Nutrient digestibilities, microbial populations, and protein catabolites as affected by fructan supplementation of dog diets

E. A. Flickinger, E. M.W.C. Schreijen, A. R. Patil, H. S. Hussein, C. M. Grieshop, N. R. Merchen, G. C. Fahey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fructans are fermentable carbohydrates and include short-chain fructooligosaccharides (scFOS), inulin, and hydrolyzed inulin (oligofructose, OF). Two studies with dogs were designed to examine the effects of low concentrations of fructans on nutrient digestibilities, fecal microbial populations, and endproducts of protein fermentation, and fecal characteristics. In Exp. 1, 11 adult male beagles were fed corn-based, kibbled diets supplemented with or without OF to provide 1.9 ± 0.6 g/d. Dietary inclusion of OF decreased (P < 0.05) nutrient digestibilities, but did not affect fecal characteristics. Increasing OF concentration tended (P < 0.06) to linearly decrease fecal ammonia concentrations, but not those of branched-chain fatty acids (BCFA), amines, indole, or phenols. Fecal concentrations of total short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) and buty-rate tended to be higher in OF-supplemented dogs (P < 0.10), as was the ratio of bifidobacteria to total anaerobes (P = 0.15). In Exp. 2, ileally cannulated adult female hounds were fed a meat-based kibbled diet and were assigned to four scFOS treatments (0, 1, 2, or 3 g/d) in a 4 x 4 Latin square design. Heal nutrient digestibilities tended to increase (P < 0.15) with increasing concentrations of scFOS. On a DMI basis, fecal output tended to decrease linearly (P < 0.10) in response to increasing scFOS supplementation, whereas fecal score tended to exhibit a quadratic response (P = 0.12). In general, fecal concentrations of SCFA, BCFA, ammonia, phenols, and indoles were not altered by supplemental scFOS. Supplementation of scFOS increased fecal concentrations of total aerobes (P < 0.05) and decreased concentrations of Clostridium perfringens (P < 0.05). From these data, it seems that low levels of supplemental fructans have divergent effects on nutrient digestibility and fermentative endproducts, but do not adversely affect nutrient digestibility or fecal characteristics and may improve colonic microbial ecology in dogs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2008-2018
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003


  • Digestion
  • Dogs
  • Feces
  • Fructans
  • Intestinal Microorganisms
  • Odors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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