Evaluation of an in vitro fibre fermentation method using feline faecal inocula: inter-individual variation

Guido Bosch*, Lisa Heesen, Karine de Melo Santos, John W. Cone, Wilbert F. Pellikaan, Wouter H. Hendriks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The present study aimed to evaluate the inter-individual variability in fermentation of standard fibrous substrates by faecal inocula from ten healthy adult female cats. Substrates were citrus pectin (CP), fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), guar gum (GG), sugar beet pulp (SBP) and wheat middlings (WM). Each substrate was incubated with faecal inoculum from each cat. Gas production was measured continuously during the 48 h incubation and SCFA and organic matter disappearance (only SBP and WM) after incubation. Out of ten cats, nine produced faeces on the days of inoculum preparation. The substrates contrasted in terms of fermentation parameters measured. The inter-individual variability was in general lower for the more simple and pure substrates (CP, FOS, GG) than for the more complex substrates containing mixtures of fibres (SBP, WM). Furthermore, for total SCFA and gas produced, inter-individual variability was lower than for proportions of butyrate and of branched-chain fatty acids and for the parameters of gas production kinetics. It is concluded that the variability in in vitro fermentation parameters is associated with the complexity of fibrous substrates. The presented data are instrumental for the calculation of number of faecal donors required for precise in vitro characterisation of the fermentability of dietary fibres. In addition, the number of faecal donors should be adjusted to the specific fermentation parameter(s) of interest.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere24
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Nutritional Science
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Cats
  • Fibre fermentability
  • Gas production
  • In vitro methodology
  • SCFA

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