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Potential Use of Multipurpose Paulownia elongata Tree as an Animal Feed Resource
Paulownia is known as an economically important multipurpose tree genus due to its fast growth and short-rotation harvesting for timber. There is interest in growing Paulownia species as a woody biofuel crop. There are reports on its leaves being rich in nitrogen and double as good fodder, as well as fertilizer (green manure). Nutritional properties of Paulownia elongata leaves collected at monthly intervals from Paulownia Demonstration Plot, Fort Valley State University (FVSU), Fort Valley, Georgia, USA, from April to November 2011, were studied. The leaves were dried and analyzed for crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), acid detergent fiber (ADF), acid detergent lignin (ADL), fat, gross energy, and ash content. The CP, NDF, ADF, ADL, fat and ash content ranged from 14% - 23%, 29% - 55%, 18% - 42%, 10% - 22%, 2% - 4%, and 6% - 9%, respectively, indicating that Paulownia leaves have potential as a feed resource for livestock. Forage potential research was followed up by developing protocols to manufacture feed pellets with 75% and 95% leaf component and assessing their physical properties. There is an economic market potential for the by-products of Paulownia , which is usually grown for timber.