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The use of chromium sesquioxide to measure the digestibility of carotene by goats and cows

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 March 2009

R. Chanda
The Hannah Dairy Research Institute, Kirkhill, Ayr
Helen M. Clapham
The Hannah Dairy Research Institute, Kirkhill, Ayr
Mary L. McNaught
The Hannah Dairy Research Institute, Kirkhill, Ayr
E. C. Owen
The Hannah Dairy Research Institute, Kirkhill, Ayr


The digestibility of carotene in dried grass was measured by the Cr2O3 method in both cows and goats. In the goats the direct method was simultaneously used for comparison with the Cr2O3 method.

The main conclusions were:

1. When mixed with the concentrate portion of the ration of lactating goats, Cr2O3 was recovered in the faeces in four experiments in amounts equal to 100·0, 99·1, 99·1 and 96·0% of the amount ingested.

2. The apparent digestibility of carotene in the goat was measured both directly by the use of metabolism crates and indirectly by using Cr2O3 as an indicator of equivalence of faeces and food. By the former method digestibilities of carotene in four goats were 68·7, 62·7, 61·8 and 59·6%. The corresponding digestibilities obtained from the same faeces samples by the Cr2O3 method were 67·4, 62·9, 61·8 and 58·9%.

3. In six cows, on the diet similar to that of the goats, the Cr2O3 method showed that 59·3, 54·0, 54·4, 54·4, 57·1 and 55·5% of carotene was apparently digested.

4. Reasons for preferring the use of added Cr2O3 to natural constituents of the food as a marker are discussed.

5. The individual results from cows and goats have been statistically analysed to partition the various sources of variance, and it has been shown that fewer animals for a longer time give a more reliable result than more animals for a shorter time.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1951

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