Rapeseed meal is a co-product form the rapeseed oil production and is used in animal feed for its high protein content. Next to proteins, rapeseed meal is high in fibres, which mammals, like chicken and pigs, cannot digest. In the colon of these animals fibres can be fermented by the microbiota present, but the fermentation of rapeseed meal fibres is not complete.
Technologies, with or without the addition of enzymes, are explored with the aim to improve fibre fermentation. The (pretreated) rapeseed meal is digested in vitro and in vivo. Unfermented fibre-structures from rapeseed meal in excreta and faeces of broilers and growing pigs are characterised in detail. In broilers mainly complex fibre-structures cannot be fermented. Pigs have a longer intestinal tract and are therefore able to ferment fibres further. Unfermented fibre structures from rapeseed meal are mainly rhamnogalacturonan, arabinan, xyloglucan, (glucurono)xylan, galactomannan and cellulose.