To evaluate the effect of phosphorus supplementation on 32P uptake by red blood cells in vitro as diagnosis of subclinical P deficiency, twelve calves averaging 191 kg were separated from the herd for 12 weeks. During the first 6 weeks, the animals were maintained on a pasture without phosphorus supplementation. During the next 6-week period, the animals were supplemented with a commercial mineral salt with 6.0% total P. Four ml of freshly drawn whole blood were obtained at 2-week intervals and incubated with 1.85 MBq 32P. After incubation at 38°C for a 3-hour period, the cells were separated from the plasma and washed three times with an isotonic saline solution and their radioactivity was determined through the Cerenkov effect. Effects of treatment upon the levels of P blood plasma, blood glucose and P excretion were also investigated and these parameters increased significantly with P supplementation. The average rates of 32P uptake by the erythrocytes were 7.04 ± 1.20 and 5.91 ± 1.24% (P<0,05), for treatments without and with P supplementation, respectively. The method showed to be suitable as an additional parameter to estimate the P status in ruminants.
Phosphorus nutrition; calves; phosphorus deficiency; erythrocytes; 32P uptake