Effect of Donor Diet on In Vitro Digestibility of Forages by Fecal Inoculate


Previous research indicates equine fecal inoculates produce comparable results to cecal fluid when used for in vitro procedures to analyze dry matter digestibility (DMD). Equine hindgut microbial communities represented in fecal samples have been shown to be affected by diet. The study's objective was to determine the effect of the donor diet on in vitro DMD when fecal donors were fed high starch, or high fiber diets. Six Quarter Horses were used in a crossover design to compare the effects of a grain versus forage diet on in vitro digestion of forages ranging from: CP 7.7 to 16.4 %DM, NDF 53 to 72 %DM. Feces from each horse were obtained on day 22 of each period and used to inoculate in vitro fermentation vessels in order to evaluate the effect of donor diet on the DMD, neutral detergent fiber digestibility (NDFD), and acid detergent fiber digestibility (ADFD) of four forages. Data were analyzed using the MIXED procedure of SAS to evaluate digestibility differences in the diet by forage composition interaction. Fecal samples from horses on the grain diet promoted higher NDFD of forages with high NDF and low CP when CP and NDF were used as covariates (P = .04 and .03). There was a horse effect on DMD and NDFD (P ≤ .05). Findings suggest diet may influence the hindgut microbiome's ability to digest neutral detergent fiber and should be considered when selecting equine fecal samples for in vitro digestion procedures.


Animal Science

Document Type





ADF, Digestion, Equine, Fermentation, Microbial community, NDF

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Equine Veterinary Science