Objective: Prebiotics are used to support the gastrointestinal health via stimulating particular beneficial parts of the autochthonous microflora and enhancing their metabolism.Horses often suffer from gastrointestinal disturbances after feed changes or behavioral stress in response to transport. Therefore, the supplementation with prebiotic compounds might reduce the risk for intestinal dysregulation. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of supplementation with Jerusalem artichoke meal (JAM) in a recommended prebiotic dosage on fermentation characteristics in the equine gastrointestinal tract. Methods: Twelve adult healthy horses received crushed oat grains (1.2 g starch/kg BW x d-1) and meadow hay (as fed basis; 1.5 kg/100 kg BW x d-1). Additionally, they were fed either an apparently prebiotic quantity of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and inulin (0.2 g/kg BW x d-1) via Jerusalem artichoke meal (JAM) or an equal amount of maize cob meal without grains as control (CON) over 3 weeks. On d21, horses were euthanized, gastrointestinal contents were removed from 7 different regions of the gastrointestinal tract, the dry matter (DM) content, pH value and concentrations of short chain fatty acids (SCFA), L- and D-lactate and ammonia were measured.
Results: JAM did not had a significant (P < 0.05) effect on any of the measured fermentation products and the pH value as well. Numerically, JAM increased the concentrations of SCFA (P > 0.05), lactate (both isomers, P > 0.05) and ammonia (P < 0.05) predominantly in the stomach but had no impact on the pH value overall. In the hindgut, the stimulation of the microbial activity was limited to the ventral colon only indicated by slightly higher SCFA (P > 0.05) and ammonia (P > 0.05) but lower L-lactate (P > 0.05) concentrations compared to control.
M. Glatter, K. Wiedner, F. Hirche, N. Mielenz, D. Hillegeist, M. Bochnia, A. Cehak, M.
Bachmann, J. M. Greef , B. Glaser, P. Wolf , G. Breves and A. Zeyner