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Forage silica and water content control dental surface texture in guinea pigs and provide implications for dietary reconstruction


Winkler, Daniela E; Schulz-Kornas, Ellen; Kaiser, Thomas M; De Cuyper, Annelies; Clauss, Marcus; Tütken, Thomas (2019). Forage silica and water content control dental surface texture in guinea pigs and provide implications for dietary reconstruction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(4):1325-1330.

Abstract

Recent studies have shown that phytoliths are softer than dental enamel but still act as abrasive agents. Thus, phytolith content should be reflected in dental wear. Because native phytoliths show lower indentation hardness than phytoliths extracted by dry ashing, we propose that the hydration state of plant tissue will also affect dental abrasion. To assess this, we performed a controlled feeding experiment with 36 adult guinea pigs, fed exclusively with three different natural forages: lucerne, timothy grass, and bamboo with distinct phytolith/silica contents (lucerne < grass < bamboo). Each forage was fed in fresh or dried state for 3 weeks. We then performed 3D surface texture analysis (3DST) on the upper fourth premolar. Generally, enamel surface roughness increased with higher forage phytolith/silica content. Additionally, fresh and dry grass feeders displayed differences in wear patterns, with those of fresh grass feeders being similar to fresh and dry lucerne (phytolith-poor) feeders, supporting previous reports that “fresh grass grazers” show less abrasion than unspecialized grazers. Our results demonstrate that not only phytolith content but also properties such as water content can significantly affect plant abrasiveness, even to such an extent that wear patterns characteristic for dietary traits (browser–grazer differences) become indistinguishable.

Abstract

Recent studies have shown that phytoliths are softer than dental enamel but still act as abrasive agents. Thus, phytolith content should be reflected in dental wear. Because native phytoliths show lower indentation hardness than phytoliths extracted by dry ashing, we propose that the hydration state of plant tissue will also affect dental abrasion. To assess this, we performed a controlled feeding experiment with 36 adult guinea pigs, fed exclusively with three different natural forages: lucerne, timothy grass, and bamboo with distinct phytolith/silica contents (lucerne < grass < bamboo). Each forage was fed in fresh or dried state for 3 weeks. We then performed 3D surface texture analysis (3DST) on the upper fourth premolar. Generally, enamel surface roughness increased with higher forage phytolith/silica content. Additionally, fresh and dry grass feeders displayed differences in wear patterns, with those of fresh grass feeders being similar to fresh and dry lucerne (phytolith-poor) feeders, supporting previous reports that “fresh grass grazers” show less abrasion than unspecialized grazers. Our results demonstrate that not only phytolith content but also properties such as water content can significantly affect plant abrasiveness, even to such an extent that wear patterns characteristic for dietary traits (browser–grazer differences) become indistinguishable.

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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
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Multidisciplinary
Uncontrolled Keywords:Multidisciplinary, grazing; microtexture; phytoliths; surface texture; tooth wear
Language:English
Date:22 January 2019
Deposited On:18 Feb 2019 13:12
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 09:51
Publisher:National Academy of Sciences
ISSN:0027-8424
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1814081116
PubMed ID:30606800
Project Information:
  • : FunderH2020
  • : Grant ID681450
  • : Project TitleEvolution of herbivory in vertebrates: developing combined isotope (Ca, Sr) and dental surface texture analysis as deep time diet proxies

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