This study aimed to evaluate the influences of hybrids (HYB) and maturity stage (SAMP) on in vitro rumen digestibility of immature corn grain. Four HYB (Gigantic, Y43, Klips and 9575) from the FAO group 700 were grown under identical agronomic conditions. First sampling (T1) was done after 95 days from seedling and then 4, 8, 13, 18 and 27 days later (T2 to T6). In vitro starch digestibility (STD_7h) and gas production (72 h) were measured. Whole plant and grain dry matter (WP_DM and GR_DM, respectively) and zein content were significantly affected (P<0.01) by HYB and SAMP. Starch content was significantly affected by HYB, SAMP and their interaction. It increased from T1 to T4 (from 67.47 to 72.82% of GR_DM) and then tended to plateau. Concurrently, STD_7h significantly decreased with advancing SAMP and was also affected by HYB. With advancing maturity, total volatile fatty acids (VFA) significantly decreased, with an increase of acetate and a decrease of propionate molar proportion (P<0.01). Gas production rate (GP_c) was significantly affected by HYB, SAMP and HYB×SAMP. Whole plant grain DM correlated (P<0.01) positively with grain starch content (r=0.60 and 0.64) but negatively with STD_7h (r=-0.39 and r=-0.63) and VFA concentration (r=-0.59 and -0.75). Zein percentage in crude protein negatively affected (P<0.01) total DM (r=-0.65,), STD_7h (r=-0.73) and GP_c (r=- 0.68). Results suggest that genotypes and maturity stages influence DM and rumen starch digestibility of immature corn grain and in this respect zein can play a significant role. © S. Ahmed et al., 2014 Licensee PAGEPress, Italy.
- Corn genotypes
- Starch digestibility