Stable isotopes for determining carbon turnover in sheep feces and blood
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The objective of this work was to evaluate carbon turnover and half-life in feces and blood from sheep fed on C-3 and C-4 plant diets, using the stable isotope technique. Eight Santa Ines sheep were randomly distributed between two treatments: the first consisted of animals that were fed alfalfa hay, and the second consisted of animals that were fed corn silage only. Function of time was used to measure carbon turnover rate. At steady state, the half life for carbon isotopic enrichment between food and feces is 1.2 and 1.0 days for alfalfa hay and corn silage treatments, respectively. For blood data collection the time was insufficient to reach the isotope equilibrium level, indicating a slow carbon exchange between diet and blood. It is concluded that blood has a slow turnover, indicating the isotope signal for the former diets. Feces, by contrast, have a quick turnover, indicative of their recent diets. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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