News last update:6 Aug 2012

Nutrient synchrony affects nutrient use in calves

Nutrient synchrony (or the distribution of nutrients within a day) affects protein, glucose and fat metabolism and can ultimately impact on the utilization of nutrients in preruminant calves, concludes PhD student Joost van den Borne at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

The aim of this research was to quantify effects of the within-day distribution of nutrient intake (carbohydrate, fat and protein) on metabolic processes in preruminant calves. Calves were fed milk replacer diets. Protein and fat deposition was measured in climate respiration chambers and oxidation of individual nutrients was measured using stable isotopes.

Increase in feeding frequency
Increasing the feeding frequency resulted, at identical daily nutrient intakes, in an increase in protein and fat deposition. Dietary carbohydrates were, regardless of the feeding frequency and level, virtually completely oxidized and consequently not used for fatty acid synthesis in preruminant calves. Glucose excretion in urine decreased with increasing feeding frequency.

Protein and fat deposition

Separating the supply of protein and carbohydrates within a day decreased protein deposition in pigs, but not in preruminant calves.
Fat deposition, however, increased when the protein and carbohydrate were further separated in calves. Also the intramuscular fat content increased with increasing separation of these nutrients. An increase in lactose intake in a single meal resulted in an increase in plasma glucose concentrations, but simultaneously in a decrease in plasma insulin concentrations.

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