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Mitochondrial abundance and function in muscle from beef steers with divergent residual feed intakes

  • E. E. Fernandez (a1), J. W. Oltjen (a1) and R. D. Sainz (a1)


The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationship between muscle mitochondrial function and residual feed intake (RFI) in growing beef cattle. A 56-day feeding trial was conducted with 81 Angus × Hereford steers (initial BW = 378 ± 43 kg) from the University of California Sierra Foothills Research Station (Browns Valley, CA, USA). All steers were individually fed the same finishing ration (metabolizable energy = 3.28 Mcal/kg DM). Average daily gain (ADG), DM intake (DMI) and RFI were 1.82 ± 0.27, 8.89 ± 1.06 and 0.00 ± 0.55 kg/day, respectively. After the feeding trial, the steers were categorized into high, medium and low RFI groups. Low RFI steers consumed 13.6% less DM (P < 0.05) and had a 14.1% higher G : F ratio (P < 0.05) than the high RFI group. No differences between RFI groups were found in age, ADG or BW (P > 0.10). The most extreme individuals from the low and high RFI groups were selected to assess mitochondrial function (n = 5 low RFI and n = 6 high RFI). Mitochondrial respiration was measured using an oxygraph (Hansatech Instruments Ltd., Norfolk, UK). State 3 and State 4 respiration rates were similar between both groups (P > 0.10). Respiratory control ratios (RCRs, i.e., State 3 : State 4 oxygen uptakes) declined with animal age and were greater in low RFI steers (4.90) as compared to high RFI steers (4.26) when adjusted for age by analysis of covariance (P = 0.003). Mitochondrial complex II activity levels per gram of muscle were 42% greater in low RFI steers than in high RFI steers (P = 0.004). These data suggest that skeletal muscle mitochondria have greater reserve respiratory capacity and show greater coupling between respiration and phosphorylation in low RFI than in high RFI steers.


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Mitochondrial abundance and function in muscle from beef steers with divergent residual feed intakes

  • E. E. Fernandez (a1), J. W. Oltjen (a1) and R. D. Sainz (a1)


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