Skip to main content Accessibility help

Apparent digestibility of wheat bran and extruded flax in horses determined from the total collection of feces and acid-insoluble ash as an internal marker

  • M. De Marco (a1), N. Miraglia (a2), P. G. Peiretti (a3) and D. Bergero (a1)


Several studies have reported data on comparisons between two methods: the total collection of feces and the internal markers method. The aim of this study was to assess the apparent digestibility of two concentrates and to compare the apparent digestion coefficients using the total collection of feces and acid-insoluble ash (AIA) as the internal marker method. In 2009, six adult geldings aged between 3 and 11 years, with an average weight per trial of 543, 540 and 542 kg, respectively, were used to determine the apparent digestibility by means of three in vivo digestibility trials on hay, hay plus wheat bran (60 : 40) and hay plus extruded flax (80 : 20). Feces were collected over a 6-day period with a previous 14-day adaptation period. The three digestibility trials were carried out to determine the digestion coefficients of the three diets and, indirectly, of the two concentrates. The digestion coefficients of the diets were determined for the dry matter, organic matter, crude protein and gross energy, whereas the apparent digestion coefficients of the same parameters were calculated for wheat bran and extruded flax, by calculating the difference from the previous results. The data were analyzed using the Student t-test for paired samples. The digestion coefficients obtained were similar when the total collection of feces and the AIA method were used. Higher data variability, confirmed by a greater standard deviation, was observed using the AIA method to estimate the apparent digestion coefficients. It can be concluded that the use of AIA as an internal marker in digestibility trials on average leads to values similar to those obtained with the total collection of feces and can therefore be considered a less-expensive method to determine apparent digestion coefficients. Nevertheless, the total collection of feces should still be considered the best choice to determine the digestibility of some specific feedstuffs.


Corresponding author


Hide All
Almeida, MI, Lopez Donzeles, J, Leao, MI, Cecon, PR 2001. Internal and external markers to estimate the apparent digestibility of nutrients in horses diets In Proceedings of the 17th Equine Nutrition and Physiology Symposium, Lexington, KY, USA, pp. 477481. Equine Science Society, Champlain, IL, USA.
Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) 2004. Official methods of analysis vol. 2, 18th edition. AOAC, Arlington, VA, USA.
Bergero, D, Peiretti, PG 2009. Intake and apparent digestibility of the first cut meadow hay or haylage diets fed to ponies. Proceedings of the 13th Congress of the European Society of Veterinary and Comparative Nutrition, Oristano, Italy, p. 139.
Bergero, D, Peiretti, PG, Cola, E 2002. Intake and apparent digestibility of perennial ryegrass haylages fed to ponies either at maintenance or at work. Livestock Production Science 77, 325329.
Bergero, D, Miraglia, N, Abba, C, Polidori, M 2004. Apparent digestibility of Mediterranean forages determined by total collection of faeces and acid-insoluble ash as internal marker. Livestock Production Science 85, 235238.
Bergero, D, Préfontaine, C, Miraglia, N, Peiretti, PG 2009. A comparison between the 2N and 4N HCl acid-insoluble ash methods for digestibility trials in horses. Animal 3, 17281732.
Corino, C, Miraglia, N , 1996. Determination of the organic matter digestibility and prediction of the U.F.C. value of Mediterranean forages in horses. Proceedings of the 47th EAAP Meeting, Lillehammer, Norway, Horse Commission, Session-H 4: Nutrition, p. 11.
Cuddeford, D, Hughes, D 1990. A comparison between chromium-mordanted hay and acid-insoluble ash to determine apparent digestibility of a chaffed, molassed hay/straw mixture. Equine Veterinary Journal 22, 122125.
Hintz, HF, Schryver, HF, Lowe, JE 1971. Comparison of a blend of milk products and linseed meal as protein supplements for young growing horses. Journal of Animal Science 33, 12741277.
Martin-Rosset, W, Dulphy, JP 1987. Digestibility interactions between forages and concentrates in horses: Influence of feeding level – comparison with sheep. Livestock Production Science 17, 263276.
Martin-Rosset, W, Andrieu, J, Vermorel, M, Dulphy, JP 1984. Valeur nutritive des aliments pou le cheval. In Le cheval. Reproduction, selection, alimentation, exploitation (ed. R Jarrige and W Martin Rosset), pp. 209238. Inra, Paris, France.
Martin-Rosset, W, Vermorel, M, Doreau, M, Tisserand, JL, Andrieu, J 1994. The French horse feed evaluation systems and recommended allowances for energy and protein. Livestock Production Science 40, 3756.
Miraglia, N, Bergero, D, Bassano, B, Tarantola, M, Ladetto, G 1999a. Studies of apparent digestibility in horses and the use of internal markers. Livestock Production Science 60, 2125.
Miraglia, N, Bergero, D, Polidori, M, Gagliardi, D, Tarantola, M 1999b. Diet digestibility in a horse affected by chronic enteritis. Proceedings of the Conference New findings in equine practices, Campobasso, Italy, pp. 15–19.
Miraglia, N, Bergero, D, Polidori, M, Peiretti, PG, Ladetto, G 2006a. The effect of a new fibre rich concentrate on the digestibility of horse rations. Livestock Science 100, 1013.
Miraglia, N, Costantini, M, Polidori, M, Bergero, D, Meineri, G, Peiretti, PG 2006b. Apparent digestibility of mixed feed in by-products in horse diets. Ippologia 17, 58.
Miraglia, N, Polidori, M, Bergero, D, Meineri, G, Peiretti, PG 2008. Apparent digestibility of a dietetic feed in equine nutrition. Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment 6, 295298.
Orton, RK, Hume, ID, Leng, RA 1985. Effects of exercise and level of dietary protein on digestive function in horses. Equine Veterinary Journal 17, 386390.
Palmgren Karlsson, C, Lindberg, JE, Rundgren, M 2000. Associative effects on total tract digestibility in horses fed different ratios of grass hay and whole oats. Livestock Production Science 65, 143153.
Parkins, JJ, Snow, DH, Adams, S 1982. The apparent digestibility of ‘complete diet’ cubes given to thoroughbred horses and use of chromic oxide as intern faecal marker. British Veterinary Journal 138, 350355.
Peiretti, PG, Meineri, G, Miraglia, N, Mucciarelli, M, Bergero, D 2006. Intake and apparent digestibility of hay or hay plus concentrate diets determined in horses by total collection of faeces and n-alkanes as internal markers. Livestock Science 100, 189194.
Peiretti, PG, Miraglia, N, Meineri, G, Costantini, M, Bergero, D 2009. Apparent digestibility of crushed and flaked barley in horse diets. Ippologia 20, 1721.
Reitnour, CM, Salsbury, RL 1972. Digestion and utilization of cecally infused protein by the equine. Journal of Animal Science 35, 11901193.
Smolders, EAA, Steg, A, Hindle, VA 1990. Organic matter digestibility in horses and its prediction. Netherlands Journal of Agricultural Science 38, 435447.
Tagaki, H, Hashimoto, Y, Yonemochi, C, Asai, Y, Yoshida, T, Ohta, Y, Ishibashi, T, Watanabe, R 2002. Digestibility of nutrients of roughages determined by total feces collection method in thoroughbreds. Journal of Equine Science 13, 2327.
Van Keulen, J, Young, BA 1977. Evaluation of acid-insoluble ash as natural marker in ruminant digestibility studies. Journal of Animal Science 44, 282287.
Van Soest, PJ, Robertson, JB, Lewis, BA 1991. Methods for dietary fiber, neutral detergent fiber, and non-starch polysaccharides in relation to animal nutrition. Journal of Dairy Science 74, 35833597.
Vermorel, M, Martin-Rosset, W 1997. Concepts, scientific bases, structure and validation of the French horse net energy system (UFC). Livestock Production Science 47, 261275.
Vermorel, M, Martin-Rosset, W, Vernet, J 1991. Energy utilization of two diets for maintenance by horses; agreement with the new French net energy system. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science 11, 3335.


Apparent digestibility of wheat bran and extruded flax in horses determined from the total collection of feces and acid-insoluble ash as an internal marker

  • M. De Marco (a1), N. Miraglia (a2), P. G. Peiretti (a3) and D. Bergero (a1)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed