This study compared different methods of determining starch digestibility (in vivo vs in vitro) in wheat grains and evaluated the influence of extrusion on digestibility. In vivo starch digestibility was determined in broiler chickens by calculating the residual starch content in their ilea and the digestibility using a chromium oxide indicator. In vitro digestibility was examined using pepsin and pancreatin. During in vivo testing, the highest digestibility coefficient (DC) was achieved by the Bonanza variety in its extruded form (91.19 ± 0.40%). In contrast, the lowest DC was achieved by the Tobak variety in its non-extruded form (81.45 ± 1.92%). Generally, a higher DC was observed in vivo for extruded forms of wheat. During in vitro testing, the highest DC was achieved by the Stefii variety in its non-extruded form (96.10 ± 0.55%), whereas the lowest DC was observed in the Yetti variety in its extruded form (49.72 ± 0.41%). Overall, the in vitro experiments did not exhibit significant differences between extruded and non-extruded forms of wheat. Linear regression analysis showed a strong relationship (r2 = 0.860; 85.98%) between in vivo- and in vitro-derived DC values in all wheat varieties, both in extruded and non-extruded forms. The study showed that in vivo testing is a suitable method for the determination and control of starch levels in extruded materials. However, despite the accuracy of this technique, it is also very demanding in terms of time, space, equipment, and methodological knowledge. Therefore, based on the strong correlation between the in vivo and in vitro assays, we recommend in vitro digestibility testing as a preferable alternative.
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