oa African Zoology - Preliminary investigations of the digestive processes of the white-tailed rat Mystromys albicaudatus (Smith 1834)

Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



The possibility of pregastric fermentation or amylolytic digestion in the bilocular stomach of Mystromys albicaudatus was examined. Measurements of various digestive parameters (pH, stomach size and ingesta passage rates) and analyses of gut contents (volatile fatty acid concentration and amylase activity) revealed that gastric fermentation is unlikely, but that the forestomach acts as an amylase reservoir. Large populations of amylase-producing bacilli, located on fornical papillae, contribute significantly to high alpha amylase activity in the fornix. Examination of the natural food preferences of the white-tailed rat showed that the rodent selects a diet rich in starch, glycogen and protein. The bilocular stomach of M. albicaudatus is well adapted to efficiently digest these dietary components with carbohydrate digestion occurring in the keratinized fornix and protein digestion in the glandular antrum.

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