Flow paths of plant tissue residues and digesta through gastrointestinal segments in Spanish goats and methodological considerations

Document Type


Publication Date



A sequence of eight twice-daily meals, each marked with different rare earth elements, was fed to 24 Spanish goats (BW = 20.6 ± 1.94 kg) to produce meal-based profiles of rare earth markers within segments of the gastrointestinal digesta on subsequent slaughter. Accumulative mean residence time and time delay of rare earths and segmental and accumulative mean residence times of indigestible NDF (IDF) were estimated for each sampled segment. Diets consisted of ad libitum access to bermudagrass hay with a limit feeding of one of four supplements: 1) minerals (basal, B); 2) B + energy (E); 3) B + CP (CP); or 4) B + E + CP for 84 d. Mean daily intake (g/kg of BW) during the 5 d before slaughter differed (P < 0.05) via diet for DM but not for IDF (8.0 ± 0.35 g/kg of BW). Larger estimates of cumulative mean residence time for IDF vs. rare earths were suggested to be the consequence of a meal-induced bias in the single measurement of IDF pool size by anatomical site. The rare earth compartment method was considered more reliable than the IDF pool dilution method because it yielded flow estimates based on the flux of eight meal-dosed rare earth markers over 4 d and was independent of anatomical definitions of pool size. Statistically indistinguishable estimates for gastrointestinal mean residence times for IDF and rare earths conform to assumed indelibility for the specifically applied rare earths and indigestibility of IDF. The potentially digestible NDF (PDF):IDF ratio of dietary fragments (0.8) progressively decreased in the following order: caudodorsal reticulorumen (0.390) > crainodorsal reticulorumen (0.357) ≈ reticulum (0.354) > mid-dorsal reticulorumen (0.291) ≈ ventral reticulorumen (0.286), to that within the omasal folds and in the abomasum (0.259). Such a gradient of progressively aging mixture of plant tissue fragments is consistent with age-dependent flow paths established in the reticulorumen and flowing to the omasum and abomasum. Such heterogeneity of fragment ages within the reticulorumen is also indicated by the superior fit of marker dose site ≠ marker sampling site model assumptions. Additionally, cyclic meal- and rumination-induced variations in escape rate occur. Estimates of mean escape rates over days, needed for the practice of ruminant nutrition, must consider the complex interactions among plant tissues and the dynamics of their ruminal digestion of PDF. © 2004 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

Journal of Animal Science

First Page


Last Page


This document is currently not available here.