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Review: Near infrared spectroscopy of faeces to evaluate the nutrition and physiology of herbivores

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Dixon, R. and Coates, D. (2009) Review: Near infrared spectroscopy of faeces to evaluate the nutrition and physiology of herbivores. Journal of near Infrared Spectroscopy, 17 (1). pp. 1-31.

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1255/jnirs.822

Publisher URL: http://www.impublications.com/nir/journal/jnirs


Near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy, usually in reflectance mode, has been applied to the analysis of faeces to measure the concentrations of constituents such as total N, fibre, tannins and delta C-13. In addition, an unusual and exciting application of faecal NIR [F.NIR] analyses is to directly predict attributes of the diet of herbivores such as crude protein and fibre contents, proportions of plant species and morphological components, diet digestibility and voluntary DM intake. This is an unusual application of NIR spectroscopy insofar as the spectral measurements are made, not on the material of interest [i.e. the diet), but on a derived material (i.e. faeces). Predictions of diet attributes from faecal spectra clearly depend on there being sufficient NIR spectral information in the diet residues present in faeces to describe the diet, although endogenous components of faeces such as undigested debris of micro-organisms from the rumen and Large intestine and secretions into the gastrointestinal tract wilt also contribute spectral information. Spectra of forage and of faeces derived from the forage are generally similar and the observed differences are principally in the spectral regions associated with constituents of forages known to be of low, or of high, digestibility. Some diet components (for example, ureal which are likely to be entirely digested apparently cannot be predicted from faecal NIR spectra because they cannot contribute to faecal spectra except through modifying the microbial and endogenous components. The errors and robustness of F.NIR calibrations to predict the crude protein concentration and digestibility of the diet of herbivores are generally comparable with those to directly predict the same attributes in forage from NIR spectra of the forage. Some attributes of the animal, such as species, gender, pregnancy status and parasite burden have been successfully discriminated into classes based on their faecal NIR spectra. Such discrimination was likely associated with differences in the diet selected and/or differences in the metabolites excreted in the faeces. NIR spectroscopy of faeces has usually involved scanning dried and ground samples in monochromators in the 400-2500nm or 1100-2500nm ranges. Results satisfactory for the purpose have also been reported for dried and ground faeces scanned using a diode array instrument in the 800-1700nm range and for wet faeces and slurries of excreta scanned with monochromators. Chemometric analysis of faecal spectra has generally used the approaches established for forage analysis. The capacity to predict many attributes of the diet, and some aspects of animal physiology, from NIR spectra of faeces is particularly useful to study the quality and quantity of the diet selected by both domestic and feral grazing herbivores and to enhance production and management of both herbivores and their grazing environment.

Item Type:Article
Corporate Creators:Animal Science
Additional Information:© The State of Queensland (through the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries).
Keywords:Herbivores; faeces; near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy; diet quality; diet selected; diffuse-reflectance spectroscopy; fecal near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) equations; Stylosanthes-grass pastures; predicting diet quality; seasonally dry tropics; in-vivo digestibility; botanical composition; polyethylene glycol; chemical composition; dairy manures.
Subjects:Technology > Technology (General) > Spectroscopy > NIR (Near Infrared)
Science > Physiology
Animal culture > Feeds and feeding. Animal nutrition
Live Archive:16 Apr 2009 02:25
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:48

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