Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

The potential use of n-alkanes, long-chain alcohols and long-chain fatty acids as diet composition markers: indoor validation with sheep and herbage species from the rangeland of Inner Mongolia of China

  • L. J. Lin (a1), X. Y. Zhu (a1) (a2), C. Jiang (a1), H. L. Luo (a3), H. Wang (a4), Y. J. Zhang (a1) and F. Z. Hong (a1)...

Abstract

To investigate the potential use of n-alkanes (alkanes), long-chain alcohols (alcohols) and long-chain fatty acids (acids) for estimating the diet composition of sheep, in a feeding trial. A total of 18 sheep were assigned randomly to three different diets (diet A, diet B and diet C) containing up to eight herbage species (Leymus chinensis, Leymus dasystachys, Elymus sibiricum, Chenopodium album, Puccinellia chinampoensis, Medicago sativa, Saussurea sinuata and Bromus inermis). Faecal recoveries of alkanes, alcohols and acids were determined, and diet compositions were estimated using different combinations of alkanes, alcohols and acids. The faecal concentrations of individual alkanes, alcohols and acids were corrected using the mean recovery of the dietary treatment that the respective animal belonged to (diet recovery), or the mean recovery across all dietary treatments (general recovery). In general, diets did not affect the faecal recovery values for alkanes, alcohols and acids, and no difference in accuracy was found between diet composition estimates based on dietary recovery and general recovery. The accuracy of diet composition estimates declined as the number of dietary components increased from four to eight herbage species (P < 0.001). Better (P < 0.05) estimates of diet composition were obtained with the combinations of two or three marker types instead of alkanes alone. Moreover, results showed that excluding minor diet components from the calculations decreased (P < 0.05) the accuracy of diet composition estimates, whereas including extra non-grazed herbage species did not reduce (P > 0.05) the quality of diet composition estimates. These results confirmed the usefulness of alkanes, alcohols and acids as markers for determining complex diet composition of sheep. However, a negative impact on the accuracy of diet composition estimates, caused by missing minor diet components from the calculation of diet composition, could happen when plant wax markers are used to estimate the diet composition of free-ranging animals.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Footnotes

Hide All
*

Contributed equally to this work.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Ali, HAM, Mayes, RW, Hector, BL, Verma, AK, Ørskov, ER 2005. The possible use of n-alkanes, long-chain fatty alcohols and long-chain fatty acids as markers in studies of the botanical composition of the diet of free-ranging herbivores. Journal of Agricultural Science 143, 8595.
Ali, HAM, Mayes, RW, Lamb, CS, Hector, BL, Verma, AK, Ørskov, ER 2004. The potential of long-chain fatty alcohols and long-chain fatty acids as diet composition markers: development of methods for quantitative analysis and faecal recoveries of these compounds in sheep fed mixed diets. Journal of Agricultural Science 142, 7178.
Brosh, A, Henkin, Z, Rothman, SJ, Aharoni, Y, Orlov, A, Arieli, A 2003. Effects of faecal n-alkane recovery in estimates of diet composition. Journal of Agricultural Science 140, 93100.
Bugalho, MN, Dove, H, Kelman, WM, Wood, JT, Mayes, RW 2004. Plant wax alkanes and alcohols as herbivore diet composition markers. Journal of Range Management 57, 259268.
Charmley, E, Dove, H 2007. Using plant wax markers to estimate diet compositon and intakes of mixed forages in sheep by feeding a known amount of alkane-labelled supplement. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 58, 12151225.
Dove, H, Charmley, E 2008. Using the alkanes and long-chain alcohols of plant cuticular wax to estimate diet composition and the intakes of mixed forages in sheep consuming a known amount of alkane-labelled supplement. Animal 2, 14741485.
Dove, H, Mayes, RW 1991. The use of plant wax alkanes as marker substances in studies of the nutrition of herbivores: a review. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 42, 912952.
Dove, H, Mayes, RW 1996. Plant wax components: a new approach to estimating intake and diet composition in herbivores. The Journal of Nutrition 126, 1326.
Dove, H, Mayes, RW 2005. Using n-alkanes and other plant wax components to estimate intake, digestibility and diet composition of grazing/browsing sheep and goats. Small Ruminant Research 59, 123139.
Dove, H, Moore, AD 1995. Using a least-squares optimization procedure to estimate botanical composition based on the alkanes of plant cuticular wax. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 46, 15351544.
Dove, H, Mayes, RW, Freer, M, Coombe, JB, Foot, JZ 1989. Faecal recoveries of the alkanes of plant cuticular waxes in penned and in grazing sheep. Proceedings of the 16th International Grassland Congress, Nice, France, pp. 1093–1094.
Duncan, AJ, Mayes, RW, Lamb, CS, Young, SA, Castillo, I 1999. The use of naturally occurring and artificially applied n-alkanes as markers for estimation of short-term diet composition and intake in sheep. Journal of Agricultural Science 132, 233246.
Elwert, C, Kluth, H, Rodehutscord, M 2004. Effect of variable intake of alfalfa and wheat on faecal alkane recoveries and estimates of roughage intake in sheep. Journal of Agricultural Science 142, 213223.
Elwert, C, Dove, H, Rodehutscord, M 2008. Faecal alkane recoveries from multi-component diets and effects on estimates of diet composition in sheep. Animal 2, 125134.
Ferreira, LMM, Oliván, M, Rodrigues, MAM, Garcia, U, Osoro, K 2005. Validation of the alkane technique to estimate diet selection of goats grazing heather-gorse vegetation communities. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 85, 16361646.
Ferreira, LMM, Garcia, U, Rodrigues, MAM, Celaya, R, Dias-da-Silva, A, Osoro, K 2007. The application of the n-alkane technique for estimating the composition of diets consumed by equines and cattle feeding on upland vegetation communities. Animal Feed Science and Technology 138, 4760.
Ferreira, LMM, Carvalho, S, Falco, V, Celaya, R, Garcia, U, Santos, AS, Rodrigues, MA, Osoro, K 2009a. Assessment of very long-chain fatty acids as complementary or alternative natural faecal markers to n-alkanes for estimating diet composition of goats feeding on mixed diets. Journal of Animal Science 87, 27322745.
Ferreira, LMM, Celaya, R, Garcia, U, Rodrigues, MAM, Osoro, K 2009b. Differences between domestic herbivores species in alkane faecal recoveries and the accuracy of subsequent estimates of diet composition. Animal Feed Science and Technology 151, 128142.
Hameleers, A, Mayes, RW 1998. The use of n-alkanes to estimate herbage intake and diet composition by diary cows offered a perennial ryegrass/white clover mixture. Grass and Forage Science 53, 164169.
Hendricksen, RE, Reich, MM, Roberton, RF, Reid, DJ, Gazzola, C, Rideout, JA, Hill, RA 2002. Estimating the voluntary intake and digestibility of buffel-grass and lucerne hays offered to Brahman-cross cattle using n-alkanes. Animal Science 74, 567577.
Kerbs, CJ 1989. Ecological methodology. Harper Collins, New York, NY.
Lin, LJ, Liu, GH, Zhang, YJ 2006. Study on the n-alkane patterns of five dominant forage species of the typical steppe grassland in Inner Mongolia of China. Journal of Agricultural Science (Cambridge) 144, 159164.
Lin, LJ, Luo, HL, Zhang, YJ, Shu, B 2007. The effects, in sheep, of dietary plant species and animal live weight on the faecal recovery rates of alkanes and the accuracy of intake and diet composition estimates obtained using alkanes as faecal markers. Journal of Agricultural Science (Cambridge) 145, 8794.
Lin, LJ, Luo, HL, Wang, H, Zhang, YJ, Shu, B 2009a. Evaluation of long-chain alcohols and fatty acids, in combination with alkanes, as markers in the estimation of the composition of four herbages in mixtures. Grass and Forage Science 64, 1925.
Lin, LJ, Luo, HL, Zhang, YJ, Wang, H, Shu, B, Hong, FZ 2009b. The potential use of long-chain alcohols and fatty acids as diet composition markers: factors influencing faecal recovery rates and diet composition estimates in sheep. Animal 3, 16051612.
Mayes, RW, Dove, H 2000. Measurement of dietary nutrient intake in free-ranging mammalian herbivores. Nutrition Research Reviews 13, 107138.
Mayes, RW, Lamb, CS 1984. The possible use of n-alkanes in herbage as indigestible faecal markers. Proceeding of Nutrition Society 43, 39A.
Mayes, RW, Lamb, CS, Colgrove, PM 1986. The use of dosed and herbage n-alkanes as markers for the determination of herbage intake. Journal of Agricultural Science (Cambridge) 107, 161170.
Mayes, RW, Lamb, CS, Colgrove, PM 1988. Digestion and metabolism of dosed even-chain and herbage odd-chain n-alkanes in sheep. Proceedings of the 12th General Meeting of European Grasslands Federation, pp. 159–163.
Mayes, R, Beresford, N, Lamb, C, Barnett, C, Howard, B, Jones, B, Eriksson, O, Hove, K, Pedersen, Ø, Staines, B 1994. Novel approaches to the estimation of intake and bioavailability of radiocaesium in ruminants grazing forested areas. Science of the Total Environment 157, 289300.
Ohajuruka, OA, Palmquist, DL 1991. Evaluation of n-alkanes as digesta markers in dairy-cows. Journal of Animal Science 69, 17261732.
Salt, C, Mayes, R, Colgrove, P, Lamb, C 1994. The effects of season and diet composition on the radiocaesium intake by sheep grazing on heather moorland. Journal of Applied Ecology 31, 125136.
Smith, DG, Mayes, RW, Raats, JG 2001. Effect of species, plant part, and season of harvest on n-alkane concentrations in the cuticular wax of common rangeland grasses from southern Africa. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 52, 875882.
Zhang, YJ, Togamura, Y, Otsuki, K 2004. Study on the n-alkane patterns in some grasses and factors affecting the n-alkane patterns. Journal of Agricultural Science (Cambridge) 142, 469475.

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed