Whole lupine seeds, dehulled lupine seeds and lupine by-products in rabbit nutrition: a review
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The present study reports on recent findings regarding the use of lupine seeds and lupine by-products in rabbit nutrition. Research relating to experimentally tested whole white lupine seeds (WLS), dehulled white lupine seeds (DWLS) and whole blue lupine seeds (BLS) as a main dietary crude protein (CP) source for lactating rabbit does and growing rabbits was examined. Regarding lupine by-products, two experiments dealing with dietary inclusion of either white lupine hulls or white lupine bran into fattening rabbit diets were examined. It was found that diets based on WLS did not have a negative impact on rabbit milk production, but did affect the growth performance of growing rabbits and, to some extent, reduced the sanitary risk index in fattening rabbits. Due to the favourable fatty acid profile of WLS, its dietary inclusion improved both rabbit milk and the meat fatty acid profile. Moreover, current experiments showed that dietary inclusion of DWLS led to higher meat tenderness, as determined by measuring the Warner-Bratzler shear force across fibres, with subsequent confirmation by sensory analysis. Rabbit performance of rabbits fed the BLS diet was comparable to that of rabbits fed the WLS diet, whereas the growth performance and health status of growing rabbits was negatively affected by the dietary inclusion of BLS. When evaluating the inclusion of white lupine hulls or lupine bran into the diets of growing rabbits, no adverse effects on the nutritive value of diets were observed, and thus, white lupine hulls had no negative impact on rabbit growth performance. In the future, research on the use of lupine seeds in rabbit nutrition should be expanded to focus on the possibility of combining WLS with various other alternative CP sources and on preventing digestive disorders in growing rabbits by increasing the soluble fibre content in diets based on WLS.
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