R. Bras. Zootec.. 01/Jul/2017;46(7):621-9.

Use of dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry in non-ruminant nutrition research

Candido Pomar, Marcos Kipper, Marcel Marcoux

DOI: 10.1590/S1806-92902017000700010


Precise body composition measurements are essential in animal nutrition studies because the impact of treatments is evaluated based on changes in body weight and composition. Various indirect techniques for animal compositional evaluation have been developed and evaluated for applicability in animal nutrition studies. A fast, accurate, minimally invasive method that requires little input is considered the ideal for providing information about the animal. Measurements obtained by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) are highly correlated with those obtained by chemical analysis and dissection. The algorithms of DXA software partition the six chemical components of the body (lipids, water, proteins, carbohydrates, non-bone mineral, and bone mineral) into three compartments (total body mineral content, fat mass, and lean mass). Questions have been raised about how this partitioning affects the precision of the DXA method. In addition, the relationship between the DXA measurements and dissected carcass tissues is nonrepresentational of the relationship between DXA and chemical analysis. Furthermore, since DXA devices and their software were developed primarily for human medicine, they may not be fully adequate for animal evaluation. Calibration is required to obtain true values. The DXA method has some advantages and disadvantages that should be identified and controlled before calibration. Nonetheless, DXA is a valuable tool that provides precise, repeatable body composition measurements of live monogastric animals and their carcasses.

Use of dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry in non-ruminant nutrition research