Energy and protein requirements for Nellore steers estimated with the deuterium oxide marker


  • G. Aferri Instituto Agronômico IAC, Unidade de Pesquisa de Jaú, APTA, Jaú, SP, Brazil
  • R. R. S. Corte Universidade de São Paulo - USP, Faculdade Zootecnia e Engenharia de Alimentos, Pirassununga, SP, Brazil
  • A. S. C. Pereira Universidade de São Paulo - USP, Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia, Pirassununga, SP, Brazil
  • S. L. Silva Universidade de São Paulo - USP, Faculdade Zootecnia e Engenharia de Alimentos, Pirassununga, SP, Brazil
  • M. Z. Moreira Universidade de São Paulo - USP, Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil
  • P. R. Leme Universidade de São Paulo - USP, Faculdade Zootecnia e Engenharia de Alimentos, Pirassununga, SP, Brazil



beef cattle, deuterium oxide, nutritional requirement, ruminant


The aim of this study was determine the energy and protein requirements for maintenance and gain of Nellore steers. Thirty six Nellore steers with a average weight and age of 359±13 kg and 20 months at the beginning of the trial were individually fed for 56. The steers were fed the same diet (76.43% TDN and 13.62% CP) in three levels of dry matter (DM) intake, ad libitum, 75 g DM/kg BW0.75 and 60 g DM/kg BW0.75. The initial and final body composition was estimated with the marker deuterium oxide that allowed repeated water estimate in the same animal. Deuterium in blood samples was analyzed by mass spectrometry. The effects of intake levels, comparison of intercept and slope among feeding level, and equations were evaluated by the analysis of variance, adopting P<0.05 as a significant level. The net energy for maintenance was 75 kcal/kg EBW0.75 or 70 kcal/kg BW0.75. The net energy for gain for steers with 350 to 450 kg weight was 5.1 to 6.1Mcal. The efficiency of energy utilization for maintenance, km, was 0.7492 and for weight gain, kg, was 0.3404. The metabolizable protein requirement for maintenance was 4.32 * BW0.75 and the net protein for gain was estimated with the equation NPg = (254.68*EBWG) €“ (29.38*RE). The technique of deuterium oxide marker used to estimate energy and protein requirement for maintenance and weight gain at Nellore steers confirm the hypothesis presented in NRC, that NEm is lower than the requirement for taurine cattle. On the other hand, the reverse was true for the NP requirement for maintenance and for weight gain. We consider that indirect method using D2O for estimate body composition in zebu cattle was suitable to determine nutrient requirements.


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Energy and protein requirements for Nellore steers estimated with the deuterium oxide marker. (2020). Boletim De Indústria Animal, 77, 1-16.

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