Bamboo shoots and leaves are valuable food sources for both humans and livestock. The USDA-ARS NPGS (National Plant Germplasm System) collections hold 93 bamboo species in 20 genera. Total leaf protein, amino acid composition and elemental content for these important genetic resources had never been quantified. Lack of nutrition information hinders germplasm utilization. The above-mentioned nutritional traits were evaluated from these 93 species in this study. Leaf protein content among bamboo species ranged from 8.12 to 16.33% with an average of 12.84%. This average was higher than 9.0% observed for switchgrass leaves, but considerably lower than 32.48% in cassava leaves. For 18 quantified amino acids, there was more than a twofold variation among the samples evaluated. For 12 quantified mineral elements, there was significant variability from the low end (4.2-fold, 2.27–9.52 mg/g calcium; 4.4-fold, 56.17–246.43 µg/g sodium) to the high end (61.5-fold, 17.67–1087.0 µg/g manganese; 40.8-fold, 42.0–1713.5 µg/g aluminium). Due to their variability in leaf nutritive value, bamboo species should be carefully chosen when they are used as a feedstock. The results from this study will be useful for the bamboo industry, producers and consumers.
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