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The influence of phenol-rich dietary grapeseed extract on performance, energy and N balance and methane production was determined in sixteen lambs and thirteen goat kids (body weight 20·5 and 19·0 kg, 2 months of age, day 1 of study). Half of the animals received a concentrate containing grapeseed extract, and the others received concentrate without grapeseed extract (total extractable phenols analysed 27 v. 9 g/kg dietary DM; concentrate and hay 1:1). Diets were fed for 7 weeks with 1 week for determining intake, excretion and gaseous exchange in metabolism crates and respiration chambers. Overall, there was an adverse effect of the phenolic diet on apparent N digestibility and body N retention. Faecal N loss as proportion of N intake increased while urinary N loss declined. Relative to N intake, total N excretion was higher and body N retention lower in goat kids than lambs. Diets and animal species had no effect on methane emissions. The saliva of the goat kids had a higher binding capacity for condensed tannins (CT). Goat kids on the phenolic diet had higher CT concentrations in faeces and excreted more CT compared with the lambs (interaction species × diet P < 0·001). The lambs had overall higher (P < 0·001) urinary phenol concentrations than the goat kids (2·19 v. 1·48 g/l). The negative effect on body N retention and lack of effect on methane emissions make the use of the extract in the dosage applied not appealing. Species differences need to be considered in future studies.
Enteric methane (CH4) production is a side-effect of herbivore digestion, but it is unknown whether CH4 itself influences digestive physiology. We investigated the effect of adding CH4 to, or reducing it in, the reticulorumen (RR) in a 4×4 Latin square experiment with rumen-fistulated, non-lactating cows, with four treatments: (i) control, (ii) insufflation of CH4 (iCH4), (iii) N via rumen fistula, (iv) reduction of CH4 via administration of bromochloromethane (BCM). DM intake (DMI), apparent total tract digestibility, digesta mean retention times (MRT), rumen motility and chewing activity, spot breath CH4 emission (CH4exhal, litre/kg DMI) as well as CH4 dissolved in rumen fluid (CH4RRf, µg/ml) were measured. Data were analysed using mixed models, including treatment (or, alternatively, CH4exhal or CH4RRf) and DMI relative to body mass0·85 (rDMI) as covariates. rDMI was the lowest on the BCM treatment. CH4exhal was highest for iCH4 and lowest for BCM treatments, whereas only BCM affected (reduced) CH4RRf. After adjusting for rDMI, CH4RRf had a negative association with MRT in the gastrointestinal tract but not in the RR, and negative associations with fibre digestibility and measures of rumination activity. Adjusting for rDMI, CH4exhal had additionally a negative association with particle MRT in the RR and a positive association with rumen motility. Thus, higher rumen levels of CH4 (CH4exhal or CH4RRf) were associated with shorter MRT and increased motility. These findings are tentatively interpreted as a feedback mechanism in the ruminant digestive tract that aims at mitigating CH4 losses by shortening MRT at higher CH4.
The factors that influence food choice have implications for animal survival, reproduction and population growth. We conducted a 1-y study of food choice by four mountain gorilla groups that consumed herbs and fruit at two locations differing spatially and temporally in food availability in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. We collected data on 45 important foods consumed by the gorillas, the availability of those foods in each gorilla group's home range and their corresponding nutrient and phenolic concentrations. Employing a linear multiple regression, we tested three hypotheses regarding the influence of food availability and the nutritional and phenolic concentrations of food on food choice. Regardless of changes in herb availability, the choice of herbs was positively influenced by their abundance and sugar concentrations and negatively influenced by their fibre, condensed tannin and protein concentrations. Furthermore, regardless of changes in fruit availability, the choice of fruit was positively influenced by its abundance and negatively influenced by its condensed tannin concentrations. During periods of low fruit availability, the gorillas did not increase the consumption of herbs high in fibre and sugar. The choice of herbs low in fibre had less of an influence on food choice at the location with lower fruit availability than the other location. Our results underscore the importance of incorporating both availability and nutrient concentrations into studies of food choice; by doing so we found Bwindi gorillas were able to choose abundant, relatively high-quality foods year round.
Early postnatal overnutrition (PNO) induced by restricting litter size in rats leads to increased body-weight (BW) and body-fat gain in later life. PNO rats are used as an animal model of moderate obesity and early hyperinsulinism. We investigated whether the increased adiposity could be due to a decreased energy expenditure. Male newborn Wistar rats were raised in litters of either two (SL) or twelve pups (NL), weaned at 4 weeks of age and subsequently fed ad libitum. BW was recorded continuously until 12 weeks of age. Daily energy intake, total daily energy expenditure (EE, measured by indirect calorimetry) and body composition were measured in weaned pups at 5, 8 and 12 weeks of age. SL rats displayed increased BW compared with NL rats from week 2 to 5 and again from week 10 to 12. Lean body mass, body fat and protein content and total EE were increased in SL rats at week 5. The same linear correlation described the relationship between BW and total EE in NL and SL rats. At week 8 to 12 no differences in energy metabolism could be found, but the total fat content was increased in SL rats at week 12. Energy balance, i.e. assimilated energy minus EE, was no different between SL and NL at any time that it was measured. We conclude that although PNO rats display increased adiposity in early life, there seem to be no long-lasting effects on energy metabolism in later life, even if a tendency to increased adiposity can still be detected.
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