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Effects of cellulose, carboxymethylcellulose and inulin fed to rats as single supplements or in combinations on their caecal parameters.

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Institute of Animal Reproduction and Food Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Division of Food Science, 10 Tuwima Str., 10-747 Olsztyn, Poland.


We compared the effect of diets containing different nondigestible carbohydrates: cellulose (C), inulin (IN) and carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) as single supplements or in dietary combination on caecal physiology of rats. Sixty male Wistar rats (Rattus norvegicus) were divided into five groups and for 4 weeks were fed a casein diet with the compared carbohydrates (4% of diet) or a combination of IN+C or IN+CMC (both 4+4%). Diet intake and FCR index remained unaffected by the treatments, whereas IN improved the body weight gain of rats compared to CMC. Compared to C group, all diets containing IN and CMC decreased the caecal pH as well as enlarged the caecum, thus increasing the weights of contents and tissue, especially upon CMC treatment. Rats given carboxymethylcellulose (CMC and IN+CMC groups) had watery caecal digesta, and some of them suffered from diarrhoea. In the case of CMC, the caecal enlargement was due to tissue hypertrophy and digesta accumulation mostly in response to an increased bulk of contents. Unlike C+IN, the dietary combination of CMC- and inulin-enhanced fermentation in the caecum of rats, however the proportion of acetate, propionate and butyrate was less beneficial. Compared to CMC, inulin gave a higher concentration of SCFA, especially of butyrate and propionate. The action of inulin in the caecum of rats could be pronounced by dietary treatment combined with CMC.

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