Physical And Chemical Body Composition

The main body tissues in growing animals are muscle or lean tissue, fat, visceral organs, bones, and skin. The other tissues, including nervous, lymphatic, and vascular tissue, and blood contribute less than 10% to empty body weight in growing animals and are discussed in detail elsewhere in this encyclopedia. The three main chemical constituents in the animal's empty body are water, protein, and lipid. Most of the body water and body protein is contained in muscle tissue, whereas body lipid is largely present in fat tissue. The animal's body contains only minor amounts of carbohydrates, which largely represent glycogen stores in the liver and muscle. The mineral and vitamin content in animal products is low relative to the three main chemical constituents, but animal products represent an important source of these essential nutrients for humans. Moreover, the bio-availability of nutrients in animal products is generally higher than that in plant products.

In terms of chemical body composition, body water is closely associated with body protein, reflecting the association between water and protein in muscle.[1] The latter implies that variation in chemical and physical body composition of animals reflects largely variation in the ratios between body protein and body lipid mass and between muscle and fat tissue, respectively. It should be noted that across animal types, variation in hide and visceral organ mass contributes to variation in chemical and physical body composition as well.

The physical and chemical body composition that growing animals attempt to achieve is ultimately controlled by the animal's genotype.[1] However, the rate and composition of body weight gain and thus the actual body composition of growing animals are influenced by the animal's environment and by the intake of available nutrients in particular.

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