Characterizations of Structural, Biochemical, and Nutritive Profiles in Silage among Cool-Season Corn Cultivars in Relation to Heat Units (aCHU, dCHU) with Curvilinear Response and Multivariate Analyses.
Molecular spectroscopy is able to reveal structural features of biomaterials. Corn grown in Canadian prairies is known as cool-season corn, which is different from warm-season corn varieties. To our knowledge, to date, there has been no study on the magnitude difference in structure on a molecular basis among cultivars, no study on biochemical and nutritive profiles associated with heat unit, and no study on how heat unit affects the molecular structure and biochemical and nutritive profiles. This study investigates how corn varieties grown in cooler climates are affected by crop heat units (CHU) in relation to molecular spectral profiles, nutrient storage, biochemical composition, and nutritive value of silage among different cool-season corn cultivars. Corn cultivars (Pioneer and Dekalb) were from seven farm locations, and samples were analyzed for major nutrients (digestible and metabolic energy and protein). The Fourier transform infrared (FT/IR) spectroscopic technique was applied to understand and differentiate molecular structural spectral profiles in silage. A correlation (P < 0.05) of CHU with some nutrients (mean ± SD, %DM) (CP, 8.1 ± 1.3, r = 0.56; NDF, 56.3 ± 3.5, r = -0.54; ADF, 33.6 ± 2.3, r = -0.71; NDICP, 1.6 ± 0.4, r = -0.66; SCP, 4.2 ± 1.3, r = 0.61), protein and carbohydrate fractions (mean ± SD, %DM) (PB1 (= fast degradable protein fraction), 1.3 ± 0.4, r = 0.54; PB3 (= slowly degradable protein fraction), 1.5 ± 0.4, r = -0.74; CB2 (= medium degradable carbohydrate fraction), 45.1 ± 2.8, r = -0.65; CB3 (= slowly degradable carbohydrate fraction), 13.9 ± 0.9, r = -0.54) and intestinal availability of ruminally degraded fractions (mean ± SD, %DM) (rdPB1, 1.1 ± 0.3, r = 0.54; rdPB3, 1.0 ± 0.3, r = -0.74; RDP, 6.6 ± 1.2, r = 0.59; rdCB2, 40.0 ± 2.5, r = -0.65; rdCB3, 8.9 ± 0.6, r = 0.54; RDCHO, 50.1 ± 2.9, r = -0.65) was found contentious. Molecular spectral data indicated many similarities and few differences among the cultivars. However, CHU correlated (r = -0.4, P < 0.05) with molecular spectral intensity ratio of carbohydrate to amide I. This result indicates that molecular structural differences may be influenced by epiphytic bacterial compounds. Cool corn cultivars were grown acceptably well in cooler dry climates, and those silages had acceptable nutrient levels for cattle. Cultivars that reached target CHU were found to be optimal in nutrient and energy synchronization aspect.