Christina Butowski

Doctor of Philosophy, (Animal Science)
Study Completed: 2021
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Assessment of the effects of dietary fibre and animal-derived fermentable substrates on the gastrointestinal microbiome and associated faecal parameters of the domestic cat (Felis catus)

Pet foods high in animal protein and fat with minimal dietary fibre are becoming increasingly popular and the impacts of feeding such diets to domestic cats is unknown. Ms Butowski conducted a series of studies to determine the effects such diets, dietary fibre and animal-derived fermentable substrates (ADFS) has on the food- host- microbiome-interaction. She observed that the domestic cat gastrointestinal microbiome can ferment dietary fibre, altering the faecal microbiome and associated faecal parameters. She screened a range of ADFS in vitro and found that hydrolysed collagen may be suitable for inclusion in a high-protein raw meat diet. In vivo, she observed that hydrolysed collagen was fermented by the gastrointestinal microbiome, producing beneficial fermentation end products and has the potential to replace dietary fibre in the diet of the domestic cat. Ms Butowski’s research provides important insight into the impact of diet on the host-microbiome interactions of the domestic cat.

Associate Professor David Thomas
Dr Emma Bermingham
Dr Wayne Young
Associate Professor Nick Cave