The analysis of C-13/C-12 ratios in exhaled CO2: Its advantages and potential application to field research to infer diet, changes in diet over time, and substrate metabolism in birds

K A Hatch, B Pinshow, J R Speakman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Stable isotopes are becoming an increasingly powerful tool for studying the physiological ecology of animals. The C-13/C-12 ratios of animal tissues are frequently used to reconstruct the diet of animals. This usually requires killing the subjects. While there is an extensive medical literature on measuring the C-13/C-12 ratio of exhaled CO2 to determine substrate digestion and oxidation, we found little evidence that animal physiologists or physiological ecologists have applied C-13/C-12 breath analysis in their studies. The analysis breath C-13/C-12 ratios has the advantage of being non-invasive and non-destructive and can be repeatedly used on the same individual. Herein we briefly discuss the medical literature. We then discuss research which shows that, not only can the breath C-13/C-12 ratio indicate what an animal is currently eating, but also the animal's diet in the past, and any changes in diet have occurred over time. We show that naturally occurring C-13/C-12 ratios in exhaled CO2 provides quantitative measure of the relative contribution of carbohydrates and lipids to flight metabolism. This technique is ripe for application to field research, and we encourage physiological ecologists to add this technique'to their toolbox.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-33
Number of pages13
JournalIntegrative and Comparative Biology
Volume42
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Keywords

  • CARBON ISOTOPE FRACTIONATION
  • STABLE ISOTOPES
  • BREATH TEST
  • FOOD-WEB
  • PHYSIOLOGICAL ECOLOGY
  • TROPHIC RELATIONSHIPS
  • ENERGY-EXPENDITURE
  • C-13-BREATH TESTS
  • MIGRANT SONGBIRDS
  • WIND-TUNNEL

Cite this

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title = "The analysis of C-13/C-12 ratios in exhaled CO2: Its advantages and potential application to field research to infer diet, changes in diet over time, and substrate metabolism in birds",
abstract = "Stable isotopes are becoming an increasingly powerful tool for studying the physiological ecology of animals. The C-13/C-12 ratios of animal tissues are frequently used to reconstruct the diet of animals. This usually requires killing the subjects. While there is an extensive medical literature on measuring the C-13/C-12 ratio of exhaled CO2 to determine substrate digestion and oxidation, we found little evidence that animal physiologists or physiological ecologists have applied C-13/C-12 breath analysis in their studies. The analysis breath C-13/C-12 ratios has the advantage of being non-invasive and non-destructive and can be repeatedly used on the same individual. Herein we briefly discuss the medical literature. We then discuss research which shows that, not only can the breath C-13/C-12 ratio indicate what an animal is currently eating, but also the animal's diet in the past, and any changes in diet have occurred over time. We show that naturally occurring C-13/C-12 ratios in exhaled CO2 provides quantitative measure of the relative contribution of carbohydrates and lipids to flight metabolism. This technique is ripe for application to field research, and we encourage physiological ecologists to add this technique'to their toolbox.",
keywords = "CARBON ISOTOPE FRACTIONATION, STABLE ISOTOPES, BREATH TEST, FOOD-WEB, PHYSIOLOGICAL ECOLOGY, TROPHIC RELATIONSHIPS, ENERGY-EXPENDITURE, C-13-BREATH TESTS, MIGRANT SONGBIRDS, WIND-TUNNEL",
author = "Hatch, {K A} and B Pinshow and Speakman, {J R}",
year = "2002",
language = "English",
volume = "42",
pages = "21--33",
journal = "Integrative and Comparative Biology",
issn = "1540-7063",
publisher = "OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC",

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TY - JOUR

T1 - The analysis of C-13/C-12 ratios in exhaled CO2: Its advantages and potential application to field research to infer diet, changes in diet over time, and substrate metabolism in birds

AU - Hatch, K A

AU - Pinshow, B

AU - Speakman, J R

PY - 2002

Y1 - 2002

N2 - Stable isotopes are becoming an increasingly powerful tool for studying the physiological ecology of animals. The C-13/C-12 ratios of animal tissues are frequently used to reconstruct the diet of animals. This usually requires killing the subjects. While there is an extensive medical literature on measuring the C-13/C-12 ratio of exhaled CO2 to determine substrate digestion and oxidation, we found little evidence that animal physiologists or physiological ecologists have applied C-13/C-12 breath analysis in their studies. The analysis breath C-13/C-12 ratios has the advantage of being non-invasive and non-destructive and can be repeatedly used on the same individual. Herein we briefly discuss the medical literature. We then discuss research which shows that, not only can the breath C-13/C-12 ratio indicate what an animal is currently eating, but also the animal's diet in the past, and any changes in diet have occurred over time. We show that naturally occurring C-13/C-12 ratios in exhaled CO2 provides quantitative measure of the relative contribution of carbohydrates and lipids to flight metabolism. This technique is ripe for application to field research, and we encourage physiological ecologists to add this technique'to their toolbox.

AB - Stable isotopes are becoming an increasingly powerful tool for studying the physiological ecology of animals. The C-13/C-12 ratios of animal tissues are frequently used to reconstruct the diet of animals. This usually requires killing the subjects. While there is an extensive medical literature on measuring the C-13/C-12 ratio of exhaled CO2 to determine substrate digestion and oxidation, we found little evidence that animal physiologists or physiological ecologists have applied C-13/C-12 breath analysis in their studies. The analysis breath C-13/C-12 ratios has the advantage of being non-invasive and non-destructive and can be repeatedly used on the same individual. Herein we briefly discuss the medical literature. We then discuss research which shows that, not only can the breath C-13/C-12 ratio indicate what an animal is currently eating, but also the animal's diet in the past, and any changes in diet have occurred over time. We show that naturally occurring C-13/C-12 ratios in exhaled CO2 provides quantitative measure of the relative contribution of carbohydrates and lipids to flight metabolism. This technique is ripe for application to field research, and we encourage physiological ecologists to add this technique'to their toolbox.

KW - CARBON ISOTOPE FRACTIONATION

KW - STABLE ISOTOPES

KW - BREATH TEST

KW - FOOD-WEB

KW - PHYSIOLOGICAL ECOLOGY

KW - TROPHIC RELATIONSHIPS

KW - ENERGY-EXPENDITURE

KW - C-13-BREATH TESTS

KW - MIGRANT SONGBIRDS

KW - WIND-TUNNEL

M3 - Article

VL - 42

SP - 21

EP - 33

JO - Integrative and Comparative Biology

JF - Integrative and Comparative Biology

SN - 1540-7063

ER -