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Factors Influencing Microhistological Analysis of Herbivore Diets

M. Vavra and J. L. Holechek
Journal of Range Management
Vol. 33, No. 5 (Sep., 1980), pp. 371-374
DOI: 10.2307/3897886
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3897886
Page Count: 4
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Factors Influencing Microhistological Analysis of Herbivore Diets
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Abstract

A study simulating herbivore diets was conducted to compare actual and estimated diet constituents as influenced by sample preparation technique and in vitro digestion. Nine plant species, three each representing grass, forb, and shrub forage classes were hand composited into three mixtures so that one forage class dominated each mixture. Samples of each mixture were then allotted to eight treatments involving combinations of grinding through a micro-Wiley mill, soaking in sodium hydroxide and in vitro digestion. Samples were then analyzed for botanical composition using the microhistological technique. In vitro digestion had the greatest impact on the difference between estimated and actual means. In digested samples grasses were overestimated while shrubs and forbs were underestimated. The preferred treatment involved grinding in a micro-Wiley mill and the sodium hydroxide soak.

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