Comparison of in vitro digestibility estimates using the DaisyII incubator with in vivo digestibility estimates in horses

J. E. Earing, B. D. Cassill, S. H. Hayes, E. S. Vanzant, L. M. Lawrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to determine if in vitro methodologies developed for the Ankom DaisyII incubator could produce accurate estimates of in vivo equine DM digestibility (DMD) and NDF digestibility (NDFD) when equine feces were used as the inoculum source. Four mature geldings were utilized in a 4 × 4 Latin square design experiment with a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement of dietary treatments (timothy hay, alfalfa hay, timothy hay plus oats, and alfalfa hay plus oats), in which the geldings were individually housed and fed. During each 5-d total fecal collection period, feces were collected and composited daily and used to calculate in vivo digestibility. Digestion of the 4 treatment diets was evaluated in vitro using the DaisyII incubator. Each incubation vessel of the DaisyII was assigned to 1 of the horses and contained 18 filter bags (6 containing the assigned treatment hay, 6 containing hay-oat mix, and 6 containing oats). Three incubation periods were evaluated: 30, 48, and 72 h. Although the 30- and 48-h in vitro estimates were consistently less than the in vivo estimates, they ranked diets in the same order as the in vivo method. For the alfalfa oat diet, timothy diet, and the timothy oat diet, the mean 72-h in vitro DMD and in vivo DMD were not different (P = 0.1444). However, for the alfalfa diet, the DMD estimate from 72-h in vitro incubation was less than the in vivo estimate (P < 0.010). For NDFD, the timothy diet was the only diet, in which the mean 72-h in vitro NDFD estimate was not different than the in vivo estimate. However, the in vitro method correctly ranked the alfalfa-based diets as having greater NDFD estimates than the timothy-based diets. Of the 3 incubation periods, the 72-h period provided digestibility estimates most similar to the in vivo data. Using the methodologies described in this research, the DaisyII incubator and equine feces can be used to estimate in vivo DMD of horse feeds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3954-3963
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Daisy incubator
  • Digestibility
  • Feces
  • Horse
  • In vitro
  • In vivo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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