Crude Fibre: Its Determination and Its Place in the Analysis of Animal Feeding-Stuffs

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Dougall H. W.
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For over 100 years, agricultural chemists have sought to estimate, with greater accuracy, the indigestible fractions of animal feeding stuffs. In the middle of the nineteenth century it was thought that some insight into the digestibility of a foodstuff a~ a whole might be gained from a knowledge of its content of water-insoluble residues. Such residues were obtained by exhausting the material alternately with cold and boiling water to remove readily soluble matter, next with alcohol to remove any colouring matter, and finally with ether until the fibre became white in colour. This material was then dried and weighed as "cellular fibre". It contained insoluble protein compounds and inorganic salts which, fortunately, could be estimated respectively as "nitrogen." and "ash" and a value for "pure cellular fibre" could thus be obtained by difference. Voelcker [I] did not believe that the cellular fibre, of root crops at least, is completely indigestible, but held the view that their soft young fibres are converted readily in the stomachs of animals into gums and sugar, and "applied in the system to feed the respiration, or for the formation of fat".
East African Agricultural And Forestry Journal, 21 (No. 4), p. 225-229