Biochemical adaptation of camelids during periods where feed is withheld

TitleBiochemical adaptation of camelids during periods where feed is withheld
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsWensvoort, J, Kyle DJ, Orskov ER, Bourke DA
Keywords3-Hydroxybutyric Acid, Animal Science: Animal Nutrition (General): Animal Nutrition (Physiology) [LL510], Animals, Artiodactyla, blood chemistry, blood sugar, Bos, Bovidae, Camelidae, Camels, Camelus, Cattle, Chordata, dromedaries, Fatty Acids, gluconeogenesis, Ketosis, Lama, lipolysis, llamas, mammals, Ovis, restricted feeding, Ruminants, Sheep, species differences, steers, Tylopoda, ungulates, vertebrates

Biochemical changes during fasting or the withholding of feed for 5 days were studied in serum of camelids (dromedary camel, n=3; and llama, n=1) and ruminants (sheep, n=3 and steers, n=3). Camels maintained low levels of beta -hydroxybutyrate (BHB) and high levels of glucose, but showed some increased levels of non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) and urea when fasting. Sheep and steers showed a rise in serum BHB and much higher increases of NEFA than camels and llamas. Sheep showed decreased serum glucose. The llama showed some increase in BHB but NEFA was lower than the other three species. The results indicate that camelids have a unique ability to control lipolytic and gluconeogenic activity to prevent or postpone the state of ketosis. Understanding and manipulation of these metabolic mechanisms in cattle and sheep could have great benefit to the livestock industry