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Goat Diet Elucidation Using NIRS and Fluorescence Spectroscopy

Project Number: 
Project Duration: 
24 months
November 18, 2003 to November 17, 2005
Institution of Principle Investigator while on this project: 
New Mexico State University

Investigators (most current known information)

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, MSC 3C, New Mexico State University, Box 30001, Las Cruces NM 88003
TEL: +1-575-646-5839, FAX: +1-575-646-2649, Email:
Research Scientist, Beef Cattle Unit, ARO, Newe Year Research Center, PO Box 1021, Ramat Yishal 30095, ISRAEL
TEL: +972-4-353-9523, FAX: +972-4-983-6936, Email:
Department of Natural Resources, ARO, Bet Dagan 50250, ISRAEL
TEL: +972-3-968-3492, FAX: +972-3-966-9642, Email:

Proposal Abstract

This work involves the study and elucidation of goat diets using near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) and fluorescence spectroscopy. This was a collaborative effort involving researchers at New Mexico State University (Dr. Gary Rayson), researchers at U.S. Department of Agriculture – Agriculture Research Service Jornada Experimental Range (JER), in particular one research animal scientist (Dr. Dean M. Anderson), together with Texas A&M agricultural experiment station, San Angelo, Texas (Dr. John Walker), and researchers with the Agriculture Research Organization of Israel (e.g., Dr. S.Y. Landau).

The research involved the parallel analysis of both feed and fecal samples representative of goat diets by NIRS and fluorescence spectroscopy. Sample sets from each location (Israel and San Angelo, Texas) were prepared for fluorescence spectroscopy procedures and then analyzed. Each technique was to ascertain the ability of its protocol to correctly identify the diet composition of the animal's diet. Feed studies were completed at both the Israel and Texas locations.

The samples of goat diets from an earlier study were acquired from San Angelo, Texas. These contained varying amounts of juniper mixed with other plant species. These samples were analyzed using NIRS. Buffered saline extracts were also analyzed using three-dimensional fluorescence spectroscopy.

Both diet and fecal samples were collected from a feed study involving goat diets in Israel and analyzed by NIRS. Buffered saline extracts (pH 12.5) of these samples were similarly analyzed using three-dimensional fluorescence spectroscopy. Earlier studies indicated the ability of PBS to extract many of the characteristic fluorophores without the extraction of problematic chlorophylls.

The resulting three-dimensional data sets were successfully analyzed using principle component analysis (PCA) and multiway principle component analysis (MPCA). Partial Least Squares was also successfully applied to NIRS spectral data from the Israel feeding study. These spectroscopic tools were each able to categorize the various components of the goat diets investigated. These included Pistacia lentiscus L ., Phylirea latifolia L. Pinus brutia, alfalfa hay, clover hay, and a nutritional feed concentrate.

The design and construction of a field portable instrument for the collection and processing of three-dimensional fluorescence response surfaces for samples collected in the field was also undertaken. Advances in the development of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) enabled the use of these devices as selectable sources of excitation radiation in the blue to red regions of the spectrum.


Articles in Journals

Anderson, D.M., G.D. Rayson, S.M. Obeidat, M. Ralphs, R, Estell, E.L. Fredrickson, E. Parker, and P. Gray. 2005. Use of fluorometry to differentiate among clipped species in the genera, Astragalus, Oxytropis and Pleuraphis.J. Range Manage. (Submitted, November 2005).

Danielson, T.L, S. Obeidat, G.D. Rayson, D.M. Anderson, E.L. Fredrickson, R.E. Estell, and K.R. Havstad. 2005. Photoluminescent distinction among plant life forms using phosphate buffered saline extract solutions.Appl. Spectrosc . (Submitted, November 2005).

Landau, S., T. Glasser, H. Muklada, L. Dvash, A. Perevolotsky, E.D. Ungar, and J.W. Walker. 2005. Fecal NIRS prediction of dietary protein percentage and in vitro dry matter digestibility in diets ingested by goats in Mediterranean scrubland. Small Ruminant Research 59(2005):251-263.

Landau, S., T. Glasser, L. Dvash, and A. Perevolotsky. 2004. Fecal NIRS to monitor the diet of Mediterranean goats. S. African J. Animal Sci. 34(2004):76-80.


Sisk, C., C. Pezzotti, D.M. Anderson, E. Fredrickson, R. Estell, and G.D. Rayson. 2005. Application of emission-excitation fluorescence spectrum for the determination of plants in goat diets. Pittsburgh Conference , Orlando, FL. February 2005.

Sisk, C., C. Pezzotti, D.M. Anderson, E. Fredrickson, R. Estell, and G.D. Rayson. 2005. Multivariate 3-way data analysis to identify specific plants in diets of free ranging herbivores. Pittsburgh Conference, Orlando, FL, February 2005.

Authors not provided yet. 2005. Photoluminescence spectroscopy for the discernment of toxic plants in animal diets. 15th Jornada Symposium , Las Cruces, NM. July 2005.

Anderson, D.M., S.Y. Landau, T. Glasser, J. Walker, K. Havstad, and G.D. Rayson. 2004. Spectroscopic studies of goat diets in arid environments. 31st annual meeting of the Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies , October 2004.

Sisk, C., C Pezzotti, and D.M. Anderson, and G.D. Rayson. 2004. Multidimensional fluorescence imaging analysis in applications to studies of herbaceous and woody pre-digested plant material. 14th Jornada Symposium, Las Cruces, NM. July 2004.

Danielson, T.L., G. D. Rayson, D.M. Anderson, R. Estell, E.L. Fredrickson, and K.M. Havstad. 2003. Molecular fluorescence spectroscopy: identification of plants from extract solutions. 30th Meeting of the Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies. Ft. Lauderdale, FL. October 2003.


Support for this project came from the USDA Cooperative Research, Education, and Extension Service