Calcium and Strontium Metabolism in Japanese and Bobwhite Quail1

Calcium and Strontium Metabolism in Japanese and Bobwhite Quail1

753 RESEARCH NOTES ACKNOWLEDGMENT The useful technical assistance of Mrs. D. Garner, Mr. Dan Morris, W. Todd, and D. Hadenfeldt is gratefully ackno...

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ACKNOWLEDGMENT The useful technical assistance of Mrs.

D. Garner, Mr. Dan Morris, W. Todd, and D. Hadenfeldt is gratefully acknowledged. REFERENCES Buss, E. G., 1956. Some factors which affect hatchability of chicken eggs at higher altitudes. Ph.D. Thesis, Purdue University (University microfilms Mic. 56-2773). Francis, D. W., P. E. Bernier and D. C. Hutto, 1967. The effect of altitude on the hatchability of chicken eggs. Poultry Sci. 46: 1384-1389. Fraps, R. M., 1945. Effect of reduced atmospheric pressure on hatchability. Science, 101: 339. Grabowski, C. T., 1966. Physiologic changes in the bloodstream of chick embryos exposed to teratogenic doses of hypoxia. Developmental Biology, 13: 199-213. Stephens, B. F., and H. P. Ploog, 1967. Incubation of chicken eggs at high altitudes (10,500 ft). World Poultry Sci. J. 23: 346-52.

CALCIUM AND STRONTIUM METABOLISM IN JAPANESE AND BOBWHITE QUAIL1 FRANK R. MRAZ Agricultural Research Laboratory of The University of Tennessee, Oak Ridge, Tennessee* (Received for publication March 14, 1969)

The use of Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) as laboratory animals in biomedical and poultry research is increasing due to their small size and rapid maturity. This rapid maturity (6 weeks from hatching) introduces the question of how comparable the Japanese is to the Bob white (Colinus virginianus) quail (maturing at 5 to 6 months of age). During growth, an element of considerable importance and one bound to be affected by 1

This manuscript is published with the permission of the Director of the University of Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station, Knoxville, Tennessee. 2 Operated by the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station for the U. S. Atomic Energy Commission under Contract No. AT-40-1-GEN-242.

the attainment of sexual maturity is calcium. Strontium is an element biologically similar to calcium and of comparable importance from the viewpoint of a radioactive contamination of the environment. This report will provide a comparison of strontium and calcium biological halflives and uptakes in immature Bobwhite and Japanese quail at different ages. METHODS

Twenty-five microcuries of 46Ca (1 mg. Ca) or 89Sr (carrier-free) in chloride form were administered orally to Bobwhite and Japanese quail before their first feeding. At periodic intervals after dosing (Fig. 1), 5 birds were sacrificed and a tibia removed from each for radionuclide deter-

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hematocrit 32-35), although the immunologic response was almost completely suppressed (results to be published elsewhere). By the end of the 5th week the altitude treated chicks reached in size and general appearance the ground level controls. Mortality among the surviving chicks was 7%, compared to 4% for ground level controls. These preliminary experiments show that even a short term (24-48 hours) altitude exposure may significantly reduce the hatchability of eggs and causes hematologic and physiologic changes. The observed results warrant detailed investigation of these phenomena.



6.0 5.0 4.0




birds each at periodic intervals (Table 1) with no fasting and sacrificed 24 hours later when a tibia was also removed for radionuclide assay. The birds received a commercial turkey starter and water ad libitum in electrically heated, wire-floor batteries.

o Sr • Ca *Sr *Ca

2.0 oo








0.3 0.2

0 2 4

6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 WK. AFTER DOSING

FIG. 1. 89Sr and 45Ca content of tibia of Bobwhite and Japanese quail dosed at 1 day of age.

minations by procedures of Edwards and Mraz (1961). Ten microcuries of 45Ca (0.4 mg. Ca) and 5 microcuries of 89Sr (CF) were administered orally to groups of 6

The biological half-life of strontium in the tibia of Japanese and Bobwhite quail between 1 and 56 days of age was about 20 days (Fig. 1), starting with about 2 percent of the administered oral dosage of 89 Sr one day after dosing. This was comparable to that in White Leghorn chicks except that 4 percent of the 89Sr was present one day after dosing (Mraz, 1966). The biological half-life of calcium in quail was about 40 days with an initial uptake by the tibia of 4 percent of the 46Ca one day after dosing. This percentage was twice that of 89Sr. The day-old quail chicks deposited more 45Ca and 89Sr in the tibia than did any of the older birds (Table 1). The fact that there was no feed in their digestive tracts to dilute the radionuclides contributed to this higher level. Deposition of the radionuclides in

TABLE 1.—ibCa and 895r content of tibia of Bobwhite or Japanese quail 24 hours after their oral administration Japanese

Bobwhite Age





1.93 + 0.10

4.11 + 0.93

0.66+0.10 0.72 + 0.09 0.72 + 0.33 0.25 + 0.12

1.46 + 0.28 2.44 + 0.35 3.76+1.26 1.34 + 0.35

12 week

0.50 + 0.16

1.77 + 0.85

16 week

0.35 + 0.07

0.57 + 0.17

Day-old 1 week 2 week 3 week 4 week 5 week 6 week 8 week 10 week

* Mean percent dose + standard deviation.



89S r *

2.09 + 0.36 0.96 + 0.06 1.26+0.12 0.74+0.09 0.61 + 0.07 0.20+0.04 0.10 + 0.06 0.07 + 0.04 0.13 + 0.10 0.44+0.17 0.06 + 0.02 0.39 + 0.37 0.05 + 0.04 0.60 + 0.52



4.56 + 0.58 1.36+0.40 1.83 + 0.38 2.19 + 0.43 1.34+0.49 0.87 + 0.15 0.57 + 0.17 0.51 + 0.05 0.60 + 0.25 1.16 + 0.51 0.37 + 0.10 1.37 + 1.29 0.32 + 0.06 2.11 + 1.76

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(n 1.0 o Q 0.8



species of quail are similar prior to maturity but that the effect of impending maturity in the Japanese quail decreases calcium and strontium deposition in the tibia after 4 weeks of age until maturity when the female Japanese quail again increases deposition. REFERENCES Edwards, H. M., and F. R. Mraz. 1961. Transference to egg and chick of the radionuclides strontium89, calcium-45 and barium-133 when administered to laying hens. Poultry Sci. 40: 493-503. Mraz, F. R., 1966. The metabolism of fission products and related nuclides in poultry. ORO-651 (Atomic Energy Commission): 61.

NEWS AND NOTES (Continued from page 744) pollution, Communication with Institute headquarters, Moisture control, Bacterial standards, and Residues. The Committee Members are: A. E. Baile}', Grimes Poultry Processing Corporation, Fredericks burg, Pennsylvania (Chairman); L. Frahm, Raeford Turkey Farms, Raeford, North Carolina (ViceChairman); R. Posegate, Armour and Company, Chicago, Illinois (Vice-Chairman); VV. F. Bratten, Marell Poultry Company, Murrayville, Georgia; H. J. Buyens, Swift and Company, Chicago, Illinois; H. 0 . Chitwood, Gold Kist Poultry, Atlanta, Georgia; M. DeWitt, Bil-Mar Foods, Inc., Zeeland, Michigan; C. B. Deal, Southeastern Poultry, Inc., Forest, Mississippi; G. Heitz, Rockingham Poultry Marketing Cooperative, Inc., Broadway, Virginia J. Jackson, Ralston Purina Company, St. Louis, Missouri; J. McDade, Norbest Turkey Growers Association, Salt Lake City, Utah; W. Mountain, Armour and Company, Salsbury, Maryland; F. Murray, Polo Food Products Company, Chicago, Illinois; E. E. Palmer, Land O'Lakes Creameries, Minneapolis, Minnesota; G. H. Plageman, Arkansas Valley Industries, Inc., Little Rock, Arkansas; G. Reynolds, J. W. Nichols Company, Fort Worth, Texas; M. Rich, Louis Rich Foods, Inc., West Liberty, Iowa; G. Rosen, Regal Foods Inc., Skokie, Illinois; H. C. Shickel, Shenandoah Valley Produce Company, Inc., Harrisonburg, Virginia; A. Stevens, Hillcrest Poultry Incorporated, Lewiston, Maine; K. Stone, Wilson and Company, Inc., Chicago, Illinois;

L. Van Camp, Western Farmers Association, Seattle, Washington; R. Wagstaff, The Pillsbury Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota; E. Watson, Watson Seafood and Poultry Company, Raleigh, North Carolina; and H. Wendt, Ocoma Foods, Inc., Omaha, Nebraska. BACK ISSUES Wanted By Fred Moultrie, Executive Vice-President, Research, Arbor Acres Farm, Inc., Glastonbury, Connecticut 06033. Volume 18, No. 1, 2, 3 and 4; Volume 21, No. 2; and Volume 23, No. 5 and 6. Wanted By Professor Dr. Nils Olsson, Dorrodsvagen, S240 14 Veberod, Sweden. Volume 25, No. 1,2 and 4. VANTRESS NOTES Dr. S. Schmittle, formerly of the University of Georgia, has joined the technical and pathology staff of Vantress Farms in Georgia. He has been conducting research on Marek's disease. As Director of the Poultry Disease Research Center he has also conducted research on Newcastle disease, chronic respiratory disease, infectious synovitis, toxic fat disorder, infectious bronchitis, and methyl bromide fumigation as a sanitizing agent. Dr. Schmittle received a D.V.M. degree at Ohio

(Continued on page 757)

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the tibia of Bob whites was higher than that in Japanese quail after 3 weeks of age and was not influenced by sex over the 16week period. The influence of egg production in the Japanese quail was reflected in the increased 45Ca and 89Sr deposition in tibia of laying females over that found in males at 8 weeks of age and continued for those observed at 10 and 12 weeks of age. More of the radionuclides were deposited in the tibia of Bobwhite than male Japanese quail because they were still in the state of skeletal growth. It would appear that the biological half-lives of calcium and strontium in both