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J Anim Sci. 2015 May;93(5):2191-200. doi: 10.2527/jas.2014-8425.

Evaluation of soluble corn fiber on chemical composition and nitrogen-corrected true metabolizable energy and its effects on in vitro fermentation and in vivo responses in dogs.


Dietary fermentable fiber is known to benefit intestinal health of companion animals. Soluble corn fiber (SCF) was evaluated for its chemical composition, nitrogen-corrected true ME (TMEn) content, in vitro digestion and fermentation characteristics, and in vivo effects on nutrient digestibility, fecal fermentation end products, and modulation of the fecal microbiome of dogs. Soluble corn fiber contained 78% total dietary fiber, all present as soluble dietary fiber; 56% was low molecular weight soluble fiber (did not precipitate in 95% ethanol). The SCF also contained 26% starch and 8% resistant starch and had a TMEn value of 2.6 kcal/g. Soluble corn fiber was first subjected to in vitro hydrolytic-enzymatic digestion to determine extent of digestibility and then fermented using dog fecal inoculum, with fermentative outcomes measured at 0, 3, 6, 9, and 12 h. Hydrolytic-enzymatic digestion of SCF was only 7%. In vitro fermentation showed increased (P < 0.05) concentrations of short-chain fatty acids through 12 h, with acetate, propionate, and butyrate reaching peak concentrations of 1,803, 926, and 112 μmol/g DM, respectively. Fermentability of SCF was higher (P < 0.05) than for cellulose but lower (P < 0.05) than for pectin. In the in vivo experiment, 10 female dogs (6.4 ± 0.2 yr and 22 ± 2.1 kg) received 5 diets with graded concentrations of SCF (0, 0.5, 0.75, 1.0, or 1.25% [as-is basis]) replacing cellulose in a replicated 5 × 5 Latin square design. Dogs were first acclimated to the experimental diets for 10 d followed by 4 d of total fecal collection. Fresh fecal samples were collected to measure fecal pH and fermentation end products and permit a microbiome analysis. For microbiome analysis, extraction of DNA was followed by amplification of the V4 to V6 variable region of the 16S rRNA gene using barcoded primers. Sequences were classified into taxonomic levels using a nucleotide basic local alignment search tool (BLASTn) against a curated GreenGenes database. Few changes in nutrient digestibility or fecal fermentation end products or stool consistency were observed, and no appreciable modulation of the fecal microbiome occurred. In conclusion, SCF was fermentable in vitro, but higher dietary concentrations may be necessary to elicit potential in vivo responses.

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