Fibre utilization by Kalahari dwelling subterranean Damara mole-rats (Cryptomys damarensis) when fed their natural diet of gemsbok cucumber tubers (Acanthosicyos naudinianus)

Rochelle Buffenstein, Shiomo Yahav

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Kalahari dwelling Damara mole-rats (Cryptomys damarensis) naturally feed on a high fibre diet of underground gemsbok cucumber tubers, Acanthosicyos naudinianus. We investigated the degree of fibre utilization and fermentation on this diet by measuring caecal characteristics (namely temperature, pH and weight) and in vitro rates of gas and short chain fatty acid (SCFA) production in these underground dwelling hind-gut fermentors. Rectal temperatures (33.8±0.6°C) were consistently higher than caecal temperatures (33.3 ± 0.6°C). Furthermore, a 0.8°C gradient of temperatures existed within the caecum, with the lowest temperature occurring in the corpus caeci. Both rates of gas production (4.74 ± 0.6 ml/g dry matter/hr) and SCFA production (266.80 ± 9.251 /i mol/caecum per hr) were high, with proportionately more acetic acid produced than any other SCFA. Nevertheless, the initial concentrations of SCFAs present in the caecum were low (52 ±17 mM) implying a rapid rate of absorption of these SCFAs. The high rates of fermentation provide a considerable amount of energy that would otherwise be trapped in fibre and thus unavailable to the animal. This highly efficient caecal fermentation enables the Damara mole-rat to maximally exploit the underground food resources in the arid-zone ecotope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)431-436
Number of pages6
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A
Volume109
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1994
Externally publishedYes

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Mole Rats
Botswana
Cucumis sativus
Nutrition
Rats
Volatile Fatty Acids
Diet
Temperature
Fibers
Fermentation
Gases
Bioreactors
Acetic Acid
Animals
Weights and Measures
Food

Keywords

  • Bathyergidae
  • Caecal fermentation
  • Caecal temperature
  • Cryptomys damarensis
  • Fibre fermentation
  • Higher fibre
  • Mole-rats
  • Short chain fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry

Cite this

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title = "Fibre utilization by Kalahari dwelling subterranean Damara mole-rats (Cryptomys damarensis) when fed their natural diet of gemsbok cucumber tubers (Acanthosicyos naudinianus)",
abstract = "Kalahari dwelling Damara mole-rats (Cryptomys damarensis) naturally feed on a high fibre diet of underground gemsbok cucumber tubers, Acanthosicyos naudinianus. We investigated the degree of fibre utilization and fermentation on this diet by measuring caecal characteristics (namely temperature, pH and weight) and in vitro rates of gas and short chain fatty acid (SCFA) production in these underground dwelling hind-gut fermentors. Rectal temperatures (33.8±0.6°C) were consistently higher than caecal temperatures (33.3 ± 0.6°C). Furthermore, a 0.8°C gradient of temperatures existed within the caecum, with the lowest temperature occurring in the corpus caeci. Both rates of gas production (4.74 ± 0.6 ml/g dry matter/hr) and SCFA production (266.80 ± 9.251 /i mol/caecum per hr) were high, with proportionately more acetic acid produced than any other SCFA. Nevertheless, the initial concentrations of SCFAs present in the caecum were low (52 ±17 mM) implying a rapid rate of absorption of these SCFAs. The high rates of fermentation provide a considerable amount of energy that would otherwise be trapped in fibre and thus unavailable to the animal. This highly efficient caecal fermentation enables the Damara mole-rat to maximally exploit the underground food resources in the arid-zone ecotope.",
keywords = "Bathyergidae, Caecal fermentation, Caecal temperature, Cryptomys damarensis, Fibre fermentation, Higher fibre, Mole-rats, Short chain fatty acids",
author = "Rochelle Buffenstein and Shiomo Yahav",
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T1 - Fibre utilization by Kalahari dwelling subterranean Damara mole-rats (Cryptomys damarensis) when fed their natural diet of gemsbok cucumber tubers (Acanthosicyos naudinianus)

AU - Buffenstein, Rochelle

AU - Yahav, Shiomo

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N2 - Kalahari dwelling Damara mole-rats (Cryptomys damarensis) naturally feed on a high fibre diet of underground gemsbok cucumber tubers, Acanthosicyos naudinianus. We investigated the degree of fibre utilization and fermentation on this diet by measuring caecal characteristics (namely temperature, pH and weight) and in vitro rates of gas and short chain fatty acid (SCFA) production in these underground dwelling hind-gut fermentors. Rectal temperatures (33.8±0.6°C) were consistently higher than caecal temperatures (33.3 ± 0.6°C). Furthermore, a 0.8°C gradient of temperatures existed within the caecum, with the lowest temperature occurring in the corpus caeci. Both rates of gas production (4.74 ± 0.6 ml/g dry matter/hr) and SCFA production (266.80 ± 9.251 /i mol/caecum per hr) were high, with proportionately more acetic acid produced than any other SCFA. Nevertheless, the initial concentrations of SCFAs present in the caecum were low (52 ±17 mM) implying a rapid rate of absorption of these SCFAs. The high rates of fermentation provide a considerable amount of energy that would otherwise be trapped in fibre and thus unavailable to the animal. This highly efficient caecal fermentation enables the Damara mole-rat to maximally exploit the underground food resources in the arid-zone ecotope.

AB - Kalahari dwelling Damara mole-rats (Cryptomys damarensis) naturally feed on a high fibre diet of underground gemsbok cucumber tubers, Acanthosicyos naudinianus. We investigated the degree of fibre utilization and fermentation on this diet by measuring caecal characteristics (namely temperature, pH and weight) and in vitro rates of gas and short chain fatty acid (SCFA) production in these underground dwelling hind-gut fermentors. Rectal temperatures (33.8±0.6°C) were consistently higher than caecal temperatures (33.3 ± 0.6°C). Furthermore, a 0.8°C gradient of temperatures existed within the caecum, with the lowest temperature occurring in the corpus caeci. Both rates of gas production (4.74 ± 0.6 ml/g dry matter/hr) and SCFA production (266.80 ± 9.251 /i mol/caecum per hr) were high, with proportionately more acetic acid produced than any other SCFA. Nevertheless, the initial concentrations of SCFAs present in the caecum were low (52 ±17 mM) implying a rapid rate of absorption of these SCFAs. The high rates of fermentation provide a considerable amount of energy that would otherwise be trapped in fibre and thus unavailable to the animal. This highly efficient caecal fermentation enables the Damara mole-rat to maximally exploit the underground food resources in the arid-zone ecotope.

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