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Reliable assessments of indigestible dietary components are required when using internal markers to estimate diet digestibility and determine the potentially digestible portion of the fiber. The lack of a standardized methodology and understanding of how antinutritional factors influence indigestible residues can result in erroneous estimates with inconsistent variation across trials and among studies. Previous studies have detailed suitable bag porosity and sample size (SS) with incubation length (IL) varying from 96 to 504 h, with many assuming that 288-h IL yields truly indigestible components. Recent studies have primarily investigated the variation that exists among feedstuffs, but most have failed to account for possible effects of secondary compounds. Using 2 similar concentrate diets, one of which contained supplemental condensed tannins (CT), we investigated the effect of bag type (BT; 10 and 25 m), SS (20 and 40 mg/cm2), and IL (288 and 576 h) on in situ indigestible DM (iDM) and neutral detergent fiber (iNDF) residues of feed and feces, and resultant DM and NDF digestibilities. There were no 3-way interactions (P > 0.05), but 2-way interactions were present for iDM and iNDF residues with BT SS influencing the control (no CT) ration (P < 0.01), SS IL impacting feed containing CT (P < 0.01), and BT IL affecting both feedstuffs (P 0.01). For the control diet, only BT SS affected DM and NDF digestibilities. Whereas the CT diet did not demonstrate any significant interactions for digestibilities. Values of iDM were largely influenced by contamination that varied greatly based on intrinsic factors associated with the bag and incubation duration. The presence of CT influenced iDM and iNDF to varying degrees due to possible trapping of CT-substrate complexes. For the control diet, the use of 25-m bags resulted in lower fecal recoveries relative to the 10 m (P < 0.01). However, there appears to be a dynamic relationship among BT, SS, and IL within respective diets and sample types that can affect indigestible components and resultant digestibility estimates. Based on simulations from these data, the sample size required to attain 90% power when utilizing 2 incubation animals exceeds the triplicate and quadruplicate replications commonly utilized. Further emphasizing the necessity for a more complete understanding of incubation dynamics to design biologically and statistically valid investigations.
author list (cited authors)
Norris, A. B., Tedeschi, L. O., & Muir, J. P