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Sites of organic acid production and pattern of digesta movement in the gastrointestinal tract of swine.

  • Clemens, E T
  • Stevens, C E
  • Southworth, M
Published Article
The Journal of nutrition
Publication Date
Jun 01, 1975
PMID: 237989


Twelve swine were used to assess the movement of fluid and particulate digesta through their gastrointestinal tracts and to determine the diurnal variations in organic acid levels for various segments of the tract. Animals were fed twice daily at 12-hour intervals. Fluid (polyethylene glycol and chromium-labeled ethylenediamine-tetraacetic acid) and particulate markers (2 mm OD, and 2 mm and 1 and 2 cm long) were administration of markers. The gastrointestinal tract was divided into 12 segments for measurements of markers, pH, volatile fatty acids (VFA), and lactic acid (LA) contents. The data indicated a rapid evacuation of the fluid and the smaller particles from the stomach and their relatively rapid passage through the small intestine and cecum. There was, however, prolonged retention of both fluid and particulate markers first in the ascending and then in the descending colon. Larger particles (2 cm) were retained in the stomach throughout much of the 60-hour experimental period. LA levels were observed 8 hours postfeeding. The highest levels of VFA in gastric contents averaged 20 mmoles/liter. Gastrointestinal pH values showed significant changes with time postfeeding only within the stomach, where they did not reflect the changes in LA of VFA concentrations. VFA constituted 92% of the organic acids present in the large intestine. Their concentrations varied markedly with time (150-230 mmoles/liter), but the VFA at all times constituted the major anions in the large intestinal contents. The results demonstrated that digesta can be retained for prolonged periods of time in that swine stomach and colon. The high concentrations of organic acids also indicated that substantial degrees of microbial digestion of carbohydrates occurred at both sites.

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