Introduction

Tracers or markers are used to study digestion, intake, or pool sizes and kinetics of digesta fractions in specific organs or the entire digestive tract of farm animals. Digesta kinetic analyses are integral parts of animal nutrition research. Nutrients (and symbiotic microbial mass) are associated and leave digestive compartments with the fluid or the solid digesta phases. Thus, the rate of flow of digesta dictates, in the large part, nutrient availability for growth and production. This entry will briefly discuss the most common external markers used in animal nutrition research with particular emphasis on ruminant nutrition.

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