Conclusion

Advances in techniques for body/carcass composition analysis are based on the development of electronic/ computer-based methods, thus avoiding destructive, labor-intensive, or subjective approaches. In general, the choice of a particular technique (Table 1) will depend on the purpose or application, technical aspects (accuracy, reliability, and the type of information needed), and

Table 1 Comparison of methods for indirect measurement of body composition

Methoda

Measurement

Advantages

Disadvantages

D2O

Total body water

Wide range of body size,

Slow, accuracy depends on

simple, inexpensive

reference studies

BIA

Lean mass

Simple, rapid, inexpensive,

Accuracy depends on reference studies

portable

TOBEC

Lean mass

Simple, rapid, can be automated

Accuracy depends on reference studies,

sedation required for most animals,

moderately expensive

DXA

Fat, lean, bone mineral, and

Accurate, simple, rapid analysis,

Moderately expensive, sedation

40k

total tissue mass

region of interest analysis

necessary, radiation exposure

Total body potassium (cell mass)

Wide range of body size, rapid

Expensive, accuracy depends on

reference studies

NA

Various elements (e.g., nitrogen,

Accurate

Expensive, radiation exposure, technical

carbon, oxygen)

expertise, sedation necessary

MRI

Visualization of fat, muscle,

Accurate, multiple levels

Expensive, technical expertise, sedation

and other soft tissues

of analysis

necessary, slow

CAT or CT

Visualization of fat,

Accurate, multiple levels

Expensive, technical expertise, sedation

lean, and bone

of analysis

necessary, slow, radiation exposure

US

Visualization of subcutaneous

Portable, extensive database

Moderately expensive, accuracy depends

fat and underlying lean

for some species, can be

on reference studies

automated

aD2O deuterium oxide, BIA bioelectrical impedance, TOBEC total body electrical conductivity, DXA dual energy X ray absorptiometry, 40K total body potassium counting, NA neutron activation analysis, MRI magnetic resonance imaging, CAT X ray computer axial tomography, CT X ray computer tomography, US ultrasound.

aD2O deuterium oxide, BIA bioelectrical impedance, TOBEC total body electrical conductivity, DXA dual energy X ray absorptiometry, 40K total body potassium counting, NA neutron activation analysis, MRI magnetic resonance imaging, CAT X ray computer axial tomography, CT X ray computer tomography, US ultrasound.

practical aspects (cost, portability, need for restraint or anesthesia, speed, ease of use or training required, safety, and size of the animal to be measured).

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