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The Tau of Continuous Feeding on Simple Foods

P. Jumars
C. Martínez del Rio
Journal / Anthology

Physiological and Biochemical Zoology
Year: 1999
Volume: 72
Issue: 5
Page range: 633-641

Chemical reactor theory under the premise of maximization of net rate of nutrient absorption has been used to predict throughput time, g, of digesta in animals. animals that feed hexoses, such as many vertebrate fruit and nectar eaters, are of central interest in testing reactor theory because they use no hydrolysis before absorption and, hence, should provide valuable, simplified test cases. Graphical methods based on batch reactors and used to make such predictions in the past can give optimal gut throughput times (gopt) identical with predictions from continuous plug-flow reactor models derived here: in animals with passive, linear uptake alone, gopt should decline as hexose concentration of food increases. If saturating active uptake is involved, however, and minimum in gopt (maximum in ingestion rate) is predicted at intermediate hexose concentration, the exact location of this minimum depending on costs of ingestion as well as on uptake hexose concentration and then increases. Optimal throughput time rises as uptake sites become saturated because there is little gross gain and no net gain from increased ingestion rate when uptake already is nearly saturated. It also rises with increasing costs of ingestion. The continuous-time analytic solutions provided here further make the novel and very general prediction of high sensitivity to decreasing g below gopt.

*Science > Biology