Miscanthus: A new type of dietary fiber for cats and dogs!
By Sophie Lavallée M.Sc., Agr.
Have you heard of miscanthus? Miscanthus is a perennial glass plant whose scientific name is Miscanthus X gigantus. In the United States, it is grown as a grass plant, while in Quebec and Ontario it has been the subject of many biomass and biofuel projects. Known for its rapid growth, the plant requires minimal agricultural inputs, produces a high yield, and has highly positive effects on soil conservation compared to corn, for example.
How can this type of fiber be beneficial in the diet of dogs and cats? Much like insoluble fiber such as cellulose (see previous brief entitled “The role of fiber in your pet’s diet”), Miscanthus has properties that are very similar to other types of fiber in addition to being non-fermentable and hypo-allergenic. Miscanthus meets AAFCO standards under the name “powdered cellulose” (AAFCO 87.14) or “milled grass” (AAFCO 60.11). According to a recent study conducted at Kansas State University, cats and dogs have no difficulty eating or digesting this fiber.
Some of the benefits of insoluble fiber include weight control through greater satiation, hairball control in cats, and improved stool bulk. The inclusion rate in pet food formulas can vary from 5-25% depending on the formula.
In terms of its uses for the food industry, this plant is an excellent option as a filling agent in vitamin and mineral premixes, particularly since it has the advantage of containing no GMOs.
We hope you enjoyed this information on Miscanthus. Feel free to contact us should you have any questions on this subject.
Aldrich, Greg. Progress report: Evaluation of Miscanthus as a source of fiber in dog and cat diets. Department of grain science & industry Kansas State University. April 2016
AAFCO. 2016. Association of American Feed Control Officials: Official Publication.