Current Perspective on Assessing Site of Digestion in Ruminants

N. R. Merchen, J. C. Elizalde, J. K. Drackley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The site of nutrient digestion in the gastrointestinal tract of ruminants affects nutrient availability and the nature of digestive end-products supplied to the host animal. Methods to study site of digestion in vivo provide a tool to obtain data that enhance the ability to interpret or predict animal responses to some feeding practices. Examples are discussed for which site of digestion data provided insights that might not have been evident from other approaches. The use of site of digestion techniques may provide interpretations regarding digestion of N by ruminants different from those derived from measurement of total tract N digestion. Site of digestion measurements have been particularly important in studying effects of heat processing of protein sources and in understanding the nature of digestion of N in high-quality, fresh forages. Moreover, site of digestion techniques have been instrumental in interpreting the influences of supplemental fat sources on ruminal digestion and ruminal biohydrogenation and small intestinal digestion of long-chain fatty acids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2223-2234
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1997


  • Digestion
  • Long-Chain Fatty Acids
  • Nitrogen
  • Rumen
  • Small Intestine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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