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Comparison of in situ and in vitro gas production techniques to estimate rumen degradation characteristics of forages

  • S. López (a1), M. D. Carro (a1), C. Valdés (a1), J. S. González (a1) and F. J. Ovejero (a1)...


Quantitative expressions of the kinetics of digestion are needed to estimate more precisely the quantity and composition of nutrients digested from feeds and their subsequent efficiency of utilization by the animal (Mertens, 1993). Degradation kinetic parameters are estimated by fitting appropriate models to data resulting from the measurement of either the undigested residue or the fermentation end-products after exposure of the feed to digestion. Kinetic data can be collected using either in vitro or in situ procedures. The in situ porous synthetic fibre bag technique has been extensively used to describe the kinetics of feeds degradation in the rumen. Several in vitro gas production methods have been developed to assess fermentation kinetics. The aim of this work was to study the relationship between rumen degradation parameters of forages determined either by the in situ procedure or by the gas production technique and to evaluate the potential of gas production measurements to assess the extent of dry matter degradation in the rumen.



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Carro, M. D., Lopez, S., Gonzalez, J. S. and Ovejero, F. J. 1991. The use of the rumen degradation characteristics of hay as predictors of its voluntary intake by sheep. Animal Production 52:133139.
Menke, K. H. and Steingass, H. 1988. Estimation of the energetic feed value obtained from chemical analysis and in vitro gas production using rumen fluid. Animal Research and Development 28: 755.
Mertens, D. R. 1993. Rate and extent of digestion. In Quantitative aspects of ruminant digestion and metabolism (ed. Forbes, J. M. and France, J.), pp. 1351. CAB International, Wallingford.
Theodorou, M. K., Williams, B. A., Dhanoa, M. S., McAllan, A. B. and France, J. 1994. A simple gas production method using a pressure transducer to determine the fermentation kinetics of ruminant feeds. Animal Feed Science and Technology 48:185197.


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