The Relationship between the Digestibility and Decomposibility of Some Animal Feeds

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Birch H.F
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The following paper describes some experiments that were carried out to determine whether the macro-respirometer (Birch & Friend, 1956) was likely to be of value in work on animal feeding stuffs. Experiments on organic matter decomposition in soils suggested its use in this direction. Hungate (1955) states: 'In many respects the rumen resembles soil. In both habitats a multiplicity of kinds of micro-organisms converts a multitude of substrates into materials of great agricultural importance. In the rumen greater constancy of temperature, water, substrate and removal of metabolic products results in a more stable population than that of soil.' In the respirometer moisture and temperature conditions are also constant and the main differences to rumenal conditions would appear to be the non-removal of metabolic products (apart from carbon dioxide), the aerobic environment and the kind of microbial population. From the significant relationships obtained between digestibility and decomposition these differences appear to be relatively unimportant. Consequently the respirometer should be of value in work on animal feeding stuffs.
Journal Of Agricultural Sciences, 51 (3), p. 377-379