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Recovery of intravenously infused chromium EDTA and lithium sulphate in the urine of cattle and their use as markers to measure urine volume

  • M. K. Bowen (a1) (a2), D. P. Poppi (a1) and S. R. McLennan (a2)


A series of metabolism experiments investigated the recovery of continuous-, intravenously infused chromium complexed with ethylenediamine tetra-acetic acid (CrEDTA) and lithium sulphate in the urine of cattle with a view to using the markers to estimate urine and metabolite output in grazing cattle. The recovery of Cr in urine from these infusions was similar (90%) in metabolism trials when cattle consumed three very contrasting diets: high-grain formulated pellet, lucerne hay (Medicago sativa) or low-quality native grass hay (predominantly Heteropogon contortus). By contrast, Li recovery in urine averaged 46.3 ± 0.40% and 72.6 ± 0.43% for native pasture and lucerne hays, respectively, but was not constant across days. There was negligible transfer of Cr from CrEDTA in blood serum to the rumen or faeces, whereas appreciable quantities of infused Li were found in both. The ratio of urine volume estimated by spot samples and marker dilution of Cr, to urine volume measured gravimetrically, was 1.05. In grazing studies using rumen-fistulated (RF) steers grazing seven different tropical and temperate grass and legume pastures, the ratio of concentrations of purine derivatives (PD) to Cr in spot samples of urine was shown to vary diurnally in the range of 49% to 157% of the average 24 h value. This finding indicated the need for regular sampling of urine to achieve an accurate average value for the PD : Cr ratio in urine for use in estimating urinary PD excretion and hence microbial protein production in the rumen. It was concluded that continuous, intravenous infusion of CrEDTA resulted in a constant recovery of Cr in the urine of cattle across diets and, provided an intensive sampling regime was followed to account for diurnal variation, it would be suitable as a marker to estimate urine volume and urinary output of PD in grazing cattle.


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