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J Comp Physiol B. 2007 Apr;177(3):349-60. Epub 2007 Jan 9.

Gastrointestinal transport of Ca2+ and Mg2+ during the digestion of a single meal in the freshwater rainbow trout.

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Department of Biology, McMaster University, 1280 Main St. West, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8S 4K1.


A diet containing an inert marker (ballotini beads, quantified by X-radiography) was used to quantify the transport of two essential minerals, Ca(2+) and Mg(2+) from the diet during the digestion and absorption of a single meal of commercial trout food (3% ration). Initially, net uptake of Ca(2+) was observed in the stomach followed by subsequent Ca(2+) fluxes along the intestine which were variable, but for the most part secretory. This indicated a net secretion of Ca(2+) along the intestinal tract resulting in a net assimilation of dietary Ca(2+) of 28%. Similar handling of Ca(2+) and Mg(2+) was observed along the gastrointestinal tract (GI), although net assimilation differed substantially between the cations, with Mg(2+) assimilation being close to 60%, mostly a result of greater uptake by the stomach. The stomach displayed the highest net uptake rates for both cations (1.5 and 1.3 mmol kg(-1) fish body mass for Ca(2+) and Mg(2+), respectively), occurring within 2 h following ingestion of the meal. Substantial secretions of both Ca(2+) and Mg(2+) were observed in the anterior intestine, which were attributed to bile and other intestinal secretions, while fluxes in the mid and posterior intestine were small and variable. The overall patterns of Ca(2+) and Mg(2+) handling in the GI tract were similar to those observed for Na(+) and K(+) (but not Cl(-)) in a previous study. Overall, these results emphasize the importance of dietary electrolytes in ionoregulatory homeostasis.

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