Condensed tannins in birdsfoot trefoil: Genetic relationships with forage yield and quality in NC-83 germplasm

Perry R. Miller, Nancy J. Ehlke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Genetic relationships of condensed tannins (CT) with other forage quality parameters have not been adequately studied in birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.). The objectives were to bidirectionally select for CT concentration in birdsfoot trefoil to determine selection response and to create populations for examination of genetic relationships of CT with forage quality parameters, principally lignin. High-and low-tannin parental clones were selected from NC-83 birdsfoot trefoil germplasm and intercrossed to produce Syn1 populations. Herbage samples, harvested for two years at two locations, were analyzed from high-tannin, low-tannin, and parental populations for CT concentration, herbage yield, and forage quality parameters. The mean condensed tannin concentrations in the high-and low-tannin populations were 69.3±0.8 and 21.1±0.8 g catechin equivalent (CE) kg-1 dry matter (DM) compared with 36.4±0.8 g CE kg-1 DM in the parental population. The selection response exhibited a quadratic relationship, with selection for increased CT concentration more effective than for reduced CT concentration. Compared with the parental population, acid detergent lignin (ADL) was higher, and crude protein (CP) and in vitro digestible dry matter (IVDDM) concentrations were lower for the high-tannin population and the converse was true for the low-tannin population. Lignin concentration was positively correlated with CT concentration (rg=0.66 P≤0.01).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-391
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1995


  • birdsfoot trefoil
  • condensed tannins
  • forage legume
  • forage quality
  • Lotus corniculatus

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