Functional properties of miscanthus fiber and prebiotic blends in extruded canine diets

Shannon Finet, Fei He, Lindsay V. Clark, Maria Regina Cattai De Godoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dietary fiber has become increasingly recognized as a key factor in maintaining gastrointestinal health. Dietary fiber sources are often comprised of several different fiber fractions, each with unique physicochemical properties. These properties can have varying physiological effects on the gastrointestinal tract that include modulation of microbiota, production of fermentation-derived metabolites, and laxation. The objectives of this study were 1) to determine the effects of a novel dietary fiber source, miscanthus grass fiber (MF), and prebiotic and fiber blends on gastrointestinal tolerance, apparent total tract digestibility, fecal metabolites, and fecal microbiota and 2) to evaluate the palatability of extruded diets containing MF in comparison to traditional dietary fiber sources. All animal procedures were approved by the University of Illinois Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Six dietary treatments were formulated to meet or exceed the AAFCO nutrient profile of 2018 and included either cellulose (CO), beet pulp (BP), MF, or a blend of MF and tomato pomace, MF and resistant starch, or MF and fructooligosaccharide. A total of 12 adult neutered female beagles (mean age 5.8 ± 1.1 yr; mean body weight 10.9 ± 1.0 kg; mean body condition score 5.7 ± 0.7) were randomly assigned to one of the six treatment diets in a replicated 6 × 6 Latin square design. Each dog was fed their assigned diet for a treatment period of 21 d with 17 d of diet adaptation followed by 4 d of total and fresh fecal collection. All diets were well accepted and digested by the dogs. Dogs fed BP had greater fecal total short-chain fatty acid concentration than the CO treatment (P < 0.05), while the dogs fed diets containing MF were intermediate. In a two-bowl palatability trial, no significant preference was observed between the extruded diets containing MF and CO (P > 0.05). However, a significant preference for the extruded diet containing BP over the diet containing only MF was observed (P < 0.05). The α-diversity of fecal microbial communities was not impacted by treatment (P > 0.05), but β-diversity indicated that dogs fed the BP diet differed from the other treatment groups (P < 0.05). The data from this study suggest that miscanthus grass can be successfully utilized in fiber blends in extruded diets for adult dogs, with modulatory effects similar to the traditional dietary fiber source, cellulose.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberskac078
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022


  • dietary fiber
  • dogs
  • fecal metabolites
  • fecal microbiota
  • nutrient digestibility
  • palatability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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