PHOSPHORUS METABOLISM AND ESTIMATION OF PHOSPHORUS REQUIREMENTS FOR SHEEP

The main objective of the present work was to determine the effects of different dietary phosphorus (P) levels on endogenous faecal loss and to estimate the minimum daily requirement of P for sheep. The study was conducted with 24 Suffolk sheep which received a basic diet consisting of hay-concentrate mixture. The treatments consisted of different amounts of bone meal, added to the basic diet, so as to obtain supplementary P levels of 0, 1, 2 and 3g/day. Twenty-one days after the introduction of the experimental diet, 7.4 MBq radioactive P (32P) was injected into the left jugular vein of each sheep and blood, faeces and urine samples were collected daily for 8 days at 24-hour intervals. The samples were analysed for inorganic P and for radioactive specific activities. Mean endogenous faecal losses of P were 19.00, 31.79, 39.35, and 38.06mg/kg live weight (LW) per day in sheep supplemented with 0, 1, 2, and 3g, respectively. A positive linear relationship was observed between endogenous faecal loss and consumed P, indicating that this loss was linked to dietary P. Total P excretion in the faeces, as well as P absorption, retention, urinary excretion and salivary secretion were also directly related to P intake, as part of the mechanism of homeostatic control of organism animal. The minimum endogenous faecal loss for zero P intake, calculated by interpolation, was 8.27mg/kg LW per day, and for zero balance, the calculated phosphorus consumption was 21.36mg/kg LW per day.

phosphorus; sheep; nutrition


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