In vitro assessment of gastrointestinal tract (GIT) fermentation: Fermentable substrates and microbial activity

B.A. Williams, M.W. Bosch, A.A. Awati, S.R. Konstantinov, H. Smidt, A.D.L. Akkermans, M.W.A. Verstegen, S. Tamminga

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50 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, it has become apparent that GIT fermentation is not only of interest for ruminant animals, but also for monogastrics. While it is now widely accepted that the fermentation process and its resultant end-products can have important influences on animal health, little is known about the microbiological and immunological processes involved. In terms of animal health, most interest at the moment is focussed on those moments in animals' lives when they are faced with sudden changes resulting in stress. The period of weaning in piglets is a typical example of this. The most easily accomplished and appropriate way to influence GIT fermentation processes is that of dietary intervention. This is reflected by the widespread interest in so-called pre- and pro-biotics. Given the complexities of the interactions occurring in the animal itself, it is hardly surprising that in vitro techniques are being widely used: firstly to examine potential substrates for their fermentability and possible inclusion in diets, and secondly, to assess changes in the microbial populations in response to these substrates. This paper will review the techniques currently in use for these two aspects of monogastric fermentation, and provide examples of their use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-201
JournalAnimal Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • gel-electrophoresis analysis
  • volatile fatty-acids
  • gas-production
  • large-intestine
  • culture system
  • fecal flora
  • bacteria
  • colon
  • feces
  • diet


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