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

Edmunds, J.L.; Worgan, H.J.; Dougal, K.; Girdwood, S.E.; Douglas, J.-L.; McEwan, N.R.


J.L. Edmunds

H.J. Worgan

K. Dougal

S.E. Girdwood

J.-L. Douglas

N.R. McEwan


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.


EDMUNDS, J.L., WORGAN, H.J., DOUGAL, K., GIRDWOOD, S.E., DOUGLAS, J.-L. and MCEWAN, N.R. 2016. In vitro analysis of the effect of supplementation with activated charcoal on the equine hindgut. Journal of equine science [online], 27(2), pages 49-55. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 8, 2016
Online Publication Date Jun 21, 2016
Publication Date Jun 30, 2016
Deposit Date Sep 21, 2016
Publicly Available Date Sep 21, 2016
Journal Journal of equine science
Print ISSN 1340-3516
Electronic ISSN 1347-7501
Publisher Japanese Society of Equine Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 2
Pages 49-55
Keywords Activated charcoal; Digestive metabolites; Horse; Microbial profiles
Public URL


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