Chin J Plan Ecolo ›› 2018, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (2): 185-194.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2017.0118

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effect of sheep digestive tract on the recovery and germination of seeds of fifteen leguminous plants in the northern Xinjiang region, China

WANG Shu-Lin,LU Wei-Hua(),CHEN Yi-Shi,JING Peng-Cheng   

  1. College of Animal Science and Technology, Shihezi University, Shihezi, Xinjiang 832003, China
  • Online:2018-02-20 Published:2018-04-16
  • Contact: Wei-Hua LU ORCID:0000-0003-0776-8912
  • Supported by:
    Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31560659 and 31360568).(31560659)

Abstract:

Aims The objective of this study was to learn the effect of sheep digestive tract on the recovery and germination of seeds of fifteen leguminous plants in the northern Xinjiang region.

Methods The seeds were collected from fifteen leguminous species which were widely distributed in the natural mowing pasture of the northern Xinjiang region. After determining their morphological characteristics (seed length, width, thickness, single seed mass, and seed shape index), seeds were fed to sheep. Faeces collection was carried out at 6, 12, 24, 36, 48 and 72 h after seeds were eaten by sheep. Seed recovery percentage (SRP), mean retention time (MRT) and seed germinability before and after ingested were determined, and the relationships between seed size, seed shape index and SRP, MRT after ingested were also studied.

Important findings Seed mass ranged from 1.50 to 37.68 mg, and seed shape index between 0.001 and 0.12, which indicated the seeds are all medium or large type sphericity (round) seeds. Seed excretion dynamic followed a Gaussian model: Y = 0.02 + 0.74e -0.5(( X - 29.61)/9.41)2 (R 2 = 0.62, p < 0.01), and excretion peak appeared 24-36 h after digestion. Seed recovery rate was ranged from 39.25% (Glycyrrhiza glabra) to 4.28% (Melilotus officinalis). The MRT ranged from 37.19 h (Melilotus officinalis) to 22.33 h (Oxytropis sinkiangensis). The relationship between SRP and seed size is expressed as the equation Y = 6.45 + 2.05X - 0.04X 2 (R 2 = 0.41, p < 0.05). The relationship between seed SRP and seed shape index is expressed as the equation Y = 2.59 + 36.97e -24.47 X (R 2 = 0.37, p < 0.05). The relationship between MRT and seed size is expressed as the equation Y = 12.48 + 37.44e -0.07 X (R 2 = 0.37, p < 0.05). The relationship between MRT and seed shape index is expressed as the equation Y = 3.93 + 2055.33X - 21757.99X 2 (R 2 = 0.42, p < 0.05). The results suggested that leguminous seeds in larger, or smaller, or irregular shape were more easily digested and excreted by sheep. After digested by sheep gut, germination percentages of recovered seeds of Caragana pleiophylla (35.17%) was significantly decreased (p < 0.05) compared with that of seeds before ingested (96.22%). Similarly, seed germination percentages of Trifolium lupinaster and Astragalus alopecurus seeds were decreased than those of no ingested seeds (not significantly, p > 0.05), but the germination percentages of other twelve kinds seeds were significantly increased (p < 0.05).

Key words: seed endozoochore dispersal, northern Xinjiang region, leguminous plant, seed mass, shape index, retention time, seed recovery percentage