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Leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala)

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Description
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Common names 

Leucaena, white leadtree, jumbay, white popinac, wild tamarind [English]; peladera, liliaque, huaje, guaje [Spanish]; faux mimosa, faux-acacia, cassie blanc, leucaene à têtes blanches, bois bourro [French]; lamtoro, petai cina, petai selong [Indonesian]; pethèt [Javanese]; koa haole [Hawaiian]; madlèn [Haitian Creole]; ipil-ipil [Tagalog]; keo dậu, keo giậu, táo nhơn, bọ chét, bình linh, keo giun [Vietnamese]; ইপিল ইপিল [Bengali]; 銀合歡 [Chinese]; सुबबूल  [Hindi]; ギンネム [Japanese]; इपिल [Nepali]; இபில்-இபில் [Tamil]

Synonyms 

Acacia glauca Willd.; Leucaena glabrata Rose; Leucaena leucocephala subsp. glabrata; Leucaena glauca auct.; Mimosa leucocephala (Lam) Link.; Leucaena leucocephala subsp. leucocephala; Mimosa glauca sensu L. (USDA, 2009; Cook et al., 2005)

Related feed(s) 
Description 

Leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala (Lam.) de Wit) is a fast growing, evergreen, thornless shrub, reaching a height of 5 m (Hawaiian type) to 20 m (Hawaiian giant type) (FAO, 2009). Leucaena is a long-lived perennial legume (around 23 year half-life in difficult conditions in Australia). It has a deep taproot and is highly branched. Leaves are bipinnate, bearing numerous leaflets 8 mm to 16 mm long (Cook et al., 2005). The inflorescence is a cream coloured globular shape producing clusters of flat brown pods, 13 to 18 mm long containing 15-30 seeds. Flowering and fruiting occur throughout the year (Ecoport, 2009).

Leucaena is valuable for its wood, which is used to make good quality charcoal, small furniture and paper pulp. Its young shoots, young leaves and seeds may be used as a vegetable in human nutrition. Seeds can also be used as a substitute of coffee or as pieces of jewellery (Cook et al., 2005).

Leucaena is one of the highest quality and most palatable fodder trees of the tropics (Ecoport, 2009).

Distribution 

Leucaena is native to Guatemala and Mexico. It was introduced to the Philippines and South-East Asia in the 16th century, spread throughout the Asian Pacific region and reached Australia in the late 19th century. It is widespread within 30°N and 30°S and grows well in areas where annual rainfall ranges from 650 to 3000 mm and where day-temperatures are within 25°C and 30°C. It prefers neutral to mildly acid, well drained soils. Leucaena is tolerant of dryer climates (300 mm) and drought periods (up to 6-7 months). It may withstand light frost (though with lower yields), moderate salinity and short periods of waterlogging (less than three weeks). Heavy frost, acid soils, low P, low Ca and high Al are detrimental to leucaena (Ecoport, 2009; Cook et al., 2005).

Forage management 

Leucaena may be lightly grazed in the first year after seedling and heavily grazed after the second year. Average yield ranges from 3 to 30 t DM/ha/year depending on soil, temperature and moisture conditions. For optimal yields, harvest interval can vary from 6-8 weeks in very productive sites to 12 weeks in less productive ones (Cook et al., 2005).

Environmental impact 

Leucaena’s contribution to the environment are manifold:

  • N-fixing: it fixes large amounts of N (150 to 300 kg/ha) thus promoting grass or maize growth (Leucaena.net, 2009; Ecoport, 2009).
  • Erosion control and land reclamation. Its deep taproot helps breaking up compacted subsoil layers thus improving water penetration and reducing surface run-off. It prevents saline subsoil water from reaching the surface. Grown in contour strips, leucaena helps in erosion control on steep slopes.
  • It provides shade and acts as a shelterbelt (preventing wind damages) to other trees such as cocoa, coffee and tea but also to climbing crops (vanilla, pepper, passion fruit).
  • It provides green manure in alley cropping systems since its leaves decompose quickly (Shelton et al., 1998).
Nutritional aspects
Potential constraints 

Leucaena contains large amounts of mimosine (up to 12% DM in young shoots), a toxic amino acid that is detrimental to non-ruminants (horses, donkeys, pigs and poultry). In ruminants, mimosine is broken down in the rumen to DHP (3,4 and 2,3 dihydroxy-piridine), a goitrogen that is detoxified by rumen bacteria. However, mimosine causes Leucaena to be toxic to cattle if fed in large amounts (more than 30% of the diet) over long periods. It induces low feed intake, and reduces live-weight gain and reproductive performance. Toxicity symptoms are alopecia, excessive salivation and enlarged thyroid glands (Norton, 1998).

Supplementation with zinc sulphate or Fe salts alleviates leucaena toxicity. Mimosine content can also be reduced by soaking in water and drying. Another way to detoxify mimosine is to transfer rumen degrading bacteria (Synergistes jonesii) from adapted cattle, sheep or goats to non adapted ones (Norton, 1998).

Ruminants 

Leucaena leucocephala has been being recognized as a high-potential fodder for centuries. Its nutritional value is comparable with that of alfalfa with a high ß-carotene content (Ecoport, 2009). The content in condensed tannins (2.6% DM) in the leaves and stems reduce DM digestibility but enhances by-pass protein (FAO, 2009; Cook et al., 2005).

Leucaena leucocephala can survive for decades under heavy cutting or grazing. It provides high quality forage during the dry season and is very palatable to cattle, sheep and goats (Jones, 1979). Moreover, it grows well in association with many subtropical and tropical grasses (Cook et al., 2005).

Cattle

When leucaena pasture is used as a supplement during the dry or winter season, it substantially improves live-weight gain compared to pure grass pasture, particularly if the pasture is of low quality (Jones, 1979). When the diet contains large amounts of Leucaena leucacephala, without the detrimental effects of mimosine, animals performed better than on pure pasture or grass/legume pasture (twice that of grass/siratro in the same soil conditions). Live-weight gains ranged from 0.36 kg/head/day (over a 315-day period) to 1.1 kg/head/day (over a 90-day period). When cattle were able to detoxify DHP, live-weight gains were even higher (1,442 kg/ha/year = 0.64 kg/head/day) (Shelton et al., 1998).

Feeding dairy cows on cut-and-carry leucaena foliage increased milk production by 14% and also increased milk fat and protein contents. Dairy cows grazing Brachiaria decumbens/Leucaena leucocephala produced higher milk yield than cows fed on the grass only cut-and-carry system. Cows fed Leucaena leucocephala ate less concentrate and did not need feeding on heavy fertilized grasses. They also gained more weight. However, diets containing high amounts of leucaena foliage are detrimental to reproduction in heifers or cows when the rumen is not inoculated with DHP-degrading bacteria: stillborn calves are numerous, calving percentage is reduced (66% vs. 88%), and calf weight at birth is lower. It is recommended that heifers be inoculated before pregnancy or given limited access to leucaena during early pregnancy (Jones, 1998).

Sheep

Leucaena is very palatable to sheep. Grazing sheep or sheep fed on grass hay have higher performances when they are supplemented with 25-50% of dried leucaena leaves (Osakwe et al., 2006; Tomkins et al., 1991). Larger amounts can be fed in periods of feed scarcity (Osakwe et al., 2006; Souza et al., 1999). Leucaena leaf meal or fresh leaves can also replace concentrate or ammoniated rice straw since it increases DM intake, protein intake and N retention, thus improving growth rate (Espinoza et al., 2005; Orden et al., 2000). Lambs fed leucaena leaf meal have a higher survival rate and growth rate (Reynolds et al., 1987). In spite of the mimosine content, reproductive performance is not altered by dry or fresh leucaena forage in rams (Nsahlai et al., 2005; Negussie Dana et al., 2000). Ewes fed leucaena hay had a good body weight at mating with higher ovulation rates (Selaive-Villarroel et al., 2002). Rumen inoculation with DHP-degrading bacteria is effective in sheep and results in satisfactory haematological parameters and growth performance (Mishra et al., 2002). Leucaena may reduce the cost of parasitic control (Medina et al., 2006).

Goats

Leucaena foliage is a very promising feedstuff for goats when compared to other legumes such as alfalfa, Lablab purpureus and Gliricidia sepium. It is rich in nutrients, resulting in better DM intake, weight gain and reproductive performance (Kanani et al., 2006; Babayemi et al., 2006; Pamo et al., 2004; Akingbade et al., 2004). Between 50 and 75% of leucaena foliage can be included in a grass-based diet (Aregheore et al., 2004; Odeyinka, 2001) and 30% when it replaces concentrate (Dutta et al., 2002), without affecting growth and milk production (Clavero et al., 2003). Fresh or wilted leucaena gives better DM intake, growth rate and N utilization than dried leucaena leaves (Aregheore, 2002).

Adding iodine to leucaena can alleviate the detrimental effects of mimosine in goats (Rajendran et al., 2001; Pattanaik et al., 2007). It is also possible for goats to become used to mimosine, resulting in increased weight gains and milk production (Kumar et al., 1998). Rumen inoculation with DHP-degrading bacteria is possible in female and male goats. Bucks transinoculated and fed leucaena have good quality semen (Akingbade et al., 2001; Akingbade et al., 2002).

Leucaena leaf meal included at 45% of the diet to supplement natural pastures increased crude protein intake, weight gain and fibre growth in Angora goats (Rubanza et al., 2007; Yami et al., 2000).

Pigs 

It is possible to feed pigs with low levels of Leucaena leucocephala: 5 to 10% leucaena leaf meal is recommended for growing and finishing pigs (Isaac et al., 1995; Ly et al., 1998). However, treating leucaena with acetic acid (30 g/kg) or zeolite (5%) improved N retention, allowing up to 20% leucaena leaves or leaf meal in the diet (Echeverria et al., 2003; Ly et al., 2007).

Poultry 

Feed intake, live-weight gain and egg production declined when Leucaena leucocephala leaf meal was included at 5%, 20% and 30% of the diet (Scott et al., 1982; Berry et al., 1981; Librojo et al., 1974). These low performances may have been due to mimosine or poor amino acid digestibility (Picard et al., 1987; Abou-Elezz et al., 2012). The detrimental effects of mimosine can be alleviated by the use of ferric sulphate or PEG (D'Mello et al., 1989).

In broilers, 5% inclusion rate of leucaena leaf meal is recommended since it improves feed conversion (Natanman et al., 1996). If roasted, the inclusion rate may be as high as 15% with no alteration in animal performance (Okonkwo et al., 2002).

In laying hens, the recommended inclusion rate for leucaena leaf meal is 6% (Sekhar et al., 1998). Xanthophylls extracted from leaves of Leucaena leucocephala can maintain animal performance while improving yolk colour and reducing feed costs (Zongo et al., 1997).

Rabbits 

Fresh or dried Leucaena leucocephala or leaf meal improves feed intake, feed efficiency and animal performance in rabbits. The recommended inclusion rate ranges from 24% to 40% for growing or fattening rabbits fed on fresh Leucaena leucocephala leaves (Adejumo, 2006; Nieves et al., 2002; Rohilla et al., 2000; Rohilla et al., 1999; Muir et al., 1992; Onwuka et al., 1992). Leucaena leucocephala can replace alfalfa (Scapinello et al., 2000). Leucaena leaf meal may be included at 25% when supplementing a diet based on cassava peels and Gliricidia sepium and at 30-40% when rabbits are fed with Arachis pintoiLeucaena leucocephala is more palatable than Arachis pintoi (Nieves et al., 2004).

Not all rabbit trials with leucaena have been positive. In an experiment where dried leucaena replaced wheat bran in the diet of growing rabbits, performance decreased when more than 10-15% leucaena was included (Parigi-Bini et al., 1984). The inclusion of fresh leucaena leaves at 20-25% had deleterious effects on the survival of female and young rabbits (up to 55% mortality) (Muir et al., 1992; Sugur et al., 2001). To alleviate mimosine toxicity, FeCl3 can be added to Leucaena leucocephala (Gupta et al., 1998).

Fish 

Leaves

It is possible to feed African and Asian catfish (Clarias gariepinus and Clarias macrocephalus) with leucaena leaf meal as a protein source (Hossain et al., 1997; Santiago et al., 1997): 30% inclusion is suitable for African catfish (Hossain et al., 1997). However, in Asian catfish, results obtained with leucaena leaf meal were inferior to those obtained with copra meal or fish meal (Santiago et al., 1997).

Seeds

Leucaena seed meal is a good alternative to soybean meal for Clarias gariepinus fingerlings, at an inclusion rate of 20% (Sotolu, 2010).

Crustaceans 

It was possible to feed giant tiger prawns (Penaeus monodon) juveniles with fresh leucaena leaves that had been soaked to remove mimosine (Peñaflorida et al., 1992). However, raw leaves induced pathological alterations (Vogt, 1990).

Nutritional tables

Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 29.9 4.0 22.7 37.4 53
Crude protein % DM 23.3 4.2 14.2 33.3 499
Crude fibre % DM 19.9 4.4 12.5 29.7 72
NDF % DM 40.9 9.3 22.2 59.1 335
ADF % DM 25.4 7.5 11.2 43.1 262
Lignin % DM 10.8 4.5 3.6 22.0 250
Ether extract % DM 4.0 1.1 1.5 6.1 67
Ash % DM 8.5 2.2 4.7 14.0 511
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 19.0 1.7 18.3 23.5 14 *
 
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Calcium g/kg DM 10.7 6.2 3.0 27.2 121
Phosphorus g/kg DM 2.1 0.5 1.1 3.5 249
Potassium g/kg DM 18.9 3.7 10.6 25.2 194
Sodium g/kg DM 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.7 38
Magnesium g/kg DM 3.9 1.0 2.3 6.6 71
Manganese mg/kg DM 65 23 27 132 32
Zinc mg/kg DM 30 9 19 53 33
Copper mg/kg DM 13 6 7 31 32
Iron mg/kg DM 261 159 136 695 22
 
Amino acids Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Alanine % protein 5.1 4.8 5.5 2
Arginine % protein 5.6 0.7 4.9 6.4 4
Aspartic acid % protein 8.5 8.0 9.0 2
Cystine % protein 2.3 1.2 3.3 2
Glutamic acid % protein 9.8 9.5 10.0 2
Glycine % protein 4.6 0.4 4.3 5.1 3
Histidine % protein 2.2 0.4 1.9 2.7 4
Isoleucine % protein 4.7 1.0 3.8 5.9 4
Leucine % protein 7.9 0.8 7.3 9.0 4
Lysine % protein 5.5 0.9 4.6 6.7 4
Methionine % protein 1.3 0.1 1.2 1.4 4
Phenylalanine % protein 5.4 0.2 5.0 5.6 4
Proline % protein 4.0 4.0 4.0 2
Serine % protein 4.3 4.2 4.4 2
Threonine % protein 4.1 0.3 3.9 4.6 4
Tyrosine % protein 4.2 0.1 4.0 4.3 4
Valine % protein 5.2 0.5 4.7 5.8 4
 
Secondary metabolites Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Tannins (eq. tannic acid) g/kg DM 23.8 32.1 0.0 107.8 18
Tannins, condensed (eq. catechin) g/kg DM 27.6 28.1 0.1 72.8 8
 
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 75.4 1.5 58.9 75.4 4 *
OM digestibility, ruminants (gas production) % 58 1
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 73.3 *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 13.9 *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 11.0 *
ME ruminants (gas production) MJ/kg DM 8.4 0.2 8.3 8.7 3
Nitrogen digestibility, ruminants % 65.3 3.5 60.6 68.6 4
a (N) % 18.5 11.7 0.0 35.2 11
b (N) % 62.5 15.8 36.1 85.7 11
c (N) h-1 0.044 0.019 0.015 0.080 11
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=4%) % 51 29 51 2 *
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=6%) % 45 12 22 60 10 *
 
Pig nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Energy digestibility, growing pig % 58.8 44.0 58.8 2 *
DE growing pig MJ/kg DM 11.2 9.6 11.2 2 *
Nitrogen digestibility, growing pig % 44.0 42.0 46.0 2

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.

References

Abdulrazak et al., 1996; Abdulrazak et al., 1997; Abdulrazak et al., 2001; Abdulrazak et al., 2006; Adeneye, 1979; Adjolohoun, 2008; Ahn et al., 1989; Alvarez et al., 1978; Aregheore et al., 2006; Aumont et al., 1991; Baba et al., 2002; Babayemi et al., 2006; Babayemi, 2007; Balogun et al., 1995; Balogun et al., 1998; Barahona et al., 2003; Barnes, 1998; Bhannasiri, 1970; Bonsi et al., 1995; Bosman et al., 1995; Boukary-Mori, 2000; Bui Huy Nhu Phuc, 2006; CGIAR, 2009; CIRAD, 1991; Ekpenyong, 1986; El Hassan et al., 2000; Evitayani et al., 2004; Faria-Marmol et al., 1996; FUSAGx/CRAW, 2009; González-García et al., 2008; Gowda et al., 2004; Holm, 1971; Hulman et al., 1978; Huque et al., 1995; Jones et al., 2000; Kabaija et al., 1988; Kaitho et al., 1997; Kaitho et al., 1998; Keir et al., 1997; Khamseekhiew et al., 2001; Khanum et al., 2007; Larbi et al., 1998; Larbi et al., 2005; Mahyuddin et al., 1988; Makkar et al., 1998; Mecha et al., 1980; Mlay et al., 2006; Mondal et al., 2008; Nasrullah et al., 2003; Nsahlai et al., 1996; Odedire et al., 2007; Orskov et al., 1992; Phuc et al., 2000; Pires et al., 2006; Pozy et al., 1996; Premaratne et al., 1998; Ravindran et al., 1994; Reddy et al., 2008; Scott, 1967; Siaw et al., 1993; Teguia et al., 1999; Vadiveloo, 1989; Warly et al., 2010; Work, 1937; Xandé et al., 1989

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:43:24

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 23.8 19.2 28.4 2
Crude protein % DM 26.1 4.7 21.7 31.0 3
Crude fibre % DM 23.2 3.9 18.7 25.6 3
Ether extract % DM 1.5 0.6 0.9 2.1 3
Ash % DM 6.9 0.8 5.8 7.5 4
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 18.9 *
 
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Calcium g/kg DM 7.2 1
Phosphorus g/kg DM 1.8 1
Magnesium g/kg DM 3.2 1
Zinc mg/kg DM 100 1
Copper mg/kg DM 4 1
Iron mg/kg DM 360 1
 
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 86.7 *
 
Pig nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Energy digestibility, growing pig % 53.6 *
DE growing pig MJ/kg DM 10.1 *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.

References

Adeneye, 1979; Anon., 1934; Gowda et al., 2004

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:43:25

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 89.6 5.8 81.0 95.1 7
Crude protein % DM 31.9 5.6 22.3 41.3 8
Crude fibre % DM 15.6 4.1 11.4 20.5 5
NDF % DM 38.7 9.7 28.4 53.0 6
ADF % DM 20.7 3.2 16.5 24.5 6
Lignin % DM 8.8 9.7 3.1 20.1 3
Ether extract % DM 8.1 2.5 6.0 12.5 5
Ash % DM 5.7 2.3 4.1 8.8 6
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 22.3 1
 
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Calcium g/kg DM 7.8 4.6 10.9 2
Phosphorus g/kg DM 4.7 1.9 3.4 6.9 3
Potassium g/kg DM 12.3 9.6 15.0 2
Sodium g/kg DM 0.5 1
Magnesium g/kg DM 6.8 2.6 11.1 2
 
Amino acids Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Alanine % protein 3.6 3.6 3.7 2
Arginine % protein 5.1 1.2 4.3 6.4 3
Aspartic acid % protein 10.0 9.6 10.4 2
Cystine % protein 0.7 0.6 0.8 2
Glutamic acid % protein 13.3 12.1 14.5 2
Glycine % protein 4.0 3.6 4.4 2
Histidine % protein 2.6 0.8 2.0 3.5 3
Isoleucine % protein 2.6 0.8 1.9 3.4 3
Leucine % protein 4.3 1.8 2.4 5.8 3
Lysine % protein 3.9 1.2 2.9 5.2 3
Methionine % protein 0.6 0.3 0.3 0.9 3
Phenylalanine % protein 2.8 0.9 1.9 3.6 3
Proline % protein 3.2 2.8 3.6 2
Serine % protein 2.2 1
Threonine % protein 2.3 0.3 1.9 2.6 3
Tryptophan % protein 0.4 0.3 0.5 2
Tyrosine % protein 1.6 0.7 1.0 2.4 3
Valine % protein 3.6 0.4 3.2 4.0 3
 
Secondary metabolites Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Tannins (eq. tannic acid) g/kg DM 0.0 1
Tannins, condensed (eq. catechin) g/kg DM 2.9 1
 
Ruminant nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
OM digestibility, Ruminant % 89.1 *
Energy digestibility, ruminants % 89.1 *
DE ruminants MJ/kg DM 19.9 *
ME ruminants MJ/kg DM 15.5 *
a (N) % 39.6 38.1 41.0 2
b (N) % 44.9 44.0 45.8 2
c (N) h-1 0.085 0.079 0.091 2
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=4%) % 70 *
Nitrogen degradability (effective, k=6%) % 66 63 69 2 *
 
Pig nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Energy digestibility, growing pig % 65.6 *
DE growing pig MJ/kg DM 14.6 *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.

References

Belewu et al., 2008; CGIAR, 2009; CIRAD, 1991; Ekpenyong, 1986; Ngwa et al., 2002; Odeyinka et al., 2004; Ohlde et al., 1982; Palafox et al., 1961; Promkot et al., 2003; Walker, 1975

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:43:25

References
References 
Datasheet citation 

Heuzé V., Tran G., 2015. Leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala). Feedipedia, a programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. http://www.feedipedia.org/node/282 Last updated on September 9, 2015, 10:46

English correction by Tim Smith (Animal Science consultant) and Hélène Thiollet (AFZ)
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