Effect of drying on nutrient content

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Effect of drying on nutrient content

Postby BigJO » Thu May 07, 2015 7:54 pm

I'm really interested to know what effect there is on the nutrient content of weeds that I can dry and store. The bulk of material shrinks massively as well, so it must be a complex picture.

From what I can find browsing, nutrients in leaves are reduced by drying but the overall effect is to concentrate them because of the huge reduction in bulk. It seems the change in nutrient content caused by drying might be different for every plant :shock:

Does any of this have implications for those of us that might have a glut of weeds or other suitable plants?

Also, if we dry weeds for feeding in the future, should we hydrate them before feeding?

Sorry if the answers are here already, but I couldn't see them.

Jonathan
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Re: Effect of drying on nutrient content

Postby Tortoise Trust » Fri May 08, 2015 8:29 am

It is indeed quite complex, and the answers are not necessarily what many might expect them to be.

It is worth reviewing our article on wild diets:

http://www.tortoisetrust.org/articles/dietaryfibre.html

Most of the questions you raise are addressed there, but I will go over some specifics.

1. Yes, there is no 'fixed' nutrient content, you can only look at averages. Nutrient content varies seasonally, and also can depend upon the soil the plant is grown on. You can only say that typically, the wild diet is very varied, and is strongly cyclic, with some periods of abundance and some periods where virtually nothing is available. Further, you can say that the overall protein content is very low, and the fibre content very high. You cannot isolate the diet from behaviour and environment in the case of tortoises (as you often can in mammals) because they are all so closely linked.

2. If water is available there is no need to rehydrate. See above article. In the total absence of water for long periods, they typically refuse dry plants. They only take them when hydration status permits.
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