Departamento de Producción Agraria, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Agronómica, Agroalimentaria y de Biosistemas, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Ciudad Universitaria, 28040 Madrid, Spain. [Email]
The objective of this study was to determine the variability in nutritive value for ruminants of tomato pomace (TP) samples and analyze its effect on in vitro fermentation when it was included in a high-concentrate diet. Twelve TP samples were obtained from two processing plants at weekly intervals and analyzed for chemical composition, in vitro rumen fermentation, and intestinal digestibility. The chemical composition of TP did not differ between processing plants and only slight variations were observed among sampling times. Tomato pomace had a low dry matter content (<300 g/kg), a high content of neutral detergent fiber, crude protein, and ether extract (572, 160, and 82.7 g/kg dry matter on average, respectively), and was rapidly fermented in the rumen. Protein degradability at 16 h in situ incubation was 510 g/kg and in vitro intestinal digestibility of protein was low (430-475 g/kg). Replacing soybean meal and barley straw by dried TP increased the in vitro fermentation rate and the production of volatile fatty acids and reduced NH3-N concentrations without affecting CH4. In summary, TP samples showed little variability in nutritive value over sampling time and TP of up to 180 g/kg could be included in high-concentrate diets without negatively affecting rumen fermentation.