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The relationship between feed efficiency and the circadian profile of blood plasma analytes measured in beef heifers at different physiological stages

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 June 2014

C. V. Gonano*
Affiliation:
Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East – Building 70, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1
Y. R. Montanholi
Affiliation:
Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East – Building 70, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1 Department of Plant and Animal Sciences, Dalhousie University, Truro, Canada B2N 5E3
F. S. Schenkel
Affiliation:
Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East – Building 70, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1
B. A. Smith
Affiliation:
Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East – Building 70, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1 Kenpal Farm Products Inc., Centralia, Canada N0M 1K0
J. P. Cant
Affiliation:
Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East – Building 70, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1
S. P. Miller*
Affiliation:
Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East – Building 70, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1 Invermay Agricultural Centre, AgResearch Limited, Mosgiel, New Zealand 9053
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Abstract

The characterization of blood metabolite concentrations over the circadian period and across physiological stages is important for understanding the biological basis of feed efficiency, and may culminate in indirect methods for assessing feed efficiency. Hematological analyses for albumin, urea, creatine kinase, glutamate dehydrogenase, aspartate aminotransferase, carbon dioxide, and acetate were carried out in growing and gestating heifers. These measures were carried out in a sample of 36 Bos taurus crossed beef heifers held under the same husbandry conditions. Hourly blood samples were collected over a 24-h period on three separate sampling occasions, corresponding approximately to the yearling (and open), early-gestation and late-gestation stages. This design was used to determine variation throughout the day, effects due to physiological status and any associations with feed efficiency, as measured by residual feed intake. Blood analyte levels varied with time of day, with the most variation occurring between 0800 and 1600 h. There were also considerable differences in analyte levels across the three physiological stages; for example, creatine kinase was higher (P<0.05) in open heifers, followed by early- and late-gestation heifers. Feed efficiency was also associated with analyte abundance. In more feed-efficient open heifers, there were higher activities of creatine kinase (P<0.05) and aspartate aminotransferase (P<0.05), and lower concentrations of carbon dioxide (P<0.05). Furthermore, in late gestation, more efficient heifers had lower urea concentrations (P<0.05) and lower creatine kinase levels (P<0.05). Over the whole experimental period, carbon dioxide concentrations were numerically lower in more feed efficient heifers (P=0.079). Differences were also observed across physiological stages. For instance, open heifers had increased levels (P<0.05) of creatine kinase, aspartate aminotransferase, carbon dioxide than early and late pregnancy heifers. In essence, this study revealed relevant information about the metabolic profile in the context of feed efficiency and physiological stages. Further optimization of our approach, along with the evaluation of complementary analytes, will aid in the development of robust, indirect assessments of feed efficiency.

Type
Research Article
Information
animal , Volume 8 , Issue 10 , October 2014 , pp. 1684 - 1698
Copyright
© The Animal Consortium 2014 

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