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Increasing food intake affects digesta retention, digestibility and gut fill but not chewing efficiency in domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)


Findeisen, Eva; Südekum, Karl‐Heinz; Fritz, Julia; Hummel, Jürgen; Clauss, Marcus (2021). Increasing food intake affects digesta retention, digestibility and gut fill but not chewing efficiency in domestic rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Journal of Experimental Zoology. Part A, Ecological and Integrative Physiology, 335(7):614-622.

Abstract

In ruminants, the level of food intake affects net chewing efficiency and hence faecal particle size. For nonruminants, corresponding data are lacking. Here, we report the effect of an increased food intake of a mixed diet in four domestic rabbit does due to lactation, and assess changes in particle size (as determined by wet sieving analysis) along the rabbit digestive tract. During lactation, rabbits achieved a distinctively higher dry matter intake than at maintenance, with a concomitant reduction in mean retention times of solute and particle markers, an increase in dry matter gut fill, a reduction in apparent digestibility of dry matter, and an overall increase in digestible dry matter intake. By contrast, there was no change in faecal mean particle size (mean   SD: 0.58   0.02 vs. 0.56   0.01 mm). A comparison of diet, stomach content and faecal mean particle size suggested that 98% of particle size reduction occurred due to ingestive mastication and 2% due to digestive processes. Very fine particles passing the finest sieve, putatively not only of dietary but mainly of microbial origin, were particularly concentrated in caecum contents, which corresponds to retention of microbes via a ‘wash‐back' colonic separation mechanism, to concentrate them in caecotrophs that are re‐ingested. This study gives rise to the hypothesis that chewing efficiency on a consistent diet is not impaired by intake level in nonruminant mammals.

Abstract

In ruminants, the level of food intake affects net chewing efficiency and hence faecal particle size. For nonruminants, corresponding data are lacking. Here, we report the effect of an increased food intake of a mixed diet in four domestic rabbit does due to lactation, and assess changes in particle size (as determined by wet sieving analysis) along the rabbit digestive tract. During lactation, rabbits achieved a distinctively higher dry matter intake than at maintenance, with a concomitant reduction in mean retention times of solute and particle markers, an increase in dry matter gut fill, a reduction in apparent digestibility of dry matter, and an overall increase in digestible dry matter intake. By contrast, there was no change in faecal mean particle size (mean   SD: 0.58   0.02 vs. 0.56   0.01 mm). A comparison of diet, stomach content and faecal mean particle size suggested that 98% of particle size reduction occurred due to ingestive mastication and 2% due to digestive processes. Very fine particles passing the finest sieve, putatively not only of dietary but mainly of microbial origin, were particularly concentrated in caecum contents, which corresponds to retention of microbes via a ‘wash‐back' colonic separation mechanism, to concentrate them in caecotrophs that are re‐ingested. This study gives rise to the hypothesis that chewing efficiency on a consistent diet is not impaired by intake level in nonruminant mammals.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Life Sciences > Physiology
Life Sciences > Animal Science and Zoology
Life Sciences > Molecular Biology
Life Sciences > Genetics
Language:English
Date:1 August 2021
Deposited On:12 Aug 2021 10:20
Last Modified:25 Feb 2024 02:41
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:2471-5638
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/jez.2505
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)