In vitro analysis of the effect of supplementation with activated charcoal on the equine hindgut

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Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-55
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Equine Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2016
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The present study uses in vitro analytical techniques to investigate the effect of activated charcoal on the microbial community of the equine hindgut and the metabolites they produce. Incubations were performed in Wheaton bottles using a 50 ml incubation of a high-energy feed or a low-energy feed, plus bottles with no added food source, together with five levels of activated charcoal (0, 10, 25, 50 or 100 mg per bottle) and fecal samples as a bacterial inoculum. Using this method the rate of gas production, volatile fatty acid and ammonia concentrations, and pH values were analyzed and found to vary depending on the addition of feed, but the activated charcoal had no effect (P>0.05) on any of these. It is already believed that the effect of activated charcoal as a control for toxic substances is at its highest in the foregut or midgut of animals, and therefore should have little impact on the hindgut. The data presented here suggest that if any of the activated charcoal does reach the hindgut, then it has no significant impact on the microbial community present, nor on the major metabolites produced, and so should not have a detrimental effect on the principal site of fermentation in the horse.


  • activated charcoal, digestive metabolites, horse, microbial profiles