Differences in microbial activity of digesta from three sections of the porcine large intestine according to in vitro fermentation of carbohydrate-rich substrates

E. Bauer, B.A. Williams, M.W. Bosch, C. Voigt, R. Mosenthin, M.W.A. Verstegen

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To determine whether faecal microorganisms can represent the entire large intestinal population, samples from caecum, mid-colon and rectum of three adult pigs were used for the in vitro fermentation of fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS), potato starch, wheat bran and oat hulls. The cumulative gas production technique measured fermentation kinetics and end-products such as total gas, NH3 and volatile fatty acids (VFA). There were significant differences in the fermentability of substrates, in terms of both kinetics and end-products. More relevant to this study, there were also differences between pigs in respect of total gas production, the rate of gas production (RM) and VFA production. For large intestine sections, there were more VFA from mid-colon and rectal inocula compared with that from the caecum (p <0.0001). Total gas, RM and NH3 were highest for rectal, intermediate for mid-colon and lowest for caecal inocula (p <0.0001). It was concluded that, while faecal sampling might overestimate caecal fermentation, its use is valid for in vitro assessment of large intestinal fermentation. However, differences between pigs indicate that a mix of samples from several animals remains important
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2097-2104
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2004



  • gradient gel-electrophoresis
  • gas-production
  • gastrointestinal-tract
  • ruminant feeds
  • rumen fluid
  • pigs
  • diversity
  • bacteria
  • kinetics
  • urea

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