The IDF is a nutritionally important component of the diet of ruminants, in that it is a major component and is a marker of the indigestibility of the diet. Its nutritional utility appears to have been unappreciated, as it is not frequently estimated and reported. Existing information from forage-fed ruminants suggests that maPDF is essentially completely digested, so that the digestibility of NDF can be estimated from knowledge of IDF and maPDF. The importance of rate of ruminative mastication in determining rate of exposure of new surfaces of maPDF is stressed. That topic and the amino acid nutrition of fibrolytic bacterial ecosystems are proposed as potentially fruitful areas for future research.

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