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A study of artificial fibre bag technique for determining the dig estibility of feeds in the rumen

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 March 2009

A. Z. Mehrez
The rowett Research Institute, Bucksburn, Aberdeen AB2 9SB
E. R. Ørskov
The rowett Research Institute, Bucksburn, Aberdeen AB2 9SB


The artificial fibre bag technique was evaluated for assessing the proportions of dietary D. M. and N which disappear in the rumen. The most important factor determining the variability in disappearance from bags incubated together was the sample size in relation to bag size. For incubation of 5 g air dry feed, a bag size of 17 ✗ 9 cm was found to be adequate. There were also variations in substrate disappearance between animals and between days of incubation. It was estimated that three sheep and the measurement of substrate disappearance twice were necessary in order to obtain acceptable repeatability.

The technique was found to be satisfactory as a simple and rapid guide for measuring nutrients disappearance in the rumen such as protein degradation and carbohydrate fermentation. It has been used in subsequent work to measure the effect of features of the rumen environment, such as pH and NH3 concentration, on rate of fermentation.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1977

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