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Boeswald, L. F.; Dobenecker, B.; Clauss, M. and Kienzle, E. (2018): A comparative meta-analysis on the relationship of faecal calcium and phosphorus excretion in mammals. In: Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, Vol. 102, No. 2: pp. 370-379

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To investigate the relationship between faecal calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P) excretion in different mammalian species, a meta-analysis on digestibility data derived from the literature was conducted. Seventy-three studies on carnivores, omnivores, large and small hindgut fermenters, ruminants and hippos (a total of 21 mammalian species, precondition for inclusion dietary Ca/P ratio 1.5/1 - 3.0/1) were analysed for Ca and P digestibility. Dietary Ca/P ratios were lower than faecal Ca/P ratios in carnivores, omnivores, ruminants and hippos. In hindgut fermenters, dietary Ca/P ratios were higher than faecal Ca/P ratios, indicating higher intestinal Ca absorption in these species. In all species investigated, there was a significant positive relationship between Ca intake and faecal Ca excretion and between P intake and faecal P excretion. In the biologically relevant range, these equations predicted lower faecal Ca losses in hindgut fermenters than ruminants, for faecal P vice versa. In all species, faecal Ca and P excretion correlated significantly. In carnivores, this highly linear correlation was exceptionally strong (R-2=.92). Yet, the linearity of the correlation was questionable in omnivores and ruminants. Possibly, the strong linear correlation of faecal Ca and P excretion in carnivores is due to the formation of insoluble Ca/P complexes in their relatively short and simple gastrointestinal tract. Another hypothesis is that in carnivores, Ca homeostasis relies on modifying bone turnover to a higher degree than on changes in intestinal Ca absorption. For the formation of bone matrix, a constant ratio of Ca and P absorption is of advantage.

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