Assessment of the heterogeneous ruminal fiber pool and development of a mathematical approach for predicting the mean retention time of feeds in goats Academic Article uri icon


  • The objectives of this study were to evaluate ruminal fiber stratification and to develop a mathematical approach for predicting the mean retention time (MRT) of forage and concentrates in goats. A dataset from 3 studies was used that contained information regarding fiber and lignin intake as well as ruminal content and the kinetics of fiber passage for forage and concentrates. The kinetic information was obtained through pulse dose and the fecal concentration measurement of forage and concentrate markers in the same animals that were used to measure ruminal content. The evaluation of heterogeneous fiber pools in the rumen was performed using the Lucas' test assumptions, and the marker excretion profiles were interpreted using a model known in the literature as GNG1. The GNG1 model assumes an age-dependent fractional rate for the transfer of particles from the raft to the escapable pool in the rumen (λ(r); h(-1)) and an age-independent fractional rate for the escape of particles from the escapable pool to the remaining parts of the stomach (k(e); h(-1)). The equations used to predict the MRT for forage and concentrate fiber were developed using stepwise regression. A sensitivity analysis was conducted using a Monte Carlo simulation to investigate the relationships between the dependent and independent variables and between forage and concentrate passage rates. The Lucas' test yields goodness-of-fit estimates for NDF analysis; however, the homogeneous fiber pool approach could not be applied because a positive intercept (P < 0.05) was identified for lignin ruminal content. The stepwise regression model for MRT estimation had an approximate coefficient of determination and a root mean square error (RMSE) for forage of 0.53 and 9.78 h, respectively, and for concentrate of 0.49 and 5.86 h, respectively. The sensitivity analysis yielded a mean rate of passage (k(p)) value for forage of 0.0322 h(-1) (0.0158 to 0.0556 h(-1)) with 99% confidence interval. For the concentrate, the mean k(p) value was of 0.0334 h(-1) (0.0146 to 0.0570 h(-1)). A heterogeneous ruminal fiber pool should be assumed for goats fed diets with considerable fiber contents. The results of the sensitivity analysis indicated that both λ(r) and k(e) are of similar importance to the rate of passage in goats. The rates of passage of forage and concentrates in goats present a high degree of overlap and are closely related.

author list (cited authors)

  • Filho, J., Tedeschi, L. O., Vieira, R., & Rodrigues, M. T.

citation count

  • 6

publication date

  • February 2014