How to Measure Feeding Digestibility Through In Vitro, In Vivo and In Sacco Methods

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Techniques, Methods and Measures of Feeding Digestibility on Cattle, Goats and Sheep With 3 Kinds of In Vitro, In Sacco and In Vivo, What's the Difference?

One of the benchmarks of whether or not a livestock feed can be assessed from the level of digestibility of feed ingredients when eaten by livestock. There are several ways and methods to measure the digestibility of animal feed ingredients. Broadly speaking there are three kinds of measurement method of livestock material digestibility namely:

In Vitro Method

In Sacco Method

In Vivo Method

The following is one by one explanation of the three types of methods of measuring the digestibility of animal feed:

Cattle Livestock

How to Measure Digestibility with In vitro Method

In vitro method is an indirect method of indigestion conducted in the laboratory by mimicking the process that occurs in the digestive tract of ruminants. The advantage of in vitro method is shorter time and cheaper cost when compared to in vivo method, the effect on livestock is few and can be done by using many feed samples at once. In vitro methods along with chemical analysis support each other in making the evaluation of forage feed (Pell et al, 1993).

In vitro methods were developed to estimate the digestibility and rate of feed degradation in the rumen, and to study various responses to changes in rumen conditions. This method is commonly used for feed evaluation, examines microbial fermentation mechanisms and to study action against antinurition factors, feed additives and supplements (Lopez, 2005).

Measuring the digestibility of feed by in sacco method

In sacco method is a method of predicting digestibility for the evaluation of feed material that can be degraded in the rumen. This method is quite simple and has several advantages: can evaluate feed ingredients more than one at a time and can maintain pH rumen and microbial population compared to in vitro. The tested feed was incubated directly into the rumen environment (Soejono, 1990).

How to Improve Digestibility with Methods in vivo

In vivo digestibility is a method of determining nutrient digestibility using animal experiments with nutrient analysis of feed and feces (Tillman et al 1991). Anggorodi (2004) added that the digestibility or digestibility of a substance is an attempt to determine the amount of nutrient from a material degraded and absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. Digestibility is a nutrient percentage absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract whose results will be known by looking at the difference between the amount of nutrients consumed and the amount of nutrients released in the feces.

Type of feed evaluation In vivo is a method of determining the digestibility of feed using animal experiments with analysis of feed and feces. Digestion of ruminants occurs mechanically, fermentatively, and hydrolysis (Mc Donald et al., 2002). With Invivo method can be known digestion of feed ingredients that occur in the entire gastrointestinal tract of livestock, so that the value of the digestibility of the feed obtained close to the true value. In vivo-determined gastrointestinal coefficients are usually 1% to 2% lower than in vitro obtained digestibility values ​​(Tillman et al., 1991).


Lopez, S. 2005. In vitro and In situ techniques for estimating digestibility. Dalam J. Dijkstra, J. M. Forbes, and J. France (Eds). Quantitative Aspect of Ruminant Digestion and Metabolism. 2nd Edition. ISBN 0-85199-8143. CABI Publishing, London

McDonald, P., R. Edwards, J. Greenhalgh, and C. Morgan. 2002. Animal Nutrition. 6th Edition. Longman Scientific & Technical, New York.

Pell, A.NND.J.R. Cherney and J.S. Jones. 1993. Technical note: Forage InVitro Dry Matter Digestibility as influenced by Fibre Source in The Donor Cow Diet. J. Animal Sci 71.

Soejono, M. 1990. Petunjuk Laboratotium Analisis dan Evaluasi Pakan. Fakultas Peternakan Universitas Gadjah Mada. Yogyakarta. Tillman, A. D., H. Hartadi, S. Reksohadiprojo,S. Prawirokusumo dan S. Lendosoekodjo. 1991. Ilmu Makanan Ternak Dasar. Cetakan Kedua Peternakan. Gajah Mada University Press, Yogyakarta.


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