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A study of the inter-laboratory variation in results obtained using the gas production technique

  • C. Rymer (a1), J. A. Huntington (a2) and D. I. Givens (a1)


The gas production (GP) technique has been developed at a number of laboratories throughout the world as a means of providing information on the rate and extent of the rumen fermentation of foods. However, each laboratory has developed its own method for obtaining a GP profile. The incubation may occur in gas-tight syringes (e.g. Hidayat et al., 1993; Khazaal and Ørskov, 1994) or in culture bottles using pressure transducers that are either manually operated (Theodorou et al., 1994) or automated (e.g. Pell and Schofield, 1993; Cone et al., 1996). Clearly, the method adopted to measure gas production could have quite a significant effect on the profile obtained. In a previous study (ring test 1; J. A. Huntington, unpublished) identical samples of five different foods (barley, soya-bean meal, ‘poor’ hay, ‘good’ hay and cellulose) were supplied to eight different laboratories. Each laboratory obtained GP profiles of each food using their own particular technique. These were then fitted to the model proposed by France et al. (1993). As might be expected there was quite substantial variation between laboratories. It was therefore decided to repeat the study (ring test 2) but to adopt a more standard procedure to determine the extent of variability between laboratories that is inherent in this technique.



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Cone, J. W., Gelder, A. H. van, Visscher, G. J. W. and Oudshoorn, L. 1996. Influence of rumen fluid and substrate concentration on fermentation kinetics measured with a fully automated time related gas production apparatus. Animal Feed Science and Technology 61: 113128.
France, J., Dhanoa, M. S., Theodorou, M. K., Lister, S. J., Davies, D. R. and Isaac, D. 1993. A model to interpret gas accumulation profiles associated with in vitro degradation of ruminant feeds. Journal of Theoretical Biology 163: 99111.
Hidayat, K., Hillman, K., Newbold, C. and Stewart, C. 1993. The contributions of bacteria and protozoa to ruminal forage fermentation in vitro, as determined by microbial gas production. Animal Feed Science and Technology 42: 193208.
Khazaal, K. and Ørskov, E. 1994. The in vitro gas production technique: an investigation on its potential use with insoluble polyvinylpolypyrrolidone for the assessment of phenolics-related antinutritive factors in browse species. Animal Feed Science and Technology 47: 305320.
Pell, A. N. and Schofield, P. 1993. Computerised monitoring of gas production to measure forage digestion in vitro . Journal of Dairy Science 76: 10631073.
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.

A study of the inter-laboratory variation in results obtained using the gas production technique

  • C. Rymer (a1), J. A. Huntington (a2) and D. I. Givens (a1)


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