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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1990 Sep;69(3):885-91.

Measurement of the body composition of living gray seals by hydrogen isotope dilution.

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Sea Mammal Research Unit, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Cambridge, United Kingdom.


The body composition of living gray seals (Halichoerus grypus) can be accurately predicted from a two-step model that involves measurement of total body water (TBW) by 2H or 3H dilution and application of predictive relationships between body components and TBW that were derived empirically by slaughter chemical analysis. TBW was overestimated by both 2HHO and 3HHO dilution; mean overestimates were 2.8 +/- 0.9% (SE) with 2H and 4.0 +/- 0.6% with 3H. The relationships for prediction of total body fat (TBF), protein (TBP), gross energy (TBGE), and ash (TBA) were as follows: %TBF = 105.1 - 1.47 (%TBW); %TBP = 0.42 (%TBW) - 4.75; TBGE (MJ) = 40.8 (mass in kg) - 48.5 (TBW in kg) - 0.4; and TBA (kg) = 0.1 - 0.008 (mass in kg) + 0.05 (TBW in kg). These relationships are applicable to gray seals of both sexes over a wide range of age and body conditions, and they predict the body composition of gray seals more accurately than the predictive equations derived from ringed seals (Pusa hispida) (Stirling et al., Can. J. Zool. 53: 1021-1027, 1975) and from the equation of Pace and Rathbun (J. Biol. Chem. 158: 685-691, 1945), which has been reported to be generally applicable to mammals.

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