Deuterium oxide dilution can be used to determine the net energy content of feeds for dairy cattle and goats


This article explores a technique for measuring the energy (NEL) value of feeds without respiration calorimetry or slaughter. The objectives were to compare results obtained from goats with those from cows, and to describe factors which limited the precision of these NEL estimates. One lactating Alpine doe and one lactateing Holstein cow were assigned to each of six different sequences of three 56-d feeding treatments consisting of low, medium, and high doses of the basal diet, rice bran, or hominy feed. This resulted in 30 observations of the basal diet and 12 of each byproduct feed for each species and utilized a total of 18 cows and 18 does. The NEL values of the basal diet, rice bran, and hominy feed were calculated as the sum of milk energy, change in body energy, and estimated fasting heat production per kilogram of feed dry matter. Milk energy was determined by bomb calorimetry and body energy from live body weight and deuterium oxide space. The NEL (MJ/kg) determined in this manner were basal diet, 5.73 and 5.98; rice bran, 7.11 and 7.07; and hominy feed, 6.99 and 8.20 for cows and goats, respectively.

Share and Cite:

Brown, D. (2013) Deuterium oxide dilution can be used to determine the net energy content of feeds for dairy cattle and goats. Open Journal of Animal Sciences, 3, 219-224. doi: 10.4236/ojas.2013.33032.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Brown, D.L., De Peters, E.J., Taylor, S.J. and Baldwin, R.L. (1989) The influence of sometribove, USAN (recombinant methionyl bovine somatotropin) on the body composition of lactating cattle. Journal of Nutrition, 119, 633.
[2] Brown, D.L. and Taylor, S.J. (1986) Deuterium oxide dilution kinetics to predict body composition in dairy goats. Journal of Dairy Science, 69, 1151. doi:10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(86)80515-X
[3] Byers, F.M. (1979) Extraction and measurement of deuterium oxide at tracer levels in biological fluids. Analytical Biochemistry, 98, 208. doi:10.1016/0003-2697(79)90728-0
[4] Thonney, M.L., Touchberry, R.W., Goodrich, R.D. and Meiske, J.C. (1976) Intraspecies relationship between fasting heat production and body weight: A reevaluation of W75. Journal of Animal Science, 43, 692-704.
[5] Flatt, W.P. and Coppock, C.E. (1963) The fasting metabolism of dry, non-pregnant adult dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science, 46, 638.
[6] Brody, S. (1945) Bioenergetics and growth. Reinhold Publ. Co., New York.
[7] Association of Official Analytical Chemists (1984) Official methods of analysis. 14th Edition, AOAC, Washington, DC.
[8] Goering, H.K. and Van Soest, P.J. (1975) Forage fiber analyses. (Apparatus, Reagents, Procedures and Some Applications) Agriculture Handbook No. 379. ARSUSDA, Washington, DC.
[9] Snedecor, G.W. and Cochran, W.G. (1980) Statistical methods. Iowa State College Press, Ames.
[10] National Research Council (1989) Nutrient requirements of dairy cattle. 6th Edition, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC.
[11] Ferrell, C.L. and Jenkins, T.G. (1984) A note on energy requirements for maintenance of lean and fat Angus, Hereford and Simmental cows. Animal Production, 39, 305. doi:10.1017/S0003356100041957
[12] Russel, A.J.F. and Wright, I.A. (1983) Factors affecting maintenance requirements of beef cows. Animal Production, 37, 329. doi:10.1017/S0003356100001938
[13] Tess, M.W., Dickerson, G.E. Nienaber, J.A. and Ferrell, C.L. (1984) The effects of body composition on fasting heat production in pigs. Journal of Animal Science, 58, 99.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.