Indirect calorimetry test

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Knowledge in the field of animal energetics is largely based upon indirect calorimetry, which is estimation of metabolic heat production by the organism from measurement of indices such as oxygen consumption or carbon dioxide production.

For the purpose of most energy-expenditure studies, indirect calorimetry consists of measuring the volume of expired air per unit of time and determining the percentage of oxygen utilized. This data are then used for estimating the metabolic rate (energy expenditure) and respiratory exchange ratio (relative measurement of fat, carbohydrate and protein oxidation). Indirect calorimetry studies are generally accomplished by utilizing sophisticated systems whereby the amount of oxygen consumed and carbon dioxide produced by an animal is precisely measured over a period of time. Theses systems consists of cages (chambers), air pumps, air flow controllers, valves, and gas analyzers and are controlled by potent software for the acquisition, storage and analysis of the data. Indirect calorimetry can be evaluated together with food & drink intake and activity in metabolism studies.

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Reasons for choosing this test

  • Studies energy intake and expenditure in small laboratory animals
  • Noninvasive technique
  • Entirely automated procedure

Reasons for not choosing this test

  • The method my itself is tricky.
  • Expertise is needed for correct use
  • Indirect evaluation
  • Needs sophisticated equipment
  • May be influenced by temperature, humidity, ambient air changes (controlled environment recommended)
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