Document Detail

Wax digestion by the lesser honeyguide Indicator minor.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12160878     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Records of the lesser honeyguide feeding on beeswax in the wild are common. However, little is known about the ability of these birds to digest wax. We studied the wax preference, digestive efficiency, retention time and gut structure of the lesser honeyguide in the laboratory. Wax was found to be eaten daily by the lesser honeyguide. Birds ate significantly more new beeswax and foundation wax than old, black beeswax, but required an additional source of protein to maintain body mass. In the absence of other feed, the digestive efficiency for foundation wax was above 90%, with a long transit time of 256 min. Examination of the digestive tract showed no specialisation and no crop. The presence of digestive enzymes, including lipase, in the pancreas and small intestine and very few microbes in the digestive tract of the lesser honeyguide suggests that wax digestion occurs through a biochemical pathway with endogenous avian enzymes.
Colleen T Downs; Robyn J van Dyk; Paul Iji
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology     Volume:  133     ISSN:  1095-6433     ISO Abbreviation:  Comp. Biochem. Physiol., Part A Mol. Integr. Physiol.     Publication Date:  2002 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2002-08-05     Completed Date:  2003-02-07     Revised Date:  2003-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9806096     Medline TA:  Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  125-34     Citation Subset:  IM    
School of Botany and Zoology, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, Private Bag X01, Scottsville, South Africa.
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MeSH Terms
Birds / physiology*
Intestines / enzymology
Pancreas / enzymology
Waxes / metabolism*
Reg. No./Substance:

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