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Nutrition Research 27 (2007) 56 65

www.elsevier.com/locate/nutres

Diet and measurement techniques affect


small intestinal digesta viscosity among dogs
Cheryl L. Dikeman, Kathleen A. Barry, Michael R. Murphy, George C. Fahey Jr4
Division of Nutritional Sciences and Department of Animal Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
Received 8 February 2006; revised 20 December 2006; accepted 21 December 2006

Abstract
Because increasing viscosity of gastrointestinal tract contents has been shown to alter physiologic
responses in many species, and no single standardized method of intestinal viscosity measurement
exists, effects of diet and measurement techniques were studied in a canine model. Three
experiments were conducted to evaluate the use of mixer viscometry, effects of freezing,
centrifugation, time of sampling, and dilution of digesta, and effects of diet on viscosity of canine
ileal digesta and simulated small intestinal digesta viscosity. Digesta viscosity values measured at
218C were within 5% of those at 218C after a 24-hour freeze. Viscosity constants of whole digesta
sampled between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm daily ranged from 6575 to 32 692 mPa d s and 7.47 to 9.03
mPa d s after centrifugation. Digesta sampled between 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm daily had viscosity
constants of whole digesta ranging from 7137 to 17 345 mPa d s and 6.42 and 9.46 mPa d s after
centrifugation. Digesta samples diluted with Millipore filtered water, to determine whether a dilution
factor could be used to estimate viscosity, had drastically underestimated viscosity constants. Ileal
digesta viscosity constants were similar for dogs fed test diets varying in carbohydrate source and
ranged from 6901 to 12 590 mPa d s. During simulated small intestinal simulation, viscosity peaked
between 6 and 9 hours. Data indicate that alteration of digesta by centrifugation or dilution
underestimates viscosity data. Viscosity of whole digesta can be measured using mixer viscometry.
Variations in diet ingredients appear to alter intestinal digesta viscosity, indicating further need for
investigation of the role of diet in viscosity.
D 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keywords:

Viscosity; Digesta; Mixer viscometry; Canine; Intestine

1. Introduction
Increasing the viscosity of digesta in the gastrointestinal
tract through diet manipulation with dietary fiber has been
shown to significantly reduce postprandial glucose response
in humans, pigs, canines, and rodents, indicating a potential
mechanism for management of diabetes and abnormal
carbohydrate metabolism [1-4]. Although it has been
demonstrated that ingestion of viscous fibers added to the
diets of animals (humans, canines, pigs, rodents) will lower
4 Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 217 333 2361; fax: +1 217 333 7861.
E-mail address: gcfahey@uiuc.edu (G.C. Fahey).
0271-5317/$ see front matter D 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2006.12.005

postprandial blood glucose concentration and increase


viscosity of intestinal contents, there is no single standardized method to measure viscosity of gastrointestinal tract
contents. Interpretation of digesta viscosity data is difficult
owing to lack of standardized methodology and presentation
of data.
In the case of fluid digesta from the stomach and small
intestine of monogastric animals, an evaluation of viscosity
is a complex and difficult task. The general equation to
calculate viscosity is shear stress divided by shear rate.
Shear rate is the velocity gradient established in a particular
fluid due to an applied shear stress, such as a contraction in
the gastrointestinal tract of an animal [5]. Gastrointestinal

C.L. Dikeman et al. / Nutrition Research 27 (2007) 5665

tract shear rates in animals have not been established and


may vary considerably with sampling location, individual
animal, meal composition, and gut motility. It can be
assumed that digesta is a slurry exhibiting non-Newtonian
shear-thinning behavior. According to this flow behavior, as
shear rate increases, viscosity decreases; therefore, multiple
shear rates should be used to measure viscosity. Many
researchers, however, have measured viscosity of digesta
from experimental animals at only 1 shear rate, making
comparisons among studies difficult [1,6-11]. Because a
vast range of shear rates was used, comparing the resultant
digesta viscosities is neither useful nor valid. Flow profiles
should be obtained for liquid digesta across various shear
rates rather than estimation of viscosity at only 1 shear
rate [12,13].
Another factor contributing to the difficulty in measuring
viscosity of digesta is concentration and size of undigested
particles in the sample. Particulate matter may interfere with
viscosity instrumentation and, therefore, many researchers
centrifuge and (or) dilute digesta samples with water before
measuring viscosity to remove large particles or dilute them.
Removal of particulate matter results in a more homogenous
sample [7,14-17]; however, this may remove particles that
contribute to viscosity. A solution to this problem may be
the use of mixer viscometry to measure the viscosity of
whole digesta. Mixer viscometry was developed to address
problems including large particle size and (or) particles
settling out of solution. Mixing involves intermingling of
2 or more dissimilar materials to obtain a desired degree of
uniformity. This uniformity is obtained by agitation to create
motion in the material, usually in the form of a rotational
viscometer with some form of mixing or vane spindles
[5,18]. Similar to other rotational methods such as cone and
plate geometries, mixer viscometry is limited by a limited
shear rate range.
To establish standard techniques to measure viscosity of
digesta collected from the gastrointestinal tract of animals, it
is necessary to understand the natural variation that exists
among individual animals and the factors that affect this
variation. An understanding of factors affecting viscosity
will be valuable in controlling animal variation in future
studies designed to measure viscosity of gastrointestinal contents as well as in aiding in accurate viscosity measurement.
Although there is a great deal of literature available
discussing the effects of viscous fibers on the viscosity of
fluids such as gastric, small intestinal, and cecal contents
from animals, few data are available on the effects of
standard diets on digesta viscosity. The vast majority of
intestinal content viscosity has been measured after the
removal of solid particles through methods such as
centrifugation and dilution. A repeatable measurement of
viscosity on whole digesta would provide an excellent
opportunity to explore the effects of viscosity changes in the
gastrointestinal tract as affected by diet, ingredient(s), or diet
matrix, and allow for further investigations of links between
viscosity of gastric and intestinal contents and physiologic

57

responses such as digestibility, gut morphology, transit time,


blood glucose and cholesterol attenuation, and bowel health.
The objectives of this study were to determine the effects of
freezing, centrifugation, dilution, and various carbohydrate
sources in diets on intestinal viscosity of dogs.
2. Methods and materials
2.1. Experiment 1
2.1.1. Animals
Purpose-bred female dogs (n = 3; Butler Farms USA,
Clyde, NY) with hound bloodlines, an average initial body
weight of 27.9 kg (range, 27-28.9 kg), and an average age
of 3.7 years (range, 1.7-6.5 years) were used. Dogs had
previously been surgically prepared with an ileal cannula
according to Walker et al [19] with surgical and animal care
procedures approved by the University of Illinois Animal
Care and Use Committee. Dogs were housed individually in
kennels in a temperature-controlled room (218C) at the
animal care facility in the Edward R Madigan Laboratory,
University of Illinois. A 16-hour light/8-hour dark schedule
was used.
2.1.2. Procedures
Dogs were fed 400 g of the same commercial diet (Iams
Weight Control, The Iams Company, Dayton, OH) daily in
2 equal feedings of 200 g at 8:00 am and 8:00 pm. The
main ingredients of the diet were corn meal, chicken,
ground whole grain sorghum, and chicken by-product meal.
The dogs had been on this diet for several months before the
initiation of this experiment. Water was available ad libitum.
Ileal samples were collected for 1 hour between 10:00 am
and 11:00 am on 3 consecutive days. Ileal samples were
collected by attaching a sterile sampling bag (Fisher
Scientific, Pittsburgh, Pa) to the cannula barrel and around
the hose clamp with a rubber band. Before attachment of the
bag, the interior of the cannula was scraped clean with a
spatula and digesta discarded. During the collection of ileal
effluent, the dogs were encouraged to move about freely. To
deter the dogs from pulling the collection bag from the
cannula, Bite-Not collars (Bite-Not Products, San Francisco,
Calif) were used during collection times. After ileal effluent
collection, the cannula plug was put in place and the cannula
barrel and surrounding site were cleaned with a 10%
Betadine solution (Purdue Frederick Co, Stamford, Conn).
2.1.3. Viscosity
Approximately 30 mL of fresh ileal digesta was placed in
100-mL glass beakers with a diameter of 5 cm and allowed
to equilibrate to room temperature (238C). Although this
temperature is significantly lower than physiologic temperature, it was necessary to avoid confusion between multiple
viscometer configurations where temperature control could
not be used. All viscosity measures in the study were
determined at room temperature to alleviate any additional

58

C.L. Dikeman et al. / Nutrition Research 27 (2007) 5665

variation due to temperature. It would be assumed that


viscosity measured at physiologic temperature would be
lower than the viscosities presented in this study. In
addition, there are data to suggest that gas bubbles due to
continued fermentation at temperatures above 258C would
likely alter viscosity [20]. Ileal samples were mixed by hand
with a metal spatula for 60 seconds to homogenize the
sample. Viscosity was measured in duplicate with a Brookfield LV-DV-II+ viscometer. An SSV-vane standard spindle
set (Brookfield Engineering, Middleboro, Mass) was used.
Spindle multiplier constants used were 2.62, 11.1, and 53.5
for spindles V-71, V-72, and V-73, respectively. These
constants were programmed into Wingather software
(Brookfield Engineering) for viscosity calculations. Viscosity was calculated as a function of revolutions per minute
(rpm) over an rpm range of 0.3 to 10 (0.3, 0.6, 1, 2, 5, 10).
After initial measurement, samples were frozen at 208C.
After 24 hours in the freezer, samples were removed and
allowed to equilibrate to 238C and viscosity measured as
previously described.

digesta samples were placed in 50-mL centrifuge tubes and


centrifuged at 11 000  g for 10 minutes. Viscosity of the
supernatant (2 mL) was measured with a Brookfield LV-DVII+ viscometer with a Wells/Brookfield cone and plate using
a CP-41 cone and plate.
2.3. Experiment 3
2.3.1. Animals
Purpose-bred female dogs (n = 5; Butler Farms USA)
with hound bloodlines, an average initial body weight of
27.9 kg (range, 19.3-32.3 kg), and an average age of
3.2 years (range, 1.8-6.5 years) were used. Dogs had
previously been surgically prepared with an ileal cannula
and were housed as described previously.

2.2.1. Animals
Purpose-bred female dogs (n = 6; Butler Farms USA)
with hound bloodlines, an average initial body weight of
26.1 kg (range, 19.4-28.2 kg), and an average age of
4.2 years (range, 3.0-7.8 years) were used. Dogs had
previously been surgically prepared with an ileal cannula
and were housed as previously described. Dogs were fed the
same commercial diet as was used in Experiment 1. The diet
met or exceeded the Association of American Feed Control
Officials [21] recommendations for dogs at weight maintenance and had an ME concentration of 20628 kJ/kg. Dogs
were fed a total of 400 g of each diet divided equally
between 2 feedings occurring at 8:00 am and 8:00 pm. This
study was conducted over a 14-day period. Initially, a 6-day
diet adaptation phase preceded an 8-day collection of ileal
digesta. Ileal digesta was collected once daily during the
8-day collection period, and each sample collection lasted
1.5 hours in length. Sample times rotated by 1.5 hours each
day with the first-day collection beginning at 8:00 am.
Collected ileal digesta was immediately frozen at 208C.
Before the viscosity measurement, ileal digesta was
composited for days 1 to 4 (8:00 am-2:00 pm) and days
5 to 8 (2:00 pm-8:00 pm) and thawed in a 558C water bath
until samples reached room temperature (238C). Water was
offered ad libitum by providing 1500 mL at 8:00 am and
8:00 pm daily into 2000-mL stainless steel bowls attached
to the cages. Before offering new water at 8:00 am and
8:00 pm, remaining water from the previous offering was
measured with a graduated cylinder and amounts recorded.

2.3.2. Procedures
Dogs were fed 1 of 5 dietary treatments that consisted
of commercially available canine extruded diets. Data
have shown that various carbohydrates impact the
viscosity of intestinal fluid of many species including dogs
[2,4,6,8-10,13]. Therefore, the diets chosen differed in
carbohydrate ingredients and included either ground wheat
(GW) (Kibbles n Bits Original, DLM Foods L.L.C, San
Francisco, CA), brewers rice (BR) (Purina One, Nestle
Purina, St Louis, Mo), corn meal (CM) (Eukanuba Adult
Premium Performance Formula, The Iams Company), corn
meal + ground sorghum + ground wheat (Mixed) (Science
Diet Adult Original, Hills Pet Nutrition, Inc, Topeka, Ks),
or oatmeal (OatM) (Cycle Custom Fitness, DLM Foods,
LLC, San Francisco, Calif). Dogs were fed a total of 500 g
of each diet daily divided equally between 2 feedings
occurring at 8:00 am and 8:00 pm.
The experimental design was a 5  5 Latin square
consisting of 10-day periods. A 6-day adaptation phase
preceded a 4-day collection of ileal digesta. Ileal digesta was
collected 3 times a day, with an interval of 4 hours between
collections. Ileal collections were 1 hour in length.
Sampling times on the remaining 3 days rotated 1 hour
from the previous days collection time. Ileal samples were
collected as described above. Ileal digesta collected at each
time was immediately frozen at 208C. At the end of each
period, ileal digesta was composited for each individual
dog. Composited ileal samples were allowed to thaw in a
558C water bath until they reached room temperature
(238C). Samples were mixed by hand with a metal spatula
for 60 seconds. Approximately 30-mL duplicates of ileal
digesta were placed in glass beakers (5 cm in diameter).
Viscosity of ileal digesta was analyzed as described
above. If samples were too viscous to measure directly, they
were diluted 1:1 (w/w basis) with Millipore filtered water
(viscosity, 1 mPa d s).

2.2.2. Viscosity
Viscosity was measured in duplicate as described in
Experiment 1. After the initial viscosity measurement, ileal

2.3.3. In vitro digestion simulation


For the in vitro digestion simulation, diets from
Experiment 3 were weighed (0.5 g) in duplicate and placed

2.2. Experiment 2

C.L. Dikeman et al. / Nutrition Research 27 (2007) 5665

59

Table 1
Chemical analyses of dietary treatmentsa
Diet

DM

OM

Diet A
BR
CM
GW
Mixed
OatM

91.0
93.3
93.3
91.1
92.5
92.2

93.4
92.8
91.7
91.6
95.0
93.9

CP

AHF

TDF

IDF

SDF

Gross energy, kJ/kg

11.7
19.4
22.6
11.9
15.4
13.1

10.3
5.4
8.5
10.9
6.7
9.8

8.6
3.3
5.9
9.3
5.1
8.4

1.7
2.1
2.6
1.6
1.6
1.4

20628
22190
22948
20105
21436
20704

%, Dry matter basis

23.4
28.2
33.5
24.9
26.8
24.7

Diet A used in Experiments 1 and 2; BR, CM, GW, Mixed, and OatM diets used in Experiments 3 and for in vitro digestion simulation.

in 50-mL plastic centrifuge tubes. To simulate gastric


digestion, 0.2 N HCl (5 mL), 10% pepsin/HCl (w/v,
0.5 mL), and 0.1 mol/L (12.5 mL) phosphate buffer (pH 6)
were added to each tube. Solutions were adjusted to pH 2
with HCl (0.2 N) or NaOH (0.6 N). Tubes were stoppered
and incubated for 6 hours at 398C [22,23]. After the initial
6-hour incubation, small intestinal simulation began with
the addition of 0.6 N NaOH (2.5 mL), 0.2 mol/L phosphate
buffer (pH 6.8, 5 mL), and 5% pancreatin solution (w/v,
0.5 mL), with adjustment to pH 6.8 with HCl (0.2 N) or
NaOH (0.6 N) [22,23]. Tubes were incubated at 398C for an
additional 18 hours. One set of substrates was removed from
incubation and frozen at 208C at 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, and
18 hours from initiation of small intestinal digestion
simulation. During the in vitro digestion simulation, viscosity was measured using a Brookfield digital viscometer
(LV-DV-II+) with a Wells/Brookfield cone and plate
extension. Solutions were assayed using a CP-41 cone and
plate, and across rpm speeds of 0.3, 0.6, 1, 1.5, 2, and 3
(shear rates, 0.6, 1.0, 2, 3, 4, and 6 per second, respectively).
2.4. Chemical analyses
Diets used in all 4 experiments were analyzed for dry
matter (DM), organic matter (OM), and ash using the
Association of Official Analytical Chemists [24] methods.
Crude protein (CP) concentrations were calculated using
Leco nitrogen (N) values (N  6.25) for all samples using
AOAC [24] methods. Total lipid content was determined by
acid hydrolysis followed by ether extraction according to
the American Association of Cereal Chemists [25] and
Budde [26]. Total dietary fiber (TDF), soluble (SDF), and
insoluble dietary fiber (IDF) concentrations were determined according to Prosky et al [27]. Gross energy content
of the diets was determined by bomb calorimetry (Parr
Instrument Co, Moline, Ill).
2.5. Statistical analysis
Viscosity data were analyzed using NLREG software
(NLREG, Brentwood, Tenn) and SAS (SAS Institute,
Cary, NC). NLREG was used to develop a working
model of the viscosity flow curve data. Pseudoplastic
fluids can be represented adequately by the power law
equation ( y = a * x b ) and termed power law fluids
[5,28-31]. In the equation, shear stress ( y) is a function of

the consistency index or constant (a), shear rate (x), and a


dimensionless exponent (b) that indicates closeness to
Newtonian flow. The exponent will equal 1 for Newtonian fluids and will be less than 1 for shear-thinning or
pseudoplastic fluids. The constant is a parameter proportional to viscosity of power law fluids and is represented
in units of millipascals per second. Model development
allowed for the estimation of the constant and exponent
parameters in the above equation.
Viscosity data from Experiment 1 were analyzed for
NLREG parameters using NLREG software.
Nonlinear regression parameter data from Experiment 2
were analyzed using the Mixed models procedure of SAS
and included the fixed effect of treatment (whole or
centrifuged digesta) and the random effect of dog. Treatment least squares means were compared using the
Bonferroni method to control experimentwise error rate.
A probability of P b .05 was accepted as statistically
significant. Data also were analyzed using the correlation
procedure of SAS to determine the linear relationships
between diet and water intake and viscosity parameters.
Data obtained from Experiment 3 were analyzed to
estimate nonlinear regression parameters using NLREG
software and SAS. The experimental design was a 5 
5 Latin square. The statistical model included the fixed
effect of diet and the random effects of dog and period.
In vitro data did not meet criteria of normality tested by
the univariate procedure of SAS; therefore, data were logtransformed before the statistical analysis. Data were
analyzed using the Mixed models procedure of SAS. The
experimental design was a factorial randomized complete
block design with diet serving as block. The statistical
model included the fixed effect of diet and the random effect
of replicate. Treatment least squares means were compared
using the Bonferroni method to control experimentwise
error rate. A probability of P b .05 was accepted as
statistically significant.

3. Results
3.1. Chemical analyses
Chemical analyses of diets tested in all 3 experiments are
presented in Table 1. Dry matter and OM concentrations

60

C.L. Dikeman et al. / Nutrition Research 27 (2007) 5665

Table 2
Nonlinear regression viscosity parameters for ileal digesta fresh and after a 24-hour freeze from 3 dogs consuming a standard dieta
Dog

Day

Fresh digesta
Viscosity constant, mPa d s

1
2
3
1
2
3
1
2
3

13 931
15 563
15 663
23 726
16 206
11 416
12 512
20 813
16 518

Frozen digesta
Exponent
1.26
1.30
1.77
1.44
1.91
1.52
1.22
0.83
1.71

Viscosity constant, mPa d s

0.99
0.99
0.99
0.99
0.99
0.99
0.99
0.99
0.99

Exponent

13 241
16 084
15 171
24 878
17 503
10 846
12 410
22 270
16 301

1.18
1.31
1.62
1.41
1.87
1.50
1.23
1.00
1.69

R2
0.99
0.99
0.99
0.99
0.99
0.99
0.99
0.99
0.99

Nonlinear viscosity parameters are based on the power law equation ( y = a * x b ), where y is shear stress, a is the viscosity constant, x is shear rate, and
b is a dimensionless exponent indicating deviation from Newtonian flow (exponent b 1 for pseudoplastic fluids); R 2 indicates the proportion of variation
explained by the nonlinear regression model.

were similar among diets and averaged 92.2% and 93.1%,


respectively. Crude protein and acid-hydrolyzed fat (AHF)
concentrations ranged from 23.4% to 33.5% and 11.7% to
22.6%, respectively. Total dietary fiber, SDF, and IDF
concentrations averaged 8.6%, 1.8%, and 6.8%, respectively. The gross energy concentration of the 6 diets analyzed
ranged from 20105 to 22948 kJ/kg.
3.2. Experiment 1
Nonlinear regression viscosity constants, exponents, and
R 2 values calculated for ileal digesta samples measured
fresh and after a 24-hour freeze/thaw are presented in
Table 2. Ileal digesta viscosity constants averaged 15 052,
17 116, and 16 614 mPa d s for dogs 1, 2, and 3, respectively, over the 3-day testing period. After a 24-hour
freeze/thaw, viscosity values were within 5% of each other
with the exception of dog 2 day 2 and dog 3 day 2. A high
proportion of variation among digesta samples from dogs
over the 3-day sampling period was accounted for with
the nonlinear regression model based on high R 2 values
(Table 2). All digesta solutions sampled during the 3-day
period exhibited non-Newtonian shear-thinning behavior
(decreasing viscosity with increasing shear rate) indicated
by negative nonlinear regression exponent values ranging
from 0.83 to 1.91.
3.3. Experiment 2
Dry matter intake (DMI), water intake, and nonlinear
regression viscosity constant averages for whole and centrifuged digesta samples are presented in Table 3. Nonlinear
regression viscosity constants calculated for whole digesta
ranged from a high of 22 588 to a low of 7631 mPa d s.
After centrifugation, viscosity constants were very low and
ranged from a high of 9.23 to a low of 6.96 mPa d s. No
significant linear correlation was detected between DMI,
water intake, and viscosity constants.
Nonlinear regression viscosity parameters for digesta
samples are presented in Table 4. When viscosity was
measured on whole digesta samples, nonlinear regression
constants ranged from 6575 to 32 692 mPa d s during

morning collections and 7137 to 17 345 mPa d s during


afternoon collections. After centrifugation, nonlinear
regression viscosity constants were lower ( P b .05) than
whole samples and ranged from 7.47 to 9.03 mPa d s
during morning collections and 6.42 to 9.46 mPa d s
during afternoon collections. In addition, the nonlinear
regression model successfully explained 99% of the
variation among samples measured whole, indicated by
high R 2 values; however, the model failed to successfully
explain the variation in 5 of 6 samples after centrifugation. Those samples that were not significantly modeled
using nonlinear regression were labeled with exponent
values of 1, indicating a lack of dependence of shear rate
on viscosity.
3.4. Experiment 3
Nonlinear regression viscosity parameters, DMI, and
ileal DM concentrations for dogs consuming diets varying
in carbohydrate ingredients are presented in Table 5. Ileal
DM concentration ranged from 11.7% to 14.6% and was
highest ( P b .05) for dogs fed CM compared with dogs fed
OatM and GW. No additional differences were detected.
During Experiment 3, 5 digesta samples were too viscous
to measure using the Brookfield LV-DV-II+ viscometer;
Table 3
Dry matter intake, water intake, and nonlinear regression viscosity
constants for whole and centrifuged ileal digestaa,b
Dog

1
2
3
4
5
6

DMI, g/d

313
296
365
232
361
198

Water intake, mL/d

1066
1022
1095
568
902
628

Viscosity constant, mPa d s


Whole

Centrifuged

15 711
8808
22 588
7631
12 360
10 104

8.04
7.70
7.86
7.64
9.23
6.96

a
All nonlinear regression viscosity constants for whole digesta were
higher ( P b .05) compared with centrifuged digesta (pooled SEM,
1397.25).
b
Correlations between DMI, water intake, and nonlinear viscosity
constants measured on whole and centrifuged digesta were not significant
( P N .05).

C.L. Dikeman et al. / Nutrition Research 27 (2007) 5665

61

Table 4
Nonlinear regression viscosity parameters for digesta measured whole and after centrifugation in morning and afternoon hours from 6 dogs consuming a
standard dieta,b,c,d
Dog

1
Constant, mPa
Exponent
R2
2
Constant, mPa
Exponent
R2
3
Constant, mPa
Exponent
R2
4
Constant, mPa
Exponent
R2
5
Constant, mPa
Exponent
R2
6
Constant, mPa
Exponent
R2

Morning hours

Afternoon hours

Whole digesta

Centrifuged digesta

Whole digesta

Centrifuged digesta

d s

14 077
1.58
0.99

9.03
1
NS

17 345
1.20
0.99

7.05
0.61
0.84

d s

6575
1.38
0.99

7.47
1
NS

11 041
1.46
0.99

7.94
1
NS

d s

32 692
1.27
0.99

8.67
0.96
0.98

12 483
1.30
0.99

7.06
1
NS

d s

8124
1.29
0.99

8.23
1
NS

7137
1.36
0.99

7.05
1
NS

d s

12 236
1.46
0.99

8.99
1
NS

12 483
1.70
0.99

9.46
1
NS

d s

10 283
1.38
0.99

7.50
1
NS

9925
1.30
0.99

6.42
1
NS

Nonlinear viscosity parameters are based on the power law equation ( y = a * x b ), where y is shear stress, a is the viscosity constant, x is shear rate, and
b is a dimensionless exponent indicating deviation from Newtonian flow (exponent b 1 for pseudoplastic fluids); exponents were given as 1 if nonlinear
regression was not significant (NS; P N .05); R 2 indicates the proportion of variation explained by the nonlinear regression model.
b
Constant mean estimates were used in the case of nonsignificant nonlinear regression analysis.
c
Ileal digesta sampled in the morning hours between 8:00 am and 2:00 pm and ileal digesta sampled in the afternoon hours between 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm.
d
All nonlinear regression viscosity constants for whole digesta were higher ( P b .05) compared with centrifuged digesta (pooled SEM, 1397.25).

reduction in viscosity, those 5 samples were not included in


the statistical analysis.

therefore, they were diluted with Millipore filtered water on


a 1:1 (w/w) basis. After measurement and application of the
appropriate dilution factor, nonlinear regression viscosity
constants were much lower than expected, ranging from
1585 to 5894 mPa d s (Table 6). These values should have
been greater than the highest values calculated without
dilution (N approximately 22,000) based on the maximum
measurement capacity of the viscometer. Three of the
diluted samples were obtained from the same dog consuming the CM, Mixed, and OatM diets. Samples obtained from
one dog consuming the CM diet and one dog consuming
the Mixed diet also were diluted. Because of the drastic

3.5. In vitro digestion simulation


Nonlinear regression viscosity parameters for small
intestinal digestion simulations are presented in Table 7.
During small intestinal digestion simulation, the BR
treatment had a higher ( P b .05) viscosity constant at
6 hours compared with 9 and 15 hours.
Viscosity constants for solutions containing CM were
similar during the initial 6 hours of simulation and averaged
221 mPa d s; however, there was a reduction ( P b .05) in

Table 5
Nonlinear regression viscosity parameters, apparent total tract dry matter and organic matter digestibilities, and ileal dry matter concentrations for dogs
consuming diets containing various carbohydrate ingredients1,2
Item

BR

CM

GW

Mixed

OatM

SEM

P value

Viscosity constant, mPa d s


Exponent
Dry matter intake, g/d
Ileal DM, %

12 590
1.32
358
13.0a,b

11 291
1.19
353
14.6a

9431
1.19
303
12.4b

7934
1.21
372
12.7a,b

10 228
1.17
379
11.7b

3134.7
0.09
38.17
0.59

NS
NS
NS
b .05

a,b

Least squares means in the same row that do not have common superscript letters differ ( P b .05).
Nonlinear viscosity parameters are based on the power law equation ( y = a * x 2 ), where y is shear stress, a is the viscosity constant, x is shear rate, and
b is a dimensionless exponent indicating deviation from Newtonian flow (exponent b 1 for pseudoplastic fluids).
2
Diluted samples were not included in the statistical analysis.
1

62

C.L. Dikeman et al. / Nutrition Research 27 (2007) 5665

Table 6
Nonlinear regression viscosity constants calculated for digesta samples of
dogs fed diets containing various carbohydrate ingredientsa
Dog

BR

CM

GW

Mixed

OatM

1
2
3
4
5

21 926
9216
10 331
4715
16 760

1585a
9349
3018a
6712
17 813

5362
5505
12 369
7713
16 211

9412
6835
5894a
7557
4811a

9094
8431
3026a
2943
20 446

Indicates samples diluted 1:1 with Millipore filtered water.

viscosity beginning at 9 hours. Viscosity constants were


lower ( P b .05) at 15 and 18 hours compared with the
6-hour value.
Few differences were detected for the GW treatment. At
the initiation of digestion simulation, the viscosity constant
was lower ( P b .05) than the viscosity constant after 6 hours
of digestion simulation. All other time point combinations
were similar. As was the case for the BR and CM
treatments, the GW treatment had the highest viscosity
constant value at 6 hours.
Viscosity constants for the Mixed treatment were lowest
( P b .05) at 6 and 15 hours of simulation compared with the
9-hour value. No other differences were detected.
4. Discussion
In the current studies, fluid viscosities have been
described using the power law equation to calculate a
viscosity consistency index or constant that is proportional
to viscosity. The power law equation describes solutions that

exhibit shear-thinning behavior [3,13,28-32]. Use of a


working model such as nonlinear regression provides
additional information about the viscosity/shear rate profile
not available if a single shear rate measurement is obtained.
This approach provides a more powerful tool for describing
viscosity characteristics in the gastrointestinal tract, even
though shear rates have not been established [13]. In the
current studies, nonlinear regression analysis indicated that
all solutions, with the exception of those that were
centrifuged, were non-Newtonian and exhibited shearthinning behavior as indicated by negative exponents.
Greater negative exponents are associated with a greater
dependence of viscosity on shear rate. It was expected that
ileal digesta collected from dogs would exhibit this type
of flow behavior because of the presence of particulate
matter within the fluid matrix. In support, Reppas et al [13]
reported that chyme collected from the duodenum and
jejunum of dogs exhibited shear-thinning or pseudoplastic
flow behavior.
Multiple methods of viscosity measurement have been
utilized in previous research to obtain a greater understanding of this property in the gastrointestinal tract of animals.
Tube flow and rotational viscometers have been used to
determine flow properties, and effects of particle size on
digesta collected from pigs, chickens, wallabies, and
brushtail possums [20,29,30,33-36]. Because of the effect
of particle size on viscosity, it seems relevant to use a
method that accounts for particles in fluid. Research has
been conducted on the application of mixer viscometry to
measure the viscosity of biologic materials [5,18].

Table 7
Nonlinear regression viscosity parameters for solutions containing diets with various carbohydrate ingredients during small intestinal digestion simulation1
Sample

Time, h
0

BR
Constant, mPa
Exponent
R2
CM
Constant, mPa
Exponent
R2
GW
Constant, mPa
Exponent
R2
Mixed
Constant, mPa
Exponent
R2
OatM
Constant, mPa
Exponent
R2
c, d, e

12

15

18

d s

27d
1.04
0.95

47c,d
1.53
0.99

130c
0.87
0.97

22d
1.19
0.97

36c,d
1.07
0.99

23d
0.57
0.90

75c,d
0.84
0.98

d s

254c,d
0.97
0.99

148c,d
1.04
0.99

262c,d
0.85
0.99

84c,d
0.98
0.98

95c,d
0.94
0.99

34e
1.15
0.99

43e
1.10
0.98

d s

14d
1.50
0.99

63c,d
0.92
0.99

77c
0.78
0.99

29c,d
0.97
0.98

34c,d
1.31
0.97

31c,d
1.52
0.98

48c,d
1.00
0.93

d s

33c,d
1.30
0.98

14d,e
1.62
0.96

4e
2.18
0.97

89c
1.09
0.99

31c,d
1.06
0.99

4e
1.24
0.93

17d,e
1.66
0.98

d s

32
1.05
0.99

29
0.95
0.99

17
0.69
0.95

18
1.18
0.99

24
1.06
0.97

25
0.94
0.96

26
0.87
0.97

Least squares means (5 diets, 7 time points; n = 35) in the same row that do not have common superscript letters differ ( P b .05) (pooled SEM, 21.20).
Nonlinear viscosity parameters are based on the power law equation ( y = a * x b ), where y is shear stress, a is the viscosity constant, x is shear rate, and
b is a dimensionless exponent indicating deviation from Newtonian flow (exponent b 1 for pseudoplastic fluids); R 2 indicates the proportion of variation
explained by the nonlinear regression model.
1

C.L. Dikeman et al. / Nutrition Research 27 (2007) 5665

To measure the viscosity of whole ileal digesta from dogs


without altering or removing particles or diluting the digesta
in any way, mixer viscometry was used. During the initial
experiment, on average, calculated viscosity constants
varied only by 12% among dogs. For each dog, there was
a greater variation among days. Furthermore, with the
exception of only 2 samples, viscosity values measured after
a 24-hour freeze and thaw to room temperature were within
5% of those measured on fresh digesta. Ability to freeze
digesta before measuring viscosity allows additional convenience when conducting experiments.
In Experiment 2, there was a 66% variation among dogs.
The larger variation in Experiment 2 may have been a result
of the sampling times. During Experiment 1, digesta was
sampled at the same time on each of the consecutive days.
In Experiment 2, digesta was sampled at rotating times that
changed every day during the collection phase.
During Experiment 2, there was no interaction or
correlation between DMI, water intake, and the calculated
viscosity constant. Water intake and diet intake were
measured but not controlled. Dogs were given a specified
amount of food and water but were not forced to consume
those amounts. Therefore, the variation in viscosity of ileal
digesta collected from dogs is not surprising owing to the
array of factors that might play a role in viscosity
measurement such as fluid intake, diet intake, fluid
secretions from the gastrointestinal tract, gut motility, meal
composition, particle size, and shear rate differences in the
gastrointestinal tract [5,30,31].
When ileal digesta samples from Experiment 2 were
centrifuged at 11 000  g for 10 minutes, the viscosity
constants changed dramatically, resulting in very little
correlation between the 2 methods. In addition, according
to nonlinear regression analysis, 10 of 12 centrifuged
samples no longer exhibited non-Newtonian behavior based
on the exponent values of 1 and the nonsignificant model fit.
The removal of particles from digesta has been shown to
alter viscous characteristics of solutions, changing them
from non-Newtonian to Newtonian [34-36].
Researchers sometimes use centrifugation before measurement of viscosity to control and remove large
particulate matter in samples. According to Tietyen et al
[37], centrifuging solutions containing oat bran and
hydrolyzed oat bran successfully separated the watersoluble fraction from the large, insoluble particulate
fraction. This technique has been successfully used to
detect differences in viscosity of gastrointestinal contents of
rodents fed purified water-soluble fibers such as hydroxypropylmethylcellulose and guar gum at concentrations of
40 to 50 g/kg of the diet [38-41]. When considering the
contents of the gastrointestinal tract, insoluble and large
particles contribute to viscosity; therefore, sampled digesta
should remain intact for viscosity measurement. Although
use of centrifugation might account for water-soluble
fibers that contribute to viscosity in solutions [37-41], the
method removes the insoluble fibers and particulate matter

63

that also may contribute to viscosity characteristics in the


gastrointestinal tract [20,33-36].
Researchers have diluted extremely thick gastrointestinal
tract samples from experimental animals to produce a
digesta sample capable of being analyzed [6,42-44].
Because water has a viscosity of 1 mPa d s and is a
Newtonian fluid, it was assumed that a dilution factor could
be applied to back calculate what the actual viscosity should
be. After dilution and nonlinear regression analysis, the
diluted samples had lower viscosity constants than their
undiluted counterparts. It was expected that those 5 solutions
would have much higher viscosity constants than the
highest values calculated for undiluted samples Unfortunately, diluting the samples drastically underestimated the
viscosity constants in the present study, particularly for the
CM treatment. It might be expected that the CM treatment
would promote high viscosity in the gastrointestinal tract
owing to a relatively high concentration of SDF compared
with the other 4 diets. In addition, this diet contained higher
concentrations of CP and AHF compared with the other
diets, and these components also may contribute to viscous
characteristics. Lastly, ileal DM concentration was highest
for dogs consuming the CM diet. The higher concentration
of DM or solids in the ileal contents would be indicative of a
higher viscosity due to increased particulate matter in the
fluid and a lower water-to-solids ratio [5,30,34-36].
Cameron-Smith et al [8] reported that dilution of a
xanthan gumcontaining diet from an initial concentration
in solution of 18 to 12 g/kg resulted in no change in
viscosity. On the other hand, the same dilution of solutions
containing guar gum and methylcellulose resulted in
reductions in viscosity of 65% and 54%, respectively. These
findings, along with the substantial reductions in viscosity
found in the present study, call into question the validity of
using a dilution technique before viscosity measurement. In
addition, the drastic alteration in the viscosity constants after
dilution may support the idea that gastrointestinal tract
secretions play a very significant role in the viscosity of
gastrointestinal tract contents [8].
During small intestinal digestion simulation, dietary
proteins and carbohydrates were enzymatically digested.
The early phase of enzymatic digestion may contribute to
the ability of diet matrix structure to interact with fluid,
resulting in the increase in viscosities observed between
6 and 9 hours of digestion. As the enzymatic processes
continue, carbohydrate, protein, and fat structures in the diet
matrix would be modified and macronutrients prepared for
absorption and removal from the lumen of the small
intestine. This modification of structure likely causes the
reduction in viscosity observed with increased duration of
simulated digestion.
The drawback to in vitro investigations is the lack of
accounting for absorption of macronutrients and water, or
secretion of fluids into the gastrointestinal tract. It is still
unclear how these processes and other factors such as diet
intake may impact gastrointestinal tract viscosity. Further

64

C.L. Dikeman et al. / Nutrition Research 27 (2007) 5665

research is needed to determine the impact of dietary


factors such as food and water intake on gastrointestinal
tract viscosity.
In summary, mixer viscometry can be used to measure
the viscosity of power law fluids including ileal digesta
sampled from dogs. This method allows for the measurement of viscosity without centrifugation or removal of large
particulate matter that contributes to viscosity. In the present
study, some samples were diluted because the viscometer
did not provide enough torque to measure the extremely
viscous samples. A viscometer with additional power could
measure those samples without the need for dilution;
therefore, the problem was due to the viscometer rather
than the use of mixer viscometry.
It was demonstrated in the present study that centrifuging
and diluting digesta sampled from the ileum of the dog
resulted in substantial reductions in viscous characteristics
of the digesta. These data, along with data of previous
experiments, provide information on the importance of
particle size and inclusion on viscosity; therefore, methods
of removing particles during viscous measurements should
be avoided. These techniques of viscosity measurement will
assist researchers in understanding the impact that diet has
on characteristics in the gastrointestinal tracts of animals
including relevance to humans. Much research is still
needed to determine the effects of additional factors such
as fluid and diet intake, fluid secretions, gut motility, meal
composition, diurnal fluctuations, and shear rate differences
on viscosity of intestinal contents. Understanding the
viscous characteristics of animal intestinal contents will be
useful in defining the mixing, diffusion, and flow of
nutrients through the gastrointestinal tract.
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