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Effects of micronization on the in situ and in vitro digestion of cereal grains

McAllister, T.A., Sultana, H. (2011). Effects of micronization on the in situ and in vitro digestion of cereal grains, 24(7), 929-939.


The effects of micronization on in situ and in vitro nutrient disappearances of wheat, barley and corn were investigated in a series of experiments. In Experiment 1, chemical composition and in situ dry matter disappearance (DMD) of six varieties of wheat were determined. In addition, an in vitro study was completed using ground micronized and unmicronized wheat (var. Kansas). In Experiment 2, three varieties of wheat (Kansas, Sceptre and Laura) and in Experiment 3, three cereal grains (wheat, barley and corn) were either micronized for 1 min to attain internal kernel temperatures of 90-100° C or not (controls), and DM, protein and starch disappearances were estimated. In Experiment 2, an in vitro study was also completed using ground micronized and unmicronized wheat (var. Kansas). Wheat samples varied with respect to crude protein (10.0-21.2%), starch (61.6-73.9%), NDF (8.5-11.8%), volume weight (753-842 g/L) and kernel hardness (0.0-32.0). Rate (p=0.003) and extent (p=0.001) of in situ DMD differed among wheat varieties. Correlations between in situ kinetics, and chemical and physical properties of wheat varieties showed that protein content was negatively correlated with the rate of disappearance (r 2=-0.77). Micronization of all grains markedly reduced (p=0.001) the rate and extent of DM, and protein disappearances as compared to control samples. Micronization increased (p<0.05) the digestion of starch in wheat. However, release of ammonia into the incubation medium was markedly reduced (p<0.05), suggesting that micronization increased the resistance of protein to microbial digestion. Disappearances of DM, protein and starch differed (p=0.001) among cereal grains with wheat>barley>corn. Micronization reduced the rate of DM disappearance (p=0.011) and slowly degradable protein fractions (p=0.03), however, increased (p=0.004) slowly degradable starch fractions of all three cereals. Examination of in situ samples by scanning electron microscopy confirmed that microbial colonization focused on starch granules in micronized grains, and that the protein matrix exhibited resistance to microbial colonization. These results suggest that micronization may be used to increase the ruminal escape value of protein in cereal grains, but may lead to increased starch digestion if grains are finely ground.

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