Common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) are susceptible to intestinal inflammation which leads to chronic diarrhea, weight loss, and vitamin D deficiency. We examined food intake and digestion in three mixed-sex groups of adult marmosets maintained on three commercial base diets. Animals underwent two consecutive 4-day digestion trials. Body mass stayed constant. Feces and diet were assayed for Mn, fat, and gross energy (GE). Apparent digestibility of dry matter (ADDM) was calculated by the total collection method and from dietary and fecal Mn; the methods produced correlated results (r = 0.658, p < 0.001). Apparent digestibility of energy (ADE) was calculated from ADDM and the GE of feces and diet; apparent digestibility of fat (ADfat) was calculated from ADDM and fecal fat. ADDM and ADE varied by diet (p < 0.001). We found poor digesters on all three diets. The concentration of fecal fat was inversely related to ADE (r = −0.729, p < 0.001). High fecal fat (>10%) was associated with ADfat of zero, consistent with lipid malabsorption. Mean digestible energy intake (DEI) was equal to 1.5 the estimated metabolic rate, but varied widely between individuals. The diet with the fewest animals with high fecal fat had the highest mean DEI and most animals above 450 g, suggesting it may be obesogenic.
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