Methods for dietary fiber, neutral detergent fiber, and nonstarch polysaccharides in relation to animal nutrition

J Dairy Sci. 1991 Oct;74(10):3583-97. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(91)78551-2.


There is a need to standardize the NDF procedure. Procedures have varied because of the use of different amylases in attempts to remove starch interference. The original Bacillus subtilis enzyme Type IIIA (XIA) no longer is available and has been replaced by a less effective enzyme. For fiber work, a new enzyme has received AOAC approval and is rapidly displacing other amylases in analytical work. This enzyme is available from Sigma (Number A3306; Sigma Chemical Co., St. Louis, MO). The original publications for NDF and ADF (43, 53) and the Agricultural Handbook 379 (14) are obsolete and of historical interest only. Up to date procedures should be followed. Triethylene glycol has replaced 2-ethoxyethanol because of reported toxicity. Considerable development in regard to fiber methods has occurred over the past 5 yr because of a redefinition of dietary fiber for man and monogastric animals that includes lignin and all polysaccharides resistant to mammalian digestive enzymes. In addition to NDF, new improved methods for total dietary fiber and nonstarch polysaccharides including pectin and beta-glucans now are available. The latter are also of interest in rumen fermentation. Unlike starch, their fermentations are like that of cellulose but faster and yield no lactic acid. Physical and biological properties of carbohydrate fractions are more important than their intrinsic composition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis*
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Animals
  • Cattle / physiology*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fiber / analysis*
  • Dietary Fiber / metabolism
  • Fermentation