Comparison of Rabbit Caecal Content and Rabbit Hard Faeces as Source of Inoculum for the In vitro Gas Production Technique

  • Bovera, Fulvia (University of Napoli Federico II, Department of Scienze Zootecniche e Ispezione degli alimenti via F. Delpino) ;
  • D'Urso, Simona (University of Napoli Federico II, Department of Scienze Zootecniche e Ispezione degli alimenti via F. Delpino) ;
  • Di Meo, Carmelo (University of Napoli Federico II, Department of Scienze Zootecniche e Ispezione degli alimenti via F. Delpino) ;
  • Piccolo, Giovanni (University of Napoli Federico II, Department of Scienze Zootecniche e Ispezione degli alimenti via F. Delpino) ;
  • Calabro, Serena (University of Napoli Federico II, Department of Scienze Zootecniche e Ispezione degli alimenti via F. Delpino) ;
  • Nizza, Antonino (University of Napoli Federico II, Department of Scienze Zootecniche e Ispezione degli alimenti via F. Delpino)
  • Received : 2006.02.06
  • Accepted : 2006.05.30
  • Published : 2006.11.01


In order to find an alternative source of inoculum to caecal content for studying the fermentation activity of rabbit hindgut, caecal content and faeces of 25 hybrid Hyla rabbits were used as inocula for an in vitro gas production trial. About 1 g of three substrates (dehydrated alfalfa meal, dehydrated beet pulp, barley) was weighed, in quadruplicate per inoculum, in 120 ml bottles; 75 ml of anaerobic medium and 4 ml of reducing solution were added and bottles were placed at $39^{\circ}C$. Caecal content and faeces were diluted respectively 1:2 (CI) and 1:8 (FI) with anaerobic medium and were introduced in the respective bottles (10 ml). Gas production was recorded 20 times at 2-24 h intervals throughout fermentation (96 h). The fermentation characteristics (i.e. degraded organic matter, OMd; potential gas production, A; fermentation rate, Rmax; time at which it is reached, Tmax; pH, volatile fatty acid, VFA) were studied by inoculum and feedstuffs. The feedstuffs, according to their chemical composition, showed very different fermentation characteristics. In particular, OMd, A and Rmax allowed feedstuff classification as follows: barley>beet pulp>alfalfa. The inocula differ (p<0.05) in Tmax, were higher for CI (15.53 vs. 11.96 h) and in VFA production. In particular, CI produced higher levels of acetate (38.9 vs. 33.4 mM/g OM incubated, p<0.01) and isobutyrate (0.72 vs. 0.42, p<0.01) but less propionate (7.1 vs. 10.3, p<0.01) and butyrate (11.3 vs. 14.0, p<0.01). However, the trend of gas production, similar for the inocula according to the fermented substrate, and the good regression equation to estimate some caecal fermentation parameters from faeces suggest that, after standardisation, the faeces could be used as an alternative inoculum for gas tests in rabbit.


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