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Comparison of fibre digestion and digesta retention time between rabbits, guinea-pigs, rats and hamsters

, : Comparison of fibre digestion and digesta retention time between rabbits, guinea-pigs, rats and hamsters. British Journal of Nutrition 58(1): 149-158

1. Digestive efficiencies of fibre components and retention time of digesta in the whole gut and in the large intestine were measured in rabbits, guinea-pigs, hamsters and rats when given a lucerne (Medicago sativa)-containing diet. 2. Co-EDTA and chromium-mordanted cell-wall constituents of Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum L.) were used as liquid- and solid-phase markers respectively. Both markers were mixed with the experimental diet and given after digestion trials. 3. Mean retention times of each marker were calculated from time-course changes in concentrations of the markers in faeces. The mean retention times of the markers in the large intestine were calculated from exponential slopes fitted to the time-course changes of faecal concentrations of the markers. 4. The digestibilities of crude fibre, neutral-detergent fibre and acid-detergent fibre were highest in the guinea-pigs, followed by the hamsters, and lowest in the rabbits and rats. 5. The mean retention times of Cr in the whole tract were longer in the larger animals and shortest in the hamsters. The mean retention times of Cr in the large intestine were longest in the guinea-pig followed by the hamsters and the rats. The rabbits had an extremely short retention time of Cr in the large intestine. 6. These results suggest that the retention time of solid digesta in the large intestine can expain the difference in the digestive efficiencies of fibre components amongst non-ruminant small herbivores whereas retention of digesta in the whole gut is not related to the digestibility of fibre components.


PMID: 3040075

DOI: 10.1079/bjn19870078

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