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Am J Physiol. 1975 Feb;228(2):454-60.

Sites of organic acid production and absorption in gastrointestinal tract of the pig.


The relationship between diet, pH, and microbial digestion of carbohydrate was examined in 24 pigs fed either a conventional or a low-protein, high-cellulose experimental diet and sacrificed 2, 4, 8, or 12 h after a meal. In animals fed the control diet contents of the cranial half of the stomach demonstrated marked, cyclic fluctuations in pH and high concentrations of organic acids. Contents of the caudal (glandular) half were lower in both pH and organic acid concentration. Despite concentrations of volatile fatty acids (VFAs) as high as 250 meq/liter in the large intestine, the pH remained relatively neutral. The VFA levels remained relatively constant throughout the length of the colon. The VFA transport across isolated gastric and large intestinal mucosa also was examined. All four types of gastric mucosa absorbed and transported VFA at substantial rates. Mucosa of pig cecum and colon transported VFA at much greater rates than gastric mucosa and greater rates than previously determined in equine large intestinal mucosa or even bovine rumen epithelium. Comparison with results of earlier studies in the pony suggested that the higher concentration of VFA in the large intestinal contents of pigs was due to the more rapid rate of digesta passage rather than to less efficient absorption of fatty acids.

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