Document Detail

The insectivorous bat Pipistrellus nathusii uses a mixed-fuel strategy to power autumn migration.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22719039     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In contrast to birds, bats are possibly limited in their capacity to use body fat as an energy source for long migrations. Here, we studied the fuel choice of migratory Pipistrellus nathusii (approximate weight: 8 g) by analysing the stable carbon isotope ratio (δ(13)C(V-PDB)) of breath and potential energy sources. Breath δ(13)C(V-PDB) was intermediate between δ(13)C(V-PDB) of insect prey and adipocyte triacylglycerols, suggesting a mixed-fuel use of P. nathusii during autumn migration. To clarify the origin of oxidized fatty acids, we performed feeding experiments with captive P. nathusii. After an insect diet, bat breath was enriched in (13)C relative to the bulk and fat portion of insects, but not deviating from the non-fat portion of insects, suggesting that bats oxidized exogenous proteins and carbohydrates, but not exogenous fatty acids. A feeding experiment with (13)C-labelled substrates confirmed these findings. In conclusion, migratory P. nathusii oxidized dietary proteins directly from insects captured en route in combination with endogenous fatty acids from adipocytes, and replenished their body reserves by routing dietary fatty acids to their body reserves.
Christian C Voigt; Karin Sörgel; Jurģis Šuba; Oskars Keišs; Gunārs Pētersons
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2012-06-20
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society     Volume:  279     ISSN:  1471-2954     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Biol. Sci.     Publication Date:  2012 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-08-13     Completed Date:  2013-01-09     Revised Date:  2013-10-11    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101245157     Medline TA:  Proc Biol Sci     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  3772-8     Citation Subset:  IM    
Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Evolutionary Ecology Research Group, 10315 Berlin, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Animal Migration*
Breath Tests
Carbon Isotopes / metabolism
Chiroptera / physiology*
Dietary Proteins / metabolism
Energy Metabolism*
Fatty Acids / metabolism
Insect Proteins / metabolism
Tenebrio / metabolism
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Carbon Isotopes; 0/Dietary Proteins; 0/Fatty Acids; 0/Insect Proteins

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