The two most common methods for measuring the sugar content of feedstuffs are the ethanol soluble carbohydrate (ESC) and the water soluble carbohydrate (WSC) methods. ESC captures monosaccharaides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and a small fraction of fructans. WSC captures all of these components plus the remaining fructans.
This difference may be particularly important to the equine industry as high levels of fructans have been shown to induce laminitis in horses. The difference is also significant when feeding cool season grasses or grasses that have undergone environmental stressors. Which, tend to contain higher levels of fructans.
WSC has been suggested as the preferred method of sugar analysis for ruminant nutrition as it encompasses all sugars relevant to ruminant digestion.