Plasma Amino Acid Concentrations of Horses Grazing Alfalfa, Cool-Season Perennial Grasses, and Teff

Michelle L. DeBoer, Krishona L. Martinson, Kerry J. Kuhle, Craig C. Sheaffer, Marcia R. Hathaway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The impact of forage species on plasma amino acid (AA) concentrations of grazing horses (Equus caballus L.) is unknown. The objectives of this study were to determine the impact of different forage species on plasma AA concentrations and protein synthesis. Research was conducted in July in St. Paul, MN, USA. Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.), mixed perennial cool-season grasses (CSGs), and teff (Eragrostis tef [Zucc.] Trotter) pastures were grazed by six horses randomly assigned to one of three forage types in a replicated Latin-square design. Horses had access to pasture each day. Jugular venous blood samples were collected from each horse before being turned out (0 hours) and then at 2 and 4 hours after turnout. Corresponding forage samples were taken by hand harvest and analyzed for AA concentrations. Equine muscle satellite cell cultures were treated with sera from grazing horses to assess de novo protein synthesis. Data were analyzed using PROC MIXED in SAS. When evaluating forage, AA concentrations were generally lowest in teff and highest in CSG (P ≤.05). Significant differences in threonine concentration in the plasma were observed; there was no effect on de novo protein synthesis of cultured equine myotubes treated with plasma obtained from the grazing horses (P ≥.20). As a result, although there were significant differences in forage AA content, only plasma threonine concentration was different at 4 hours with no effect on protein synthesis of cultured equine satellite cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-78
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
StatePublished - Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.


  • Amino acid
  • Forage
  • Grazing
  • Horse
  • Pasture


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