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In vitro gas production provides effective method for assessing ruminant feeds


An animal’s feed intake, and how well that feed is digested, determine the feed’s production performance. The in vitro gas production technique is a relatively simple method for evaluating feeds, as large numbers of samples can be incubated and analyzed at the same time. This method has been applied successfully at UC Davis for a variety of purposes in feed evaluation, including calculating organic matter digestibility, the metabolizable energy of feeds and kinetics of their fermentation; determining how feed value is affected by added fat, anti-nutritive factors and rumen modifiers; quantifying the energy value of feed mixtures (rations); monitoring microbial change in the rumen; synchronizing nutrient digestion; and selecting forage nutrient targets for agricultural biotechnology. More than half of the nutrients consumed by ruminant animals leave the animal unutilized and undigested, and are excreted in feces, urine and gases. The in vitro gas production method can be used to examine animal waste components that impact the environment and develop appropriate mitigations.

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