Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Vive the vole!

03.04.2008
Portable and accurate body composition measurements mean a longer life for rodents used in field and laboratory research

The gathering of data for research involving an animal usually involves invasive procedures or death for the experimental animals. But critical data may now be collected through a nonlethal procedure, according to a new paper for the forthcoming issue of Physiological and Biochemical Zoology.

In the paper “Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorbtiometry (DXA) Can Accurately and Non-Destructively Measure the Body Composition of Small, Free-Living Rodents,” Kalb Stevenson and Dr. Ian G. van Tets reveal that they have discovered that they can take a wide range of measurements accurately with a portable DXA device. These body composition measurements in small rodents—water, protein, minerals, lean, and fat—are critical for dietary and environmental research. Previous measurements taken in the field, though not lethal, relied on length and body mass calculations, which are often inaccurate; methods used on laboratory animals are often lethal, precluding longitudinal research.

Differing methods used in fieldwork and in the laboratory limited scientific collaboration. Legal and/or ethical barriers against invasive research on endangered species further hampered crucial studies. “We needed a way to accurately and consistently measure the body condition of small mammals recaptured at different times of the year and could not do so using traditional means” said Dr. van Tets “so we decided to test whether DXA analysis could solve this problem”.

In their NSF-funded study of the northern redbacked vole (Clethrionomys rutilus), Stevenson and van Tets took a broad set of measurements accurately by employing DXA, using X-rays and mathematical formulas to noninvasively measure body content. Even transponder tags used to track the rodents in the wild did not interfere with their measurement of fat mass, lean mass, bone mineral content, bone mineral density, and fat-free mass.

“DXA worked better than we expected” Stevenson said “The measurements were consistent with those obtained via chemical (proximate) analysis and required nothing more than the machine itself, a laptop, and a power source. As subjects are not harmed, we can use this technology to track changes in individual animals over time and already have DXA-based projects underway studying the effects of season and/or hibernation on the body composition of animals as diverse as voles, ground squirrels, and black bears.”

Portable DXA devices provide the opportunity for quick measurements in the field and the ability to take measurements over time, allowing researchers to account for environmental factors. And, finally, field researchers and laboratory researchers will be able to collaborate using comparable data, allowing an increased degree of scientific rigor in comparative physiological studies.

Rudy Faust | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uchicago.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ultrathin device harvests electricity from human motion

24.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials

24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

ADIR Project: Lasers Recover Valuable Materials

24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>