Effect of intake on fasting heat production, respiratory quotient and plasma metabolites measured using the washed rumen technique

D. H. Kim, K. R. McLeod, A. F. Koontz, A. P. Foote, J. L. Klotz, D. L. Harmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The objective was to investigate the effect of intake before fasting on concentrations of metabolites and hormones, respiratory quotient (RQ) and fasting heat production (HP) using the washed rumen technique and to compare these values with those from the fed state. Six Holstein steers (360±22 kg) were maintained at 21°C and fed three different energy intakes within a replicated 3×3 Latin square design with 21-day periods. Steers were fed alfalfa cubes to provide 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0×NEm during 19 days of each experimental period. Steers were placed in individual metabolism stalls fitted with indirect calorimetry head-boxes on day 20 of each experimental period (FED steers) and fed their normal meal. On day 21 of each period the reticulorumen was emptied, washed and refilled with ruminal buffer (NaCl=96; NaHCO3=24; KHCO3=30; K2HPO4=2; CaCl2=1.5; MgCl2=1.5 mmol/kg of buffer) aerated with 75% N2 and 25% CO2 before introduction to the rumen (steers were not fed; WASHED steers). Each gas exchange was measured over 24 h. HP for 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0×NEm were 479, 597 and 714 kJ/daykg0.75 (s.e.m. =16), respectively. The plateau RQ was 0.756, 0.824 and 0.860 for the 1.0, 1.5 and 2.0×NEm intakes for the FED steers, respectively. After rumen washing, fasting HP was 331, 359 and 400 kJ/daykg0.75 (s.e.m.=13) for 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0×NEm intakes before fasting, respectively. The RQ for WASHED rumen steers was 0.717, 0.710 and 0.719, respectively. Cortisol and β-hydroxybutyrate concentrations in WASHED rumen steers did not exceed threshold levels for severe energy deficit and stress as can be induced from prolonged fasting. This study demonstrates that a fasting state can be emulated using the washed rumen technique, minimizing the time required as opposed to traditional fasting methodologies, without causing a severe energy deficit and stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-66
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 30 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 The Animal Consortium.


  • fasting heat production
  • intake
  • respiratory quotient
  • ruminant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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