Mineral absorption in tapirs as compared to the domestic horse

Source: Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, 2009, volume 93, issue 6
To test whether mineral recommendations for horses are likely to guarantee adequate mineral provision for tapirs, we investigated the apparent absorption (aA) of macro and micro-minerals in 18 tapirs from five zoological institutions in a total of 24 feeding trials with total faecal collection.
Samples of feeds and faeces were analysed for Ca, P, Mg, Na, K, Fe, Cu and Zn. The resulting aA coefficients and the linear relationships of apparently absorbable dietary mineral content to total dietary mineral content (per 100 g dry matter) were compared with data for domestic horses. While there were no apparent differences in the absorption patterns for P, K, Na, Fe, Cu or Zn, the absorption of both Ca and Mg was distinctively higher in tapirs than in horses. Tapirs (Tapirus spp.) are browsers that are adapted to a diet of higher Ca content and higher Ca:P ratio than equids, and high absorptive efficiency for Ca might have evolved to ensure that high dietary Ca concentrations do not lead to the binding of dietary P in the intestine, making it unavailable for hindgut microbes. Similar to other hindgut fermenters, in tapirs, absorption coefficients for Ca increased with dietary Ca:P ratio, and urinary Ca:creatinine ratios increased with dietary Ca. Several zoo diets used were deficient in one or more minerals. When compared with faeces of free-ranging animals, faeces of zoo animals had higher concentrations of most minerals, probably indicating a lesser diluting effect of indigestible fibre in zoo animals.

Title: Mineral absorption in tapirs (Tapirus spp.) as compared to the domestic horse

Authors: M. Clauss, S. Lang-Deuerling, E. Kienzle, E. P. Medici and J. Hummel