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Biochem J. 1965 Oct;97(1):53-8.

Interconversions and production of volatile fatty acids in the sheep rumen.

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  • 1Rowett Research Institute, Bucksburn, Aberdeen.


1. Sheep fed at a constant rate were infused intraruminally with [1-(14)C]-acetate, -propionate or -butyrate during 5hr. periods. 2. Volatile fatty acids were estimated in the rumen contents and steady-state conditions were obtained. 3. Of the butyric acid carbon 60% was in equilibrium with 20% of the acetic acid carbon, and 2-3g.atoms of carbon were interconverted/day. 4. Little interconversion took place between propionic acid, acetic acid or butyric acid. 5. The net production rates for acetic acid, propionic acid and butyric acid were 3.7, 1.0 and 0.7moles/day respectively. 6. The production of volatile fatty acids accounted for 80% of the animal's energy expenditure.

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