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The regulation of glycogen level in the muscle of ruminants by nutrition

Pethick, D.W.ORCID: 0000-0002-3255-7677, Cummins, L., Gardner, G.E.ORCID: 0000-0001-7499-9986, Jacob, R.H., Knee, B.W., McDowell, M., McIntyre, B.L., Tudor, G., Walker, P.J. and Warner, W.D. (2000) The regulation of glycogen level in the muscle of ruminants by nutrition. In: Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 60, pp 94-98, Auckland, New Zealand

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This paper discusses recent work by the authors which has investigated the nutritional regulation of glycogen concentration in skeletal muscle of sheep and cattle. Several experiments are summarized which show a clear relationship between the level of glycogen in muscle and the intake of metabolisable energy. This translates into strong seasonal effects on the level of muscle glycogen in pasture fed cattle that correlate with liveweight change. The clear message is that animals destined for slaughter should be on a high plane of nutrition as this will contribute to an increased level of muscle glycogen at slaughter and so help alleviate the problem of dark cutting meat. Acute regulation of glycogen is more problematical since the rate of glycogen repletion in skeletal muscle is relatively slow and the scope for rapid dietary change in ruminants is constrained by the need to allow rumen adaptation to high starch/sugar diets. However the sudden introduction of a high energy diet (based on cereal grain) in the presence of a 'rumen modifier' to reduce rumen acidosis can increase muscle glycogen concentration within 1 week of feeding. The ability to further modify glycogen level in skeletal muscle using carbohydrate and electrolyte products is discussed. In particular the possibility of using oral glycerol/propylene glycol as a means for increasing blood glucose and so glycogen synthesis is proposed. Experiments to examine the effectiveness of MgO as a means for reducing the stress response are also discussed.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
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