An experiment was conducted to determine the effect of incorporating Jerusalem artichoke (JA) as a prebiotic in the diet of Indian leopards (n = 11 adults) fed a meat-on-bone diet. The trial consisted of three periods (A1 , B, and A2 ). Each period comprised 17 days of adaptation and four days of collection. During the control periods (A1 and A2 ), the leopards were fed their normal zoo diets of 2.5-3 kg of buffalo meat-on-bone six days a week without any supplement. During trial B, meat-on-bone diets of the leopards were supplemented with JA at 2% of dietary dry matter (DM). Meat consumption was similar among the treatments. Supplementation of JA decreased the digestibility of crude protein (P < 0.01). Digestibilities of organic matter and ether extract were similar among the treatments. Serum concentrations of urea and triglycerides were lower (P < 0.05) when JA was added to the diet. Incorporation of JA to the basal diet increased fecal concentrations of acetate (P < 0.01), butyrate (P < 0.01), lactate (P < 0.01), Lactobacillus spp., and Bifidobacterium spp. (P < 0.01) with a simultaneous decrease in the concentration of ammonia (P < 0.01), Clostridia spp. (P < 0.01), and fecal pH (P < 0.01). Fecal microbial profiles and hind gut fermentation were improved, without any adverse effects on feed consumption, nutrient utilization, and serum metabolite profiles. Results of this experiment showed that feeding JA at 2% DM in the whole diet could be potentially beneficial for captive Indian leopards fed meat-on-bone diets.
Keywords: Jerusalem artichoke; Panthera pardus fusca; clinical chemistry; fecal characteristics; nutrient utilization; prebiotic.
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.