Characterisation of variation in condensed tannin levels and persistence in Lotus spp.

Athole H. Marshall, Michael Fothergill, Elaine M. Rees, Ellen Sizer Coverdale

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Lotus corniculatus (bird?s-foot trefoil) and L. uliginosus syn. L. pedunculatus (greater bird?s- foot trefoil) have potential benefits to UK grassland because of the presence of proanthocyanidins, also known as condensed tannins (CTs) in the herbage. We have begun a programme of research to quantify the variation in CT levels and persistence within a number of varieties and selection lines as the first step in the identification of material which can be used in a crossing programme aimed at the development of varieties. We have used a high throughput method of quantifying the level of CTs in herbage of these Lotus species which has revealed significant variation in CT content within and between varieties. A CT content of up to 35 mg/g DM was common among the 20 varieties analysed with some plants showing values of 70 mg/g DM. One variety had a CT content of 150 mg/g DM, which is at a level that could have a negative effect on animal performance. Significant variation in plant persistence was also found with a rhizomatous line (Highgrove) exhibiting high levels of persistence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable use of Genetic Diversity in Forage and Turf Breeding
EditorsChristian Huyghe
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-481-8706-5
ISBN (Print)978-90-481-8705-8
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2010


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