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Title:Miscanthus grass as a novel functional fiber source in extruded feline diets
Author(s):Finet, Shannon E
Advisor(s):de Godoy, Maria R. C.
Contributor(s):Swanson, Kelly S.; Fahey, Jr. , George C.
Department / Program:Animal Sciences
Discipline:Animal Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
dietary fiber
fecal microbiota
miscanthus grass
nutrient digestibility
Abstract:Over the past few decades, there has been a growing interest in dietary fiber as an important nutrient in both human and animal nutrition. The driving force behind this growing interest has largely been the population’s desire to consume “functional foods” to support health and aid in disease prevention. With the increasing humanization of pets, consumers have focused on pet health and wellness, as affected by nutrition. Consumers often have a desire to provide their animals with pet food products that are not only complete and balanced, but also reflect their personal nutritional interests and philosophy. A wider range of products and ingredients is needed in order to supply these nutritional benefits and meet the growing expectations of pet parents. The objective of this research was to evaluate the novel dietary fiber source, miscanthus grass, in comparison to traditional dietary fiber sources, and their effects on parameters related to gastrointestinal health, nutrient apparent total tract digestibility (ATTD) and fecal characteristics of adult cats. Four dietary treatments were evaluated (n = 7 cats/treatment), differing only in dietary fiber source. The diets were formulated to meet or exceed the AAFCO (2018) nutrient profiles of adult cats and contained either 7% cellulose (CO), 9% miscanthus grass fiber (MF), a blend of 7% miscanthus grass fiber plus 2% tomato pomace (MF+TP), or 11% beet pulp (BP) to achieve a target total dietary fiber (TDF) content of 15% in each treatment. The study was a completely randomized design using twenty-eight neutered adult, domesticated shorthair cats (19 females and 9 males, mean age 2.21 ± 0.03 yr; mean BW 4.58 ± 0.7 kg, mean body condition score 5.6 ± 0.6). Cats were randomly assigned to one of the four dietary treatments and were fed twice a day to maintain body weight for an experimental period of 21 d. On the last 4 d of the experimental period, a fresh fecal and total fecal collection were performed. A fresh fecal sample was collected for each cat within 15 min of defecation and was used to evaluate fecal dry matter (DM) content, fecal score, pH, and fermentative end-product concentrations. A fasted blood sample was collected at baseline and at the end of the 21-d period. Serum chemistry and complete blood count were analyzed to verify the health status of all animals. Data were analyzed using SAS version 9.4 with the mixed model procedure. The treatments were well accepted by the cats, and daily food intake (DM basis) was similar across all groups (P > 0.05). Additionally, treatment did not have an effect on fecal output (as-is or DM basis), fecal score, or fecal pH (P > 0.05). All diets had nutrient digestibility coefficients close to or above 80%, indicating that they were well digested by the animals. The ATTD of DM (78.3-82.7%), organic matter (OM) (81.8-86.3%), and crude protein (CP) (83.1-84.6%), were similar for all treatments (P > 0.05). However, ATTD of acid hydrolyzed fat was higher for the CO group (94.5%) when compared with the MF (91.7%) and MF+TP (91.2%) groups (P < 0.05), with BP (92.6%) being intermediate. Additionally, the BP treatment had significantly higher TDF digestibility (54.2%) in contrast with all other treatments (MF=19.1%, MF+TP=25.5%, CO=21.8%) (P < 0.05). Digestible energy (DE) of the CO diet (3.9 kcal/g) was higher than for the MF+TP diet (3.7 kcal/g) (P < 0.05), while MF and BP diets were similar to all treatments. While there was no difference (P > 0.05) in fecal ammonia and phenol concentrations among groups, fecal indole and total phenol and indole concentrations were highest for the MF and MF+TP groups compared with CO and BP (P < 0.05). Cats fed BP had the highest fecal concentrations of total short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), acetate, and propionate (P < 0.05), while butyrate concentrations were similar among all treatments (P > 0.05). Total branched-chain fatty acids (BCFA), isobutyrate, and isovalerate concentrations were higher for the MF+TP group than for the CO and BP groups (P < 0.05), with the MF group being intermediate. A similar trend for valerate concentration was observed with the MF+TP treatment being higher than the BP treatment (P < 0.05), with CO and MF treatments being intermediate. Cats fed BP differed in -diversity compared with cats fed CO, MF, and MF+TP. However, -diversity was greater for cats fed MF and MF+TP in contrast with cats fed BP. As no adverse effects on health, fecal score, or macronutrient ATTD were observed with the inclusion of 9% miscanthus grass fiber, or a miscanthus grass blend, the data suggest that it is a viable alternative to the traditional sources of dietary fiber, being most comparable to cellulose.
Issue Date:2020-12-02
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Shannon Finet
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-03-05
Date Deposited:2020-12

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