A generalized compartmental model to estimate the fibre mass in the ruminoreticulum: 2. Integrating digestion and passage.
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Models used to predict digestibility and fill of the dietary insoluble fibre (NDF) treat the ruminoreticular particulate mass as a single pool. The underlying assumption is that escape of particles follows first-order kinetics. In this paper, we proposed and evaluated a model of two ruminoreticular sequential NDF pools. The first pool is formed by buoyant particles (raft pool) and the second one by fluid dispersed particles (escapable pool) ventrally to the raft. The transference of particles between these two pools results from several processes that reduce particles buoyancy, assuming the gamma distribution. The exit of escapable pool particles from the ruminoreticulum is exponentially distributed. These concepts were evaluated by comparing ruminoreticular NDF masses as 43 and 27 means from cattle and sheep, respectively, to the same predicted variable using single- and two-pools models. Predictions of the single-pool model were based on lignin turnover and the turnover associated to the descending phase of the elimination of Yb-labelled forage particles in the faeces of sheep. Predictions of the two-pool model were obtained by estimating fractional passage rates associated to the ascending and descending phases of the same Yb excretion profiles in sheep faeces. All turnovers were scaled to the power 0.25 of body mass for interspecies comparisons. Predictions based on lignin turnover (single pool) and the two-pool model presented similar trends, accuracies and precisions. The single-pool approach based solely on the descending phase of the marker yielded biased estimates of the ruminoreticular NDF mass.