Applegate, R. D., & Gray, P. B. (1995). Nutritional Value of Seaweed to Ruminants. Rangifer, 15(1), 15-18.