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The estimation of the digestibility and metabolizable energy content of ruminant feedingstuffs from the gas production when they are incubated with rumen liquor in vitro

  • K. H. Menke (a1), L. Raab (a1), A. Salewski (a1), H. Steingass (a1), D. Fritz (a1) and W. Schneider (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 March 2009

A rapid method for measuring gas production during incubation of feedingstuffs with rumen liquor in vitro is described. Gas production in 24 h from 200 mg feed dry matter was well correlated with digestibility of organic matter, determined in vivo with sheep. Multiple regression analysis, when it included data from proximate analysis, resulted in an equation (R = 0·98) for prediction of metabolizable energy content, based on 30 experiments with rations varying in protein and crude fibre content, and 59 other experiments with concentrates. Energy content was in the range of 7·7–13·2 MJ ME/kg D.M. (± S.D. = 11·17 ± 1·08). The residual standard deviation of the equation was 0·25 MJ. Gas production was measured in calibrated syringes. The only chemical determinations needed are dry matter, protein and fat. Differences in activity between batches of rumen liquor are corrected by reference to gas production with standard feedingstuffs (hay meal and maize starch).

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K. H. Menke & U. Ehrensvärd (1974). Die Bestimmung der Stoffbilanz und die Berechnung der Stöchiometrie und der Energiebilanz bei der Vergärung von Pansensaft in vitro. Zeitschrift für Tierphysiologie, Tierernährung und Futlermittelkunde 34, 2435.

J. M. A. Tilley & R. A. Terry (1963). A two-stage method for the in vitro digestion of forage crops. Journal of the British Grassland Society 18, 104111.

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