TABLE 7-1 Biochemical and Physiological Measurements for Diagnosis of Nutrient Deficiencies in Chickens and Turkeys


Biochemical and Physiological Measurements



Reduced breast muscle anserine and carnosine.

Robbins et al., 1977; Amend et al., 1979


Reduced hemoglobin and hematocrit.

Braham et al., 1961

Vitamin A

Hepatic vitamin A is indicative of a deficiency, but blood level is not. Liver xanthine dehydrogenase and kidney arginase both increase even in the first stages of a deficiency. Reduced glycogen phosphorylase in liver, and red and white muscles. Increased thyroid size and reduced T3 and T4.

Rogers, 1969; Nockels and Phillips, 1971; Jensen, 1974; Bruckental and Ascarelli, 1975; Nockels et al., 1984

Vitamin D

Calcium-binding protein of intestine; 1,25-(OH)2-D3 versus 24,25-(OH)2-D2 in serum (complicated by dietary calcium and phosphorus); plasma alkaline phosphatase; nonproteolipid phospholipid content of rachitic cartilage.

Bar et al., 1972; Ohmdahl and DeLuca, 1973; Morrissey et al., 1977; Boyan and Ritter, 1984; Kaetzel and Soares, 1985

Vitamin E

Superoxide dismutase; glutamic-oxaloacetictransaminase; plasma and tissue vitamin E concentration (all measurements affected by selenium as well).

Walter and Jensen, 1964; Arnold et al., 1974; Sklan et al., 1981; Sklan and Donoghue, 1982

Vitamin K

Prothrombin clotting time of plasma.

Griminger et al., 1970


Transketolase in erythrocytes and leucocytes; plasma pyruvic acid.

Lofland et al., 1963; Anonymous, 1977


Liver xanthine dehydrogenase; erythrocyte glutathione reductase.

Chou, 1971; Lee, 1982


Level and ratio of niacin excretion products N'-methyl-nicotinamide and N'-methyl-2-pyridone-5-carboxyamide (untested for fowl).

Darby et al., 1975


Blood pyruvate carboxylase; ratio of C 16:1 to C 18:0 fatty acids in blood.

Edwards, 1974; Whitehead and Bannister, 1980

Pantothenic acid

Hepatic coenzyme A.

Cupo and Donaldson, 1986


Serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase; plasma glycine-serine ratio aspartic aminotransferase.

Daghir and Balloun, 1963; Sifri et al., 1972; Lee et al., 1976


Dihydrofolic acid reductase in liver; serine hydroxymethyl transferase in liver.

Rabbani et al., 1973; Zamierowski and Wagner, 1977

Vitamin B12

B12 in blood; excretion of methylmalonic acid.

Cox and White, 1962; Lau et al., 1965


Serum phospholipids.

Seifter et al., 1972

Linoleic acid

Linoleate, arachidonate, and eicosatrienoate concentrations in liver lipids.

Machlin and Gordon, 1960


Calcium in hen's blood (but not in chick's unless deficiency is severe); intestinal calcium-binding protein (complicated by D3 metabolites and phosphorus); turkey poults differ from chicks.

Bar et al., 1972, 1978a,b; Bar and Hurwitz, 1973


Hemoconcentration; alkalosis.

Leach and Nesheim, 1963; Cohen and Hurwitz, 1974; Hamilton and Thompson, 1980


Plasma ceruloplasmin; lysyl oxidase in aorta, liver, tendon, and bone; erythrocyte superoxide dismutase.

Kim and Hill, 1966; Miller and Stake, 1974; Bettger et al., 1979; Opsahl et al., 1982


Plasma thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine.

Singh et al., 1968


Hematocrit; blood hemoglobin concentration; transferrin saturation; anemia with lipemia.

Davis et al., 1962; Waddell and Sell, 1964; Planas, 1967


Magnesium concentration in blood.

Sell et al., 1967; Hajj and Sell, 1969


Chondroitin sulfate in bone; manganese concentration in bone; superoxide dismutase.

Leach, 1968; Reid et al., 1973; DeRosa et al., 1980


Serum inorganic phosphorus; renal calcium-binding protein.

Miller and Stake, 1974; Bar et al., 1978a,b


Plasma potassium; metabolic acidosis (complicated by sodium).

Burns et al., 1953; Cohen and Hurwitz, 1974


Plasma glutathionine peroxidase.

Noguchi et al., 1973; Dean and Combs, 1981; Cantor et al., 1982


Metabolic acidosis (complicated by potassium).

Nott and Combs, 1969; Cohen and Hurwitz, 1974


Plasma and bone zinc; thymidine kinase; alkaline phosphatase and collagenase in bone.

Miller and Stake, 1974; Oberleas and Prasad, 1974; Starcher et al., 1980; Bettger et al., 1979

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