Use of Nuclear and Related Techniques to Develop Simple Tannin Assays for Predicting and Improving the Safety and Efficiency of Feeding Ruminants on Tanniniferous Tree Foliage


To refine and standardize nuclear, chemical and biological assays for measuring tannins in plant material and validate the usefulness of these techniques for predicting animal performance.


A consultants meeting was held in the Vienna International Centre from 25 to 27 August 1997 to provide a focus for the CRP. The Consultants were of the opinion that the proposal to initiate a FAO/IAEA Coordinated Research Project to use nuclear and related techniques for improving the safety and efficiency of feeding animals on tanniniferous plants and increasing animal production on smallholder farms is appropriate in view of the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre’s comparative advantage in operating (both technically and administratively) coordinated research with the clear involvement of radio isotopes.

The project will be carried out in two stages. Research Contracts for Stage 1 will go to laboratories that have virtually all the necessary equipment, and skilled staff that are familiar with the basic techniques and are capable of rapid training in the finer points of all the recommended techniques. During the 2-3 years of this stage the existing laboratory techniques will be refined, standardized and validated to seek correlation’s with animal performance indicators. These techniques should be simple, robust and suitable for use in developing countries. The tanniniferous plants to be studied, analytical methods, test animals and the animal response evaluation technique were also defined at the consultants meeting.

In Stage 2 a reduced number of assays and performance indicators will be used. The selected techniques will be used to establish the potential benefits of tanniniferous plants as animal feed supplements and as strategic feed in situations of fluctuating nutrient supply. The project has commenced as of July 1998. The first Research Co-ordination Meeting under this project was held from 8 to 12 March 1999 in Vienna to finalize experimental protocols.


[Download pdf]


  • Conclusions and recommendations of the First Research Co-ordination Meeting, 8-12 March 1999, Vienna. [Download pdf]
  • Recommendation for quality control of in sacco nylon bag technique. [Download pdf]
  • Quantification of tannins in tree foliage - FAO/IAEA working manual. [Download pdf]
  • Conclusions and recommendations of the Second Research Co-ordination Meeting, 19-23 November 2001, Sao Paulo, Brazil. [Download pdf]
  • Final RCM in KARS, Turkey, 7 - 11 june 2004. [Download pdf]
  • Final Report of the CRP. [Download pdf]

Project Officer:

H. Makkar