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Physical characteristics of gastrointestinal content of llama (Lama glama)

Idalan, Nadine, Martin, Louise F., Clauss, Marcus
Journal of animal physiology and animal nutrition 2019 v.103 no.4 pp. 1015-1022
Camelus dromedarius, abomasum, cecum, clearcutting, digesta, enzymes, feces, llamas, omasum, particle size, reticulum, rumen, rumination, secretion
Changes in digesta dry matter (DM) and mean digesta particle size (MPS) along the gastrointestinal tract are well known in ruminants, but not in camelids. We collected digesta from the dorsal (d) and ventral (v) first forestomach compartment (C1), the second forestomach compartment (C2), three proximal segments and the subsequent glandular part of the third compartment (C3A‐D), the caecum and the faeces twelve llamas (Lama glama). DM analysis indicates the presence of digesta stratification in the C1, the presence of fluid in the C2 to facilitate the sorting function of this compartment, the fluid‐absorbing function of the proximal parts of the C3, the secretion of enzymes and digestive acids in the C3D, and the water‐resorbing function of the lower intestinal tract. These findings illustrate the functional resemblance between the gastrointestinal tract of camelids and cattle‐like ruminants (C1 equivalent to the rumen with stratified contents, C2 to the reticulum, C3A/B/C to the omasum and C3D to the abomasum). MPS analysis revealed a progressive reduction in MPS from the C1 to the distal C3. This gradual transition is different from the clear‐cut threshold in ruminants between the reticulum and the omasum and had so far only been described in dromedaries (Camelus dromedarius). These findings indicate that regardless of the convergent property of rumination and resemblance of general mechanisms involved in contents stratification and particle sorting, differences between ruminants and camelids exist that could be interpreted as a more efficient functionality of the ruminant forestomach.