1. Four Ayrshire bull calves between 8 and 34 days of age and fitted with duodenal and ileal re-entrant cannulas were used to study the effect of heat treatment of the milk they received on the pH and nitrogen composition of the pyloric outflow and ileal contents.
2. Milk A contained a spray-dried skim-milk powder pre-heated during the drying process at 74° for 30 min and milk B a similar powder pre-heated at 77° for 15 sec. In milk A about 50% of the non-casein protein N had been denatured.
3. Milk B resulted in a lower pH than milk A in the pyloric outflow throughout the sampling period of 6.5 h after feeding. It resulted also in an increased volume of outflow during the 1st h after feeding, a reduced output of undigested protein, an increased output of non-protein nitrogen (NPN) and a different pattern of flow of NPN during the first 4 h after feeding.
4. These differences between milk A and milk B were associated largely with different clotting characteristics, which were demonstrated in vitro at two levels of addition of rennet with or without the addition of calcium. The buffering capacity of the two milks was similar.
5. Variation between calves in their response to these two milks was attributed to the age of the calves and to differences in inherent clotting or proteolytic activity.
6. In the ileal outflow, bacterial activity, as measured by dehydrogenase activity, was positively related to N concentration, but the N concentration when milk A was given did not appear to differ from that when milk B was given.
7. One calf had diarrhoea when given milk A at a young age. This was associated with an increased pyloric outflow, an increased outflow of undigested protein but little difference in the rate of proteolysis, and a high pH. In the ileal outflow the volume and amount of N was much increased although the N concentration was reduced.
8. It is concluded that the detrimental effect of milk A, found in earlier experiments, was largely associated with high pH and poor digestibility of protein in the abomasum, conditions which allow multiplication of coliform organisms in the intestine.