1. Blood from chronic indwelling catheters in the caudal aorta and anterior mesenteric, gastrosplenic and hepatic portal veins was used to measure blood flow and net flux of oxygen, glucose and nitrogenous compounds across hepatic portal-drained viscera (PDV), post-stomach (anterior mesenteric-drained viscera (MDV)) and stomach tissues of two beef steers (390 kg mean live weight).
2. Steers were fed in sequence on (1) chopped lucerne (Medicago sativa) hay (twelve meals/d), (2) chopped lucerne hay (two meals/d) and (3) a pelleted concentrate diet containing 780 g ground maize/kg (two meals/d). The lucerne hay and concentrate contained 26.5 and 16.8 g nitrogen/kg respectively.
3. Five measurements of net flux (blood flow multiplied by venous-arterial concentration differences (VA)) were obtained hourly on 2 d for each dietary regimen, beginning 0.5 h before feeding at 08.00 hours. Blood flow was measured by downstream dilution of p-aminohippurate (PAH).
4. Blood flow across MDV averaged 42% of PDV blood flow (665 litres/h).
5. Net use of O2 across MDV accounted for 51 % of net PDV use of O2 (920 mmol/h). This disproportionate use of O2 in relation to blood flow was due to greater VA for O2 across MDV than across stomach tissues. Dietary regimen had no effect on the proportions of PDV blood flow and net O2 consumption attributable to MDV or stomach tissues.
6. When lucerne was given, net glucose use across MDV represented 69% of PDV use (35 mmol/h). When concentrate was given, MDV glucose use switched to net absorption (29 mmol/h), reducing net PDV glucose use to I mmol/h.
7. When concentrate was given, net MDV absorption of α-amino-N (AAN) increased from 98 to 190 mmol/h, yet net PDV absorption (101 mmol/h) was not affected. Net stomach AAN flux increased from -7 to -69 mmol/h when concentrate was given, negating the increase in net MDV absorption.
8. Net absorption of ammonia-N across MDV represented 28 and 52% of net PDV absorption when lucerne and concentrate were given respectively. Net NH3-N absorption across PDV was lower when lucerne was given than when concentrate was given (295 v. 154 mmol/h), reflecting lower dietary N intake (153 v. 83 g/d). Net MDV absorption of NH3-N was not affected by diet. Net removal of blood urea-N (BUN) across PDV (101 mmol/h) was not affected by diet. Across MDV, BUN removal was lower when concentrate was given than when lucerne was given (32 v. 77 mmol/h). In beef steers, MDV tissues account for substantial portions of net flux of non-protein-N across PDV and are responsible for essentially all PDV absorption of AAN.