Microbial load on cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) husks stored under different conditions for use as supplementary feed for small ruminants

Charlotte Abbey, Jakper Naadam


A ninety- two (92) day experiment was carried out in Nyankpala to determine the microbial load on cowpea husks when stored in an enclosed room (T1) and in an airy or open shed (T2). There were 3 replicates for swabs taken on both treatments at three (3) different stages; i). at harvest time in the field, ii). during storage after transporting husks home and iii). at feeding time). The swabs were taken to the laboratory and serial dilution, inoculation of diluents onto a sterile blood agar for incubation and catalase test and gram staining were conducted. The results indicated that there was heavy, very little and no fungal growth in both treatments at the three stages of swab preparations respectively. Bacterial counts (log/cfu) at the field and during storage were slightly higher in T2 than in T1 (4.08 as against 3.76 and 5.07 as against 4.65 respectively) but there was no significant difference (P>0.01). At feeding however, bacterial counts in T1 was higher and significantly different (P<0.01) from that of T2 (6.23 as against 5.23). There was no fungal growth on the husks after storage on both treatments. When the cowpea husks were ready to be used, bacterial counts on the husks stored in the room were higher than that of the open shed.

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