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Vitamin C deficiency in growing willow ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus lagopus).

Authors
  • Hanssen, I
  • Grav, H J
  • Steen, J B
  • Lysnes, H
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Journal of nutrition
Publication Date
Dec 01, 1979
Volume
109
Issue
12
Pages
2260–2276
Identifiers
PMID: 512712
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Willow ptarmigan chicks raised on a diet containing 265 mg ascorbic acid/kg develop scury-like symptoms and die by 4 weeks of age. If blueberry plants are given as an ad libitum supplement to this diet, the malady is prevented. We have described the clinical, pathological and histological changes which accompany this malnutrition and conclude that they are in accord with the description of scurvy in guinea pig and man. Biochemical determination of ascorbic acid synthesis in the kidney of ptarmigan chicks indicated a rate of synthesis five times that found in livers of growing white rats. Blueberry plants and many other plants found in the natural diet of ptarmigan chicks contain 2,000 to 5,000 mg ascorbic acid/kg dry weight. Feeding experiments showed that the pathological signs were avoided and that already afflicted chicks recovered if the vitamin C content of the diet was raised to 750 mg/kg dry weight of food. Since the food intake of the chicks was 5 to 8 g/day the daily requirement of external vitamin C is about 150 mg/kg body weight. To our knowledge this is the first example of an animal which, while producing vitamin C itself, requires substantial amounts of external vitamin C to survive.

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