Utilization of Limnocharis flava, an invasive aquatic weed from Kuttanad wetland ecosystem, Kerala, India as a potential feedstock for livestock.
The chemical composition, nutritive value and trace element profiles of Limnocharis flava, an emergent aquatic weed during its different growth stages was determined to evaluate as possible cattle feed. Samples were analyzed at three progressive morphological stages of the plant, pre-flowering, flowering and post-flowering. The moisture content, dry matter (DM), ash content, crude protein (CP), ether extract (EE), crude fiber (CF), nitrogen free extract (NFE) and mineral constituents like sodium (Na+) potassium (K+), calcium (Ca2+), phosphorous (P) and trace elements like iron (Fe2+), copper (Cu2+), manganese (Mn2+), zinc (Zn2+), lead (Pb2+), chromium (Cr2+) nickel (Ni+) and cadmium (Cd+) contents were analyzed. The moisture content, organic matter (OM), acid detergent fiber content increased during maturation, while CP and EE were found decreased with increased growth stage. Only slight fluctuations occurred in Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorous and Sodium contents. The highest values for crude protein, fiber content, NFE and EE were observed at the flowering stage. These plant posses several characteristics which makes it a nutritious feed suitable for domestic livestock, and is recommended to use L. flava, particularly at the flowering stage of growth.