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Is there an influence of body mass on digesta mean retention time in herbivores? A comparative study on ungulates


Steuer, P; Südekum, K H; Müller, D W H; Franz, R; Kaandorp, J; Clauss, Marcus; Hummel, J (2011). Is there an influence of body mass on digesta mean retention time in herbivores? A comparative study on ungulates. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A: Molecular and Integrative Physiology, 160(3):355-364.

Abstract

The relation between body mass (BM) and digesta mean retention time (MRT) in herbivores was the focus of several studies in recent years. It was assumed that MRT scaled with BM0.25 based on the isometric scaling of gut capacity (BM1.0) and allometric scaling of energy intake (BM0.75). Literature studies that tested this hypothesis produced conflicting results, arriving sometimes at higher or lower exponents than the postulated 0.25. This study was conducted with 8 ruminants (n=2–6 per species) and 6 hindgut fermenting species/breeds (n=2–6, warthog n=1) with a BM range of 60–4000 kg. All animals received a ration of 100% grass hay with ad libitum access. Dry matter intake was measured and the MRT was estimated by the use of a solute and a particle (1–2 mm) marker. No significant scaling of MRTparticle with BM was observed for all herbivores (32 BM0.04, p=0.518) and hindgut fermenters (32 BM0.00, p=1.00). The scaling exponent for ruminants only showed a tendency towards significance (29 BM0.12, p=0.071). Ruminants on average had an MRTparticle 1.61-fold longer than hindgut fermenters. Whereas an exponent of 0.25 is reasonable from theoretical considerations, much lower exponents were found in this and other studies. The energetic benefit of increasing MRT is by no means continuous, since the energy released from a given food unit via digestion decreases over time. The low and non-significant scaling factors for both digestion types suggest that in ungulates, MRT is less influenced by BM (maximal allometric exponent≤0.1) than often reported.

Abstract

The relation between body mass (BM) and digesta mean retention time (MRT) in herbivores was the focus of several studies in recent years. It was assumed that MRT scaled with BM0.25 based on the isometric scaling of gut capacity (BM1.0) and allometric scaling of energy intake (BM0.75). Literature studies that tested this hypothesis produced conflicting results, arriving sometimes at higher or lower exponents than the postulated 0.25. This study was conducted with 8 ruminants (n=2–6 per species) and 6 hindgut fermenting species/breeds (n=2–6, warthog n=1) with a BM range of 60–4000 kg. All animals received a ration of 100% grass hay with ad libitum access. Dry matter intake was measured and the MRT was estimated by the use of a solute and a particle (1–2 mm) marker. No significant scaling of MRTparticle with BM was observed for all herbivores (32 BM0.04, p=0.518) and hindgut fermenters (32 BM0.00, p=1.00). The scaling exponent for ruminants only showed a tendency towards significance (29 BM0.12, p=0.071). Ruminants on average had an MRTparticle 1.61-fold longer than hindgut fermenters. Whereas an exponent of 0.25 is reasonable from theoretical considerations, much lower exponents were found in this and other studies. The energetic benefit of increasing MRT is by no means continuous, since the energy released from a given food unit via digestion decreases over time. The low and non-significant scaling factors for both digestion types suggest that in ungulates, MRT is less influenced by BM (maximal allometric exponent≤0.1) than often reported.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:26 Aug 2011 13:07
Last Modified:11 Sep 2016 07:33
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1095-6433
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpa.2011.07.005
PubMed ID:21777685

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