Date of Graduation

Spring 2020


Master of Science in Agriculture


College of Agriculture

Committee Chair

Lacy Sukovaty


This study evaluated the effect of storage temperature of equine fecal material on the viability of microbial inoculum used for in vitro equine digestibility trials. Fecal material was stored at four storage temperatures of 39°C for 15 minutes (control), 22°C for 6h, 3°C for 6h, and -18°C for 24h. Stored fecal material was used to form microbial inoculum for use in an Ankom Daisy II Incubator. Six different forage samples were digested in the Ankom Daisy II Incubator to evaluate interactions between storage condition of microbial inoculum and chemical composition of digested forage samples. After determination of dry matter digestibility (DMD), an Ankom2000 Fiber Analyzer was used to measure neutral detergent fiber digestibility (NDFD) and acid detergent fiber digestibility (ADFD). A mixed linear model was used to analyze differences in DMD, NDFD, and ADFD. Further analysis with a mixed linear model was used to evaluate the effect of forage quality parameters crude protein (CP), neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and acid detergent fiber (ADF) as covariates for DMD, NDFD, and ADFD results. Significant differences were observed for DMD (P0.05) were observed in DMD, NDFD, or ADFD between 39°C and 22°C or 3°C and -18°C. Covariance analysis found no difference (P>0.05) in slope between any of the four treatment levels when CP, NDF, and ADF were modeled as covariates for DMD, NDFD, and ADFD. Results show that fecal material stored for up to six hours in 22°C temperature conditions provides a viable alternative to fresh fecal material for the formation of microbial inoculum. Chilled and frozen fecal material did not provide comparable microbial inoculum to the control. Further research is needed to determine the reason for the decline in DMD, NDFD, and ADFD observed when microbial inoculum was formed using chilled and frozen fecal samples.


equine, digestibility, microbial inoculum, in vitro, inoculum storage, microbial population

Subject Categories

Agriculture | Other Animal Sciences


© Delaney Brenne O'Donnell

Open Access