Technical note: Evaluation of a novel enzymatic method to predict in situ undigested neutral detergent fiber of forages and nonforage fibrous feeds.


Department of Animal Science, Food and Nutrition (DIANA), Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 29122 Piacenza, Italy. Electronic address: [Email]


The purpose of this study was to optimize the conditions of a previously proposed enzymatic method used to estimate in situ undigested neutral detergent fiber (uNDF). We used a multi-step enzymatic approach, in which samples were first solubilized in NaOH solutions as a preincubation (PreInc) phase. After rinsing, samples were incubated (24 h at 39°C) in a buffered solution (pH 6) containing hemicellulase, cellulase, and Viscozyme L enzymes (Sigma-Aldrich s.r.l., Milan, Italy), followed by incubation (24 h at 39°C) in a buffered solution (pH 5) containing xylanase. Two sets of experiments were performed: a calibration trial (that tested different PreInc conditions on 9 selected forages) and a validation trial (that verified the results by testing multiple samples of 6 different forage types and a group of fibrous by-products). In the calibration trial, samples (300 mg in Ankom F57 filter bags; Ankom Technology Corp., Fairport, NY) were preincubated at 39°C in a 0.1 M NaOH solution for 90, 180, or 240 min, or in 0.2, 0.5, 1.0, or 2.0 M NaOH solution for 90 min. The results indicated that the best PreInc method, in terms of intra-laboratory repeatability and estimation of reference in situ values, was 90 min in a 0.2 M NaOH solution. Thus, we used this PreInc condition to determine enzymatic uNDF of 257 samples in the validation trial. Although the selected method generally had good accuracy in predicting in situ uNDF, inconsistencies were noted for certain forage types. Overall, when enzymatic uNDF was used to predict the in situ uNDF of all samples, the regression was satisfactory (intercept = 7.098, slope = 0.920, R2 = 0.73). The regression models developed for alfalfa hays, corn silages, and small grain silages had also acceptable regression performances and mean square error of prediction (MSEP) values, and the main sources of MSEP variation were error due to incomplete (co)variation and random error. Even when R2 values were >0.70, the MSEP value of the regression model for grass hays was 149.55, and that for nonforage fibrous feeds was 155.16. Although enzymatic uNDF partially overestimated the in situ uNDF, particularly in grass silages, the proposed procedure seems to be promising for accurately predicting in situ uNDF, because it generally had good repeatability and provided satisfactory estimates of in situ uNDF.


in vitro method,indigestible neutral detergent fiber,nutritional model,silage,

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