In the classic in situ method, small particles are removed during rinsing and hence their fractional degradation rate cannot be determined. A new approach was developed to estimate the fractional degradation rate of nutrients in small particles. This approach was based on an alternative rinsing method to reduce the particulate matter loss during rinsing and on quantifying the particulate matter loss that occurs during incubation in the rumen itself. To quantify particulate matter loss during incubation, loss of small particles during the in situ incubation was studied using undegradable silica with different particle sizes. Particulate matter loss during incubation was limited to particles smaller than ~40 μm with a mean fractional particulate matter loss rate of 0.035 h−1 (first experiment) and 0.073 h−1 (second experiment) and an undegradable fraction of 0.001 and 0.050, respectively. In the second experiment, the fractional particulate matter loss rate after rinsing in a water bath at 50 strokes per minute (s.p.m.) (0.215 h−1) and the undegradable fraction at 20 s.p.m. (0.461) were significantly larger than that upon incubation in the rumen, whereas the fractional particulate matter loss rate (0.140 and 0.087 h−1, respectively) and the undegradable fraction (0.330 and 0.075, respectively) after rinsing at 30 and 40 s.p.m. did not differ with that upon rumen incubation. This new approach was applied to estimate the in situ fractional degradation rate of insoluble organic matter (OM) and insoluble nitrogen (N) in three different wheat yeast concentrates (WYC). These WYC were characterised by a high fraction of small particles and estimating their fractional degradation rate was not possible using the traditional washing machine rinsing method. The new rinsing method increased the mean non-washout fraction of OM and N in these products from 0.113 and 0.084 (washing machine method) to 0.670 and 0.782, respectively. The mean effective degradation (ED) without correction for particulate matter loss of OM and of N was 0.714 and 0.601, respectively, and significant differences were observed between the WYC products. Applying the correction for particulate matter loss reduced the mean ED of OM to 0.676 (30 s.p.m.) and 0.477 (40 s.p.m.), and reduced the mean ED of N to 0.475 (30 s.p.m.) and 0.328 (40 s.p.m.). These marked reductions in fractional degradation rate upon correction for small particulate matter loss emphasised the pronounced effect of correction for undegraded particulate matter loss on the fractional disappearance rates of OM and N in WYC products.
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