ASAS-NANP symposium : digestion kinetics in pigs: the next step in feed evaluation and a ready-to-use modeling exercise

Gerrits, Walter J.J.; Schop, Marijke T.A.; Vries, Sonja de; Dijkstra, Jan


Growing importance of upcycling agricultural by-products, food waste, and food processing by-products through livestock production strongly increased the variation in the nutritional quality of feed ingredients. Traditionally, feed ingredients are evaluated based on their measured extent of digestion. Awareness increases that in addition to the extent, the kinetics of digestion affects the metabolic fate of nutrients after absorption. Together with a growing body of evidence of complex interactions occurring within the lumen of the digestive tract, this urges the need of developing new approaches for feed evaluation. In a recently developed approach, we propose combining in vitro and in silico methods for feed ingredient evaluation. First steps in the development of such a systems were made by (1) evaluating in vitro the digestion potential of feed ingredients, regarding this as true ingredient properties and (2) predicting in silico the digestive processes like digesta transit, nutrient hydrolysis and absorption using dynamic, mechanistic modeling. This approach allows to evaluate to what extent the digestion potential of each ingredient is exploited in the digestive tract. Future efforts should focus on modeling digesta physicochemical properties and transit, applying in vitro digestion kinetic data of feed ingredients in mechanistic models, and generating reliable in vivo data on nutrient absorption kinetics across feed ingredients. The dynamic modeling approach is illustrated by a description of a modeling exercise that can be used for teaching purposes in digestive physiology or animal nutrition courses. A complete set of equations is provided as an on-line supplement, and can be built in modeling software that is freely available. Alternatively, the model can be constructed using any modeling software that enables the use of numerical integration methods.