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Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995 (1995)

Chapter: 5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster

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Suggested Citation:"5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster." National Research Council. 1995. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4758.
×

5
Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster

Taxonomically hamsters are classified as a subfamily, Cricetinae, with 7 genera and 18 species in the family Muridae (Musser and Carleton, 1993). They are distributed throughout the Palearctic zone of Eurasia (Anderson and Jones, 1984). Original habitats of laboratory hamsters included clay deserts, shrub-covered plains, forested steppes, and/or cultivated fields.

Golden hamsters, Mesocricetus auratus, collected from a burrow 8 feet deep in a wheat field near Aleppo, Syria, were established as a colony of laboratory animals at the Microbiological Institute of Jerusalem in 1930. These animals were used to complete research on kala-azar delayed by the failure of Chinese hamsters to breed in captivity (Adler and Theodor, 1931). Adler took breeding pairs to Paris and London to establish colonies at research institutions there (Bruce and Hindle, 1934; Adler, 1948; Murphy, 1985). Breeding stock were distributed to investigators in India, Egypt, and the United States (Doull and Megrall, 1939; Poiley, 1950). Golden hamsters is the hamster species most frequently used in research (Hoffman et al., 1968; Siegel, 1985; Van Hoosier and McPherson, 1987), but very little is known about their nutritional requirements.

In the past 20 years, 7 additional hamster species have been used as laboratory animals. Animals identified as strain MHH:EPH are maintained in Hannover, Germany (Reznik et al., 1978; Mohr and Ernst, 1987). Mouse-like Chinese striped hamsters, Cricetulus barabensis, are used in research in cytogenetics, diabetes, and toxicology (Calland et al., 1986; Diani and Gerritsen, 1987). The large guinea-pig-like European hamster, Cricetus cricetus, formerly considered a pest in agricultural areas, is now a model for research in carcinogenesis. Dwarf hamsters, Phodopus campbelli and P. sungorus, of southern and western Siberia, are used in research in cytogenetics, carcinogenesis, diabetes mellitus, obesity, photoperiod changes, and social behavior (Pogosianz and Sokova, 1967; Hoffmann, 1973; Daly, 1975; Gamperl et al., 1978; Hoffmann, 1978. Steinlechner et al., 1983; Wade and Bartness, 1984; Pond et al., 1987; Ruf et al., 1991). Turkish hamsters, Mesocricetus brandti, are used in hibernation, taxonomy, and cytogenetics research (Lyman and O'Brien, 1977; Lyman et al., 1981, 1983; Todd et al., 1972). Colonies of the Romanian hamster, Mesocricetus neutoni , were established in Bucharest and used for research in cytogenetics and taxonomy (Hamar and Schutowa, 1966; Murphy, 1977; Popescu and DiPaolo, 1980). The Armenian, or migratory hamster, Cricetulus migratorius , is used on a limited basis in cytogenetics and oncology research (Lavappa and Yerganian, 1970; Cantrell and Padovan, 1987) (see Table 5-1).

BIOLOGICAL AND BEHAVIORAL CHARACTERISTICS

Unlike simple-stomached rats, mice, and guinea pigs, hamsters, like voles, have a stomach that consists of two distinct compartments: a keratinized, nonglandular forestomach (cardiac) separated from a glandular region (pyloric) by sphincter-like muscular marginal folds (Reznik et al., 1978) that control movement of ingesta from esophagus to duodenum. An embryological study has shown that the forestomach is gastric in origin and not an esophageal derivative (Vorontsov, 1979). The structure and function of the forestomach is similar to the rumen of herbivores (Takahashi and Tamate, 1976; Borer, 1985). Ingesta enter the forestomach from the esophagus and pass into the glandular stomach in 10 to 60 minutes (Ehle and Warner, 1978). Kunstyr (1974) noted that the concentration of microorganisms is higher in the forestomach than in the glandular region. Sakaguchi et al. (1981) demonstrated that the forestomach aids in the utilization of dietary urea.

The hamster cecum is a J-shaped structure with numerous lateral sacculations and has more volume than the stomach (Krueger and Rieschel, 1950; Magalhaes, 1968).

Suggested Citation:"5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster." National Research Council. 1995. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4758.
×

TABLE 5-1 Names, Characteristics, and History of Laboratory Hamsters

Genus and Species

Common Name or Origin

Size

Adult Weight, g

Origin of Collection

Where Used

Introduction Date

Cricetus cricetus

Common hamster

Large

337–500a

Germany

Germany

1971b

Mesocricetus auratus

Golden or Syrian

Medium

120–180c

Aleppo, Syria

Palestine

1930d

Mesocricetus brandti

Brandt's or Turkish

Medium

137–258e

Turkey, Asia Minor

United States

1965e

Mesocricetus newtoni

Newton's or Romanian

Medium

120f

E. Romania

Romania

1964f

Cricetulus migratorius

Migratory or Armenian

Small

40–80g

Armenia

United States, E. Europe

1963h

Cricetulus barabensis

Striped-back or Chinese

Small

28–40i

Wild, collected in Northeast China

Eurasia, United States

1919j

Phodopus campbellik

Campbell's or Siberian

Dwarf

30–50g

Tuva, S. Siberia

Eurasia, N. America

1965l

Phodopus sungorusk

Dzungarian or Siberian

Variable; depends on season

25–45g

Omsk, W. Siberia

Eurasia, N. America

1968m

a Reznik et al. (1978).

b Reznik-Schüller et al. (1974).

c von Frisch (1990).

d Adler and Theodor (1931).

e Lyman and O'Brien (1977).

f Murphy (1977).

g Cantrell and Padovan (1987).

h Yerganian (1977).

i Yerganian (1958).

j Hsieh (1919).

k Wilson and Reeder (1993).

l Pogosianz and Sokova (1967).

m Hoffmann (1978).

Hamsters, like guinea pigs and gerbils, eat regularly, at 2-hour intervals throughout the day (Anderson and Shettleworth, 1977; Borer et al., 1979). Wild hamsters gather and store grains and other food in underground burrows to ensure a constant source of food (Borer et al., 1979; Micheli and Malsbury, 1982; Carleton and Musser, 1984). Hamsters are adapted to running and digging and are active primarily during twilight and during the night.

The golden hamster has a gestation period of 15 to 18 days. Members of the Mesocricetus species are solitary animals that live in separate burrows with one or two chambers and entrances and exits; males and females meet only for breeding (Murphy, 1985).

REPRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT

Developmental and reproductive indices for three species are given in Tables 5-2 and 5-3, respectively. Young hamsters weigh 2 to 4 g at birth (see Table 5-4; Poiley, 1972). Average litter size is 11 (Slater, 1972), ranging from 2 to 16 (Anderson and Shina, 1972). Newborn hamsters are fetal in appearance—hairless, eyes and ears closed, and legs underdeveloped (Balk and Slater, 1987). Incisors are erupted at birth and young animals begin to eat solid food within 7 to 10 days (Balk and Slater, 1987). Hamsters weigh 40 g when weaned at 21 days (Poiley, 1972). Male hamsters are sexually mature at 42 days old, but females can breed as early as 28 to 30 days old (Selle, 1945; Balk and Slater, 1987). Litters with the greatest average number of pups are obtained from females 8 to 10 weeks old and males 10 to 12 weeks old (Robens, 1968; Balk and Slater, 1987).

EXAMPLES OF PURIFIED AND NATURAL-INGREDIENT DIETS

Two examples of purified diets and one of a natural-ingredient diet are presented in Tables 5-5 A-C, 5-6 A-C, and 5-7 A-C. These diets supported growth that was equivalent to the highest rates reported in our review of the literature. The two purified diets supported growth rates of 1.6 to 2.0 g/day. The natural-ingredient diet was selected from three that supported a growth rate of 1.9 g/day; of the three, it was intermediate in complexity.

WATER AND ENERGY

Male and female golden hamsters consume, on average, 8.5 mL water/100 g BW/day; males consumed 5 mL water/100 g BW/day, while females consumed 14 mL water/100 g BW/day (Fitts and St. Dennis, 1981). Thompson (1971) recorded Chinese hamsters intake of water to be 11.4 mL/100 g BW/day for males and 12.9 mL/100 g BW/day for females. Water intake for golden hamsters was found to be 4.5 mL/100 g BW/day in males and 13.6 mL/100 g BW/day for females.

Little definitive work has been done on the energy requirement of the hamster, and few research studies include data on energy utilization. When fed a cereal-based diet containing 14.95 percent neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and 5.6 kcal gross energy (GE)/g diet (23.4 kJ/g diet), hamsters digested 45.2 percent of NDF and 81.5 percent of GE. Hamsters fed a 75 percent alfalfa meal diet that contained 40.6 percent NDF and 4.05 kcal GE/g diet (16.9 kJ/

Suggested Citation:"5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster." National Research Council. 1995. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4758.
×

TABLE 5-2 Developmental Indices for Golden, Chinese, and Siberian Hamsters

Variable

Unit

Amount

Reference

Goldena

Birth weight

g

2–3

Biven et al., 1987

Incisors present

Day

1

Balk and Slater, 1987

Ears open

Day

4–5

Balk and Slater, 1987

Eyes open

Day

14–16

Balk and Slater, 1987

Solid food eaten

Day

7–10

Balk and Slater, 1987

Weaning age

Day

21

 

Weaning weight

g

35–40

Harkness and Wagner, 1983

Mature weights

g

95–150 female; 85–130 male

Harkness and Wagner, 1983

Life span

Year

1–3

Biven et al., 1987

Chineseb

Birth weight

g

1.5–2.5

Moore, 1965

Incisors present

Day

1

Moore, 1965

Ears open

Day

10–14

Moore, 1965

Eyes open

Day

10–14

Moore, 1965

Solid food eaten

Day

12

Smith, 1957

Weaning age

Day

21

Calland et al., 1986

Weaning weights

g

15–17 female; 16–17 male

Avery, 1968

Mature weights

g

25 female; 35 male

Smith, 1957

Siberianc

Birth weight

g

1.8

Pogosianz and Sokova, 1967

Incisors erupt

Day

0

Pogosianz and Sokova, 1967

Ears open

Day

3–4

Pogosianz and Sokova, 1967

Eyes open

Day

10

Pogosianz and Sokova, 1967

Solid food eaten

Day

10

Pogosianz and Sokova, 1967

Weaning age

Day

16–20

Pogosianz and Sokova, 1967

Weaning weight

g

23

Pogosianz and Sokova, 1967

Mature weight

g

30 female; 40–50 male

Cantrell and Padovan, 1987

Life span

Year

1–2

Cantrell and Padovan, 1987

a Golden hamster (Mesocricetus auratus).

b Chinese hamster (Cricetulus barabensis) previously (C. griseus).

c Campbell's, Djungarian, or Siberian hamster (Phodopus campbelli) (Pogosianz and Sokova, 1967); Siberian Dwarf, Djungarian, or Dzungrian hamster (Phodopus sungorus) (Cantrell and Padovan, 1987).

g diet) digested the NDF and GE to the extent of 33.4 percent and 50.2 percent, respectively (Ehle and Warner, 1978). Arrington et al. (1966) reported that hamsters fed purified diets containing 12 and 16 percent casein had a total GE intake of 27 to 29 kcal/day (113 to 121 kJ/day) and gained 40 to 100 g over a 42-day period. Smaller hamsters (45 g) consumed 58 kcal/100 g BW/day (243 kJ/100 g BW/day), while larger hamsters (90 g) consumed 28 kcal/100 g BW/day (117 kJ/100 g BW/day). For a summary of energy balance in golden hamsters, see Borer (1985).

LIPIDS

An optimal concentration of dietary lipid has not been established for the hamster, although they seem to thrive on diets containing 4 to 20 percent fat (w/w). Knapka and Judge (1974) fed weanling (21 days old) male and female golden hamsters natural-ingredient pelleted diets containing 3.1, 5.0, 7.3, or 9.2 percent crude fat for 35 days. The feed:gain ratio decreased with increasing concentrations of dietary lipid. A decrease in feed intake was not associated with increased concentration of energy in the diet. Mortality was 1.0 percent when the diet contained 3.1 and 5.0 percent lipid. Higher mortality, but greater weight gain, occurred with the higher fat diets. The authors concluded that the lipid requirement for maximal growth of hamsters is slightly higher than 5 percent, but maximal growth should not be the only criterion used to determine the optimal concentration of lipid supplementation. Hamsters were maintained for a year or longer on starch gel diets (e.g., Table 5-6A) that contained up to 20 percent fat, with no mortality attributed to the fat load. However, feeding hamsters this diet for maintenance at 10 to 12 g/day [about 25 kcal ME/100 g BW/day (105 kJ ME/100 g BW/day)]

Suggested Citation:"5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster." National Research Council. 1995. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4758.
×

TABLE 5-3 Reproductive Indices for Golden, Chinese, and Siberian Hamsters

Variable

Unit

Amount

Reference

Goldena

Breeding age

Week

8–10, female;

Balk and Slater, 1987

 

 

10–12, male

Balk and Slater, 1987

minimum, female

Day

28

Selle, 1945

Estrous cycle

Day

4

Balk and Slater, 1987

Gestation

Day

15.5

Balk and Slater, 1987

Litter size

 

4–16

Slater, 1972

average

 

11

 

Litters/lifetime

 

4–6

Balk and Slater, 1987

Reproductive life

Month

10

Balk and Slater, 1987

Chineseb

Breeding age

Week

8–12, female;

Calland et al., 1986

 

Week

32–48, male

Calland et al., 1986

minimum, female

Day

41

Moore, 1965

Estrous cycle

Day

4

Moore, 1965

Gestation

Day

19–21

Avery, 1968

Litter size

 

1–11

Calland et al., 1986

average

 

6.1

Calland et al., 1986

Litters/lifetime

 

5

Parkening, 1982

Reproductive life

Month

16 ± 0.5

Parkening, 1982

Siberianc

Breeding age

Day

35–40 male 16 hours/light/day

Cantrell and Padovan, 1987

 

Day

150 male 8 hours/light/day

Cantrell and Padovan, 1987

Estrous cycle

Day

4

Iakovenko, 1974

Gestation

Day

18

Daly, 1975

Litter size

 

1–9

Pogosianz and Sokova, 1967

average

 

4–6

Pogosianz and Sokova, 1967

Litters/lifetime

 

12

Pogosianz and Sokova, 1967

Reproductive life

Month

12

Pogosianz and Sokova, 1967

a Golden hamster (Mesocricetus auratus).

b Chinese hamster (Cricetulus griseus and/or C. barabensis).

c Siberian Dwarf, Djungarian, or Dzungrian hamster (Phodopus sungorus ) (Pogosianz and Sokova, 1967; Cantrell and Padovan, 1987); Campbell's, Djungarian, or Siberian hamster (Phodopus campbelli) (Pogosianz and Sokova, 1967; Iakovenko, 1974).

tends to lessen obesity and the hypertriglyceridemia associated with allowing the animals free access to food (Hayes et al., 1993; K. C. Hayes, Brandeis University, personal communication, 1994)

Signs of Lipid Deficiency A review by Holman (1968) reported that weanling hamsters fed a fat-free diet showed a slow rate of growth, had pale kidneys, and developed ulcers at the mucocutaneous junction of the anus.

ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS

n-6 Fatty Acids

The requirement for n-6 fatty acids has not been determined for hamsters, but a deficiency has been demonstrated. Christensen and Dam (1952) found that feeding weanling hamsters a fat-free diet resulted in loss of hair, scaly skin, and development of a profuse secretion of cerumen (ear-wax)—a light-yellow, cholesterol-containing material. Signs of n-6 deficiency may be decreased by feeding hamsters a diet with 10 percent lard or a dietary supplement of 28 mg linoleic acid/day.

n-3 Fatty Acids

No studies are available on the distribution of n-3 fatty acids in hamster tissues or on the development of n-3 fatty acid deficiency. Three studies (Cunnane et al., 1985, 1986, 1987) were conducted in which ethanol was fed to hamsters with subsequent increases in n-9 fatty acids and decreases in the n-6 and n-3 fatty acids in liver triglycerides and phospholipids. Dietary treatments supplying a range of n-6:n-3 ratios were, predictably, found to influence tissue fatty acid composition in ethanol-fed and control hamsters.

Suggested Citation:"5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster." National Research Council. 1995. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4758.
×

TABLE 5-4 Growth of Golden Hamster Outbred Cr:RGH (SYR)

 

 

Weight, g

 

Sex

Age, days

Average

Range

Male

1

2.9

2.0–4.0

Male

7

6.9

5.0–13.9

Male

14

18.3

11.5–33.2

Male

21

40.0

29.2–51.0

Male

28

48.6

32.0–70.8

Male

42

86.1

68.5–99.9

Male

56

91.5

85.6–97.5

Male

70

99.4

91.8–107.1

Male

84

103.9

98.9–109.2

Male

112

121.9

112.7–131.3

Male

140

131.8

116.6–145.6

Male

168

140.5

127.8–142.4

Female

1

3.0

2.0–3.8

Female

7

7.8

5.5–13.7

Female

14

17.4

11.0–31.6

Female

21

40.3

29.5–50.0

Female

28

44.1

31.0–68.5

Female

42

93.0

86.5–102.2

Female

56

94.5

85.3–104.1

Female

70

103.2

92.0–114.5

Female

84

114.9

103.3–126.5

Female

112

135.9

125.3–146.5

Female

140

149.6

147.0–159.8

Female

168

157.8

149.6–166.5

NOTE: In 10 of the 12 age groups, the females are larger than the males. SOURCE: Poiley (1972).

TABLE 5-5A Rutten and de Groot Purified Diet for Hamsters

Ingredient

Amount, g/kg diet

Casein

200.0a

Wheat starch

635.0b

Corn oil

50.0c

Cellulose

50.0d

Mineral mix

35.0e

Vitamin mix

10.0f

CaHPO4

15.0

DL-Methionine

3.0

Choline bitartrate

2.0

a Acid-precipitated, containing: protein 89.1% (N × 6.38); moisture 8.9%; ash 4.67%; pH of a 10% aqueous suspension, 4.5.

b Ten percent of native wheat starch was replaced by pregelatinized wheat starch to provide pellets of suitable quality for feeding hamsters.

c No antioxidants were added.

d Dicacel, highly purified and bleached fibrous powder, consisting of 87–90% pure α-cellulose; average length of fibers ≈44 µm; water, 4%; ash, 0.12–0.15%; and lignin, 0.04%.

e See Table 5-5B. Rutten and de Groot mineral mix based on AIN-76A.

f See Table 5-5C. Rutten and de Groot vitamin mix based on AIN-76A.

SOURCE: Rutten and de Groot (1992).

TABLE 5-5B Rutten and de Groot Mineral Mix

 

 

Amount, g/kg

 

Compound

Formula

Mix

Dieta

Salt

NaCl

110.0

1.51

Salt

NaCl

 

2.34

Potassium citrate

K3C6H5O·H2O

394.0

5.29

Potassium sulfate

K2SO4

51.8

0.81

Potassium sulfate

K2SO4

 

0.33

Magnesium oxide

MgO

28.4

0.63

Manganese carbonate

MnCO3·H2O

3.5

0.051

Ferric citrate

FeC6H5O7·5H2O

24.0

0.173

Zinc carbonate

ZnO·2CO3·4H2O

1.6

0.031

Cupric carbonate, basic

CuCO3(OH)2·H2O

0.3

0.004

Potassium iodate

KIO3

0.08

0.002

Sodium selenite

Na2SeO3·5H2O

0.01

0.0001

Chromic potassium sulfate

CrK(SO4)·12H2O

0.55

0.0025

Sodium fluoride

NaF

0.063

0.001

Cobaltous chloride

CoCl2·6H2O

0.127

0.002

Sucrose powder

 

385.57

 

a Amount of element (boldface element in the formula) provided when 35 g of mix is added per kg diet.

SOURCE: Rutten and de Groot (1992).

CARBOHYDRATES

In hamsters fed diets containing 65 percent lactose or fructose, a mortality rate of 22 percent was observed, but only a 6 percent mortality rate was observed for hamsters fed 71 percent glucose, and 3 percent mortality with 62 percent sucrose (Gustafson et al., 1955). Salley and Bryson (1957) reduced mortality by decreasing the sugar to 54 percent and substituting either cornstarch or cellulose.

TABLE 5-5C Rutten and de Groot Vitamin Mix

 

Amount, per kg

 

Compound

Mix

Dieta

Retinyl palmitate/acetate

400,000.0 IU

4,000.0 IU

Cholecalciferol

248,000.0 IU

2,480.0 IU

All-rac-α-tocopheryl acetate

5,000.0 IU

50.0 IU

Menadione Na-bisulfite

0.4 g

0.004 g

Thiamin-HCl

2.0 g

0.020 g

Riboflavin

1.5 g

0.015 g

Pyridoxine-HCl

0.7 g

0.007 g

Nicotinic acid

9.0 g

0.090 g

Ca-d(+)-pantothenate

4.0 g

0.040 g

Folic acid

0.2 g

0.002 g

d(+)-Biotin

0.06 g

0.0006 g

B12

0.005 g

0.00005 g

Myo-inositol

10.0 g

0.1 g

Sucrose powder to 1 kg

 

 

a Amount of vitamin provided as IU or g when 10 g of mix is added per kg of diet.

SOURCE: Rutten and de Groot (1992).

Suggested Citation:"5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster." National Research Council. 1995. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4758.
×

TABLE 5-6A Hayes Purified Diet for Hamsters

Ingredient

Amount, g/kg diet

Casein

200.0

Glucose

170.0

Cornstarch (or rice flour)

366.0

Corn oil

50.0

Cellulose

100.0

Wheat bran

50.0

Mineral mixa

46.0

Vitamin mixb

12.0

Choline dihydrogen citratec

6.0

NOTE: Diets were fed as gel blocks, prepared by withholding from the formulation 60 g/kg of either rice flour or cornstarch and premixing it with 800 mL of water slowly heated to simmering to form a slurry that was then added to the remaining ingredients while mixing.

a Hayes Mineral Mix (Hayes et al., 1989). See Table 5-6B for composition of mix.

b Hayes-Cathcart Vitamin Mix. Mix modified based on K.C. Hayes, Brandeis University, personal communication (1993). See Table 5-6C for contents of mix.

c Used in place of choline chloride for increased stability.

SOURCE: Hayes et al. (1989).

TABLE 5-6B Hayes Mineral Mix

 

 

Amount, g/kg

 

Compound

Formula

Mix

Dieta

Calcium carbonate

CaCO3

290.4849

5.35

Calcium phosphate

CaHPO4·2H2O

72.5970

0.78

Calcium phosphate

CaHPO4·2H2O

 

0.60

Potassium phosphate

K2HPO4

314.2049

6.49

Potassium phosphate

K2HPO4

 

2.57

Magnesium sulfate

MgSO4·7H2O

98.732

0.45

Magnesium sulfate

MgSO4·7H2O

 

0.59

Sodium chloride

NaCl

162.3664

2.94

Sodium chloride

NaCl

 

4.53

Magnesium oxide

MgO

32.0395

0.87

Ferric citrate

FeC6H6O7·5H2O

27.0000

0.205

Potassium iodide

KI

0.0774

0.0008

Potassium iodide

KI

 

0.0027

Manganese sulfate

MnSO4H2O

1.2211

0.0183

Manganese sulfate

MnSO4H2O

 

0.0106

Zinc chloride

ZnCl2

0.9149

0.0202

Cupric sulfate

CuSO4·5H2O

0.2901

0.0034

Chromic acetate

Cr(C2H3O2)3

0.0443

0.00046

Sodium selenite

Na2SeO3

0.0043

0.00009

Sodium fluoride

NaF

0.0232

0.00046

a Amount of element (boldface in formula) provided when 46 g mix is added per kg diet.

SOURCE: Hayes et al. (1989), modified to correct published errors per K. C. Hayes, Brandeis University, personal communication, 1993. For correct version, see Hayes et al. (1993).

TABLE 5-6C Hayes-Cathcart Vitamin Mix

 

Amount

 

Compound

g/kg mix

mg/kg dieta

Retinyl palmitate (500,000 IU/g)

1.5

18.0 (9,000 IU)

Cholecalciferol (400,000 IU/g)

0.1

1.2 (480 IU)

All-rac-α-tocopheryl acetate (500 IU/g)

15.0 (7,500 IU)

180.0 (90 IU)

Menadione

0.2

2.4

Myo-inositol

5.0

60.0

Niacin

3.0

36.0

Ca-pantothenate

1.6

19.0

Folic acid

0.200

2.4

Riboflavin

0.700

8.4

Thiamin

0.600

7.2

Pyridoxine-HCl

0.700

8.4

Biotin

0.020

0.24

Cyanocobalamin

0.001

0.012

Choline dihydrogen citrate

0.000

6,000.0

Dextrin

971.379

 

a When vitamin mix is added at 12 g/kg diet.

SOURCE: Hayes et al. (1989).

TABLE 5-7A Natural-Ingredient Diet for Hamsters

Ingredients

Amount, g/kg diet

Alfalfa meal dehydrated (17% protein)

200.0

Corn, yellow dent ground grain

529.3

Soybean seed meal solv-extd (44% protein)

220.0

Dry beet molasses

7.0

Soybean oil

12.5

Salt

12.5

Dibasic calcium phosphate

18.0

Ground limestone

5.0

Trace mineral mixa

0.5

Vitamin mixb

0.8

Choline dihydrogen citratec

1.4

DL-Methionine

0.5

a Trace mineral mix formulated by E. A. Ulman provides minerals (g/kg): manganese (MnO2) 300; ferrous iron (FeSO4·7H2O) 570; zinc (ZnO) 97; copper (CuSo4),4; iodine (KIO3), 4.7; cobalt (CoCl2·6H2O), 3. For use, 0.5 g of mix is added per kg diet.

b Vitamin mix designed by E. A. Ulman for use with cereal-based diets provides vitamins (g/kg) when added at 0.8 g/kg diet: vitamin A palmitate, 500,000 IU/g, 2.2; vitamin D, 250,000 IU/g, 4.7; vitamin E acetate, 500 IU/g, 52; menadione sodium bisulfite (62.5% menadione), 2.9; niacin, 19.5; Ca-pantothenate, 11.7; thiamin-HCl, 13.0; pyridoxin-HCl, 2.2; riboflavin, 4.4; folic acid, 2.9; biotin (1% in dextrose), 9.1; cyanocobalamin (1% in mannitol), 2.6; sucrose, 872.8 to give a total 1,000 g of mix.

c More stable than choline chloride.

SOURCE: Birt and Conrad (1981).

Suggested Citation:"5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster." National Research Council. 1995. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4758.
×

TABLE 5-7B Trace Mineral Mix

 

 

Amount, g/kg

 

Compound

Formula

Mix

Dieta

Manganese dioxide

MnO2

300.0

0.095

Ferrous sulfate

FeSO4•7H2O

570.0

0.060

Zinc Oxide

ZnO

97.0

0.039

Cupric sulfate

CuSO4

24.0

0.0048

Potassium iodate

KIO3

4.7

0.0014

Cobaltous chloride

CoCl2•6H2O

4.3

0.0005

a Amount of element (boldface in formula) provided when 0.5 g mix is added per kg diet.

SOURCE: Formulation by E. A. Ulman based on Birt and Conrad (1981).

With purified, fiber-free diets containing 64 percent carbohydrate, cornstarch was superior to glucose or sucrose in supporting survival (Ershoff, 1956). Rice starch supported higher growth rates than lactose (Dam and Christensen, 1961). Rogers et al. (1974) obtained satisfactory growth in a long-term study when animals were fed a gel diet containing 40 percent cornstarch and 21.9 percent sucrose. Hayes et al. (1989) observed that ''wet tail" could be prevented by inclusion of rice flour, fiber, or lactose in gel diets. The implication is that diarrhea and "wet tail," commonly encountered in hamsters fed purified diets, results from an insufficient amount of complex carbohydrates (fiber, starch) reaching the large bowel flora.

PROTEIN AND AMINO ACIDS

Compared to a ruminant, fermentative digestion in the hamster is not sufficient to alter the pattern of dietary amino acids enough to improve growth of hamsters fed proteins such as wheat gluten (Banta et al., 1975). It seems that hamsters can make limited use of urea as a source of

TABLE 5-7C Vitamin Mix

 

Amount

 

Compound

g/kg mix

per kg dieta

Vitamin A palmitate 500,000 IU/kg

2.2

880.0 IU

Vitamin D2 50,000 IU/g

4.7

188.0 IU

Vitamin E acetate 500 IU/kg

52.0

20.8 IU

Menadione sodium bisulfite 62.5% menadione

2.9

1.5 mg

Nicotinic acid

19.5

15.6 mg

Ca-pantothenate

11.7

9.4 mg

Thiamin-HCl

13.0

10.4 mg

Pyridoxine-HCl

2.2

1.8 mg

Riboflavin

4.4

3.5 mg

Folic acid

2.9

2.3 mg

Biotin (1% in dextrose)

9.1

0.07 mg

Cyanocobalamin (1% in mannitol)

2.6

0.02 mg

Sucrose powder

872.8

 

a Value when mix is added at 0.8 g/kg diet.

SOURCE: Formulation by E. A. Ulman based on Birt and Conrad (1981). This vitamin mix is designed to be used with cereal-based diets.

dietary nitrogen (Matsumoto, 1955; Sakaguchi et al., 1981). However, fermentative digestion seems to suppress the anticipated response to supplementation of amino acids expected to improve growth (Arrington et al., 1966; Banta et al., 1975) and to decrease the toxicity of high dietary concentrations of L-phenylalanine (Horowitz and Waisman, 1966).

GROWTH

No studies to determine requirements for single amino acids or mixtures of amino acids were found. Studies that focused on protein requirements used variations in natural-ingredient diets or, in a few cases, used a single protein product at a series of dietary concentrations (Table 5-8). Protein requirements for growth reported here were ob-

TABLE 5-8 Protein Requirements

Strain

Growth, g/day

Protein Source

Amounts, %

Reference

Syrian

1.8–2.0

Corn, soybean, casein

13.7

Arrington et al., 1979

Ufnl:(SYR)a

 

 

 

 

Golden

1.8–1.9

Multiple natural-ingredients

20

Banta et al., 1975

Syrian

 

Wayne Lab Blox

24

Birt and Conrad, 1981

 

 

Teklad

22

Birt and Conrad, 1981

 

 

Corn-soybean

18

Birt and Conrad, 1981

 

1.8–1.9

Corn-soybean-alfalfa

18

Birt and Conrad, 1981

 

 

Multiple natural-ingredients

20

 

Syrian

1.2

Multiple natural-ingredients

18

Feldman et al., 1982

Lak:LVG (Syr)a

 

 

 

 

Syrian

1.4

Casein

18

Arrington et al., 1966

Syrian

1.4

Casein

18

Horowitz and Waisman, 1966

NOTE: In all studies, both males and females were used.

a Only groups identified as strains.

Suggested Citation:"5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster." National Research Council. 1995. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4758.
×

tained from studies that used both male and female 3- to 4-week-old hamsters weighing approximately 40 g. Growth rate varied from 1 to 2 g/day in experiments lasting 3 to 5 weeks in most cases. Arrington et al. (1979) found that diets containing 13.7 percent crude protein from mixtures of corn, soybean, and casein would support gains of 1.8 to 2 g/day in both male and female golden Syrian hamsters. Banta et al. (1975) reported growth rates of 1.8 to 1.9 g/day during a 6-week period using a natural-ingredient diet containing 20 percent crude protein. Birt and Conrad (1981) compared two commercial natural-ingredient diets with three formulated diets of increasing complexity and found that diets that contained 18 to 22 percent crude protein would support gains of 1.8 to 1.9 g/day in both male and female hamsters over a period of 6 weeks. However, Feldman et al. (1982) obtained maximum gains of only 1.2 g/day even when the natural-ingredient diets contained up to 24 percent crude protein. A natural-ingredient diet containing 18 percent crude protein should support growth rates approaching 2 g/day in weanling hamsters. Addition of semipurified proteins to natural-ingredient diets may reduce the amount of crude protein required to support the expected rates of growth.

In studies using semipurified sources of protein, Arrington et al. (1966) found that diets containing 18 percent casein resulted in growth of 1.4 g/day over 6 weeks. Additional experiments with diets containing 16 percent casein or soy protein isolate supported gains of 1.4 to 1.5 g/day in experiments lasting 5 weeks (Arrington et al., 1966). In another study using casein at 9, 18, or 25 percent of the diet, Horowitz and Waisman (1966) found that maximum gain (1.4 g/day) was obtained with 18 percent casein.

Variation in the age and size of hamsters used in the experiments reviewed make it difficult to determine whether lower rates of growth obtained when purified proteins were used is the result of the hamster or the diet. Addition of free amino acids to the diet to improve the dietary amino acid pattern and, hence, growth have not been successful. A form of encapsulated amino acid may be beneficial.

REPRODUCTION

Two studies focused on diet and reproduction in hamsters (Birt et al., 1982; Birt and Conrad, 1981). In one study (Birt and Conrad, 1981), the effects of five natural-ingredient diets containing from 18 to 24 percent crude protein (see, for example, Table 5-7A) were compared over three breeding cycles; reproductive performance of hamsters fed corn-soybean or corn-soybean-alfalfa meal diets containing 18 percent crude protein was equal to or exceeded that of hamsters fed either of two commercial natural-ingredient diets containing 22 to 24 percent crude protein. In the other study (Birt et al., 1982), which used lactalbumin at 20 and 40 percent of the diet as the sole source of protein, reproductive efficiency (pups weaned per mating) was 20 to 40 percent that of identical females fed the commercial diet.

Although no recommendation is made for the amount of purified protein required to support reproduction, a natural-ingredient diet containing 18 percent crude protein is thought to meet the amino acid needs for reproduction in hamsters.

MINERALS

Given their widespread use as experimental animals, there is a remarkable paucity of information about the mineral requirements of hamsters.

MACROMINERALS

Calcium and Phosphorus

Normal bone formation occurred in hamsters fed diets containing 6.0 g Ca/kg and 3.5 g P/kg. In the absence of vitamin D, rickets was produced in hamsters fed 4.7 g Ca/kg and 2.0 g P/kg diet (Jones, 1945). Old female hamsters fed diets containing 4.0 g P/kg and 3.0, 5.0, or 7.0 g Ca/kg were in positive calcium balance only at the two higher calcium intakes. Young animals (52 days old) retained calcium when fed 3.0, 5.0, and 7.0 g Ca/kg diet (Kane and McCay, 1947). Stralfors (1961) obtained a 54 percent decrease in the incidence of dental caries in hamsters when the calcium content of the diet was increased from 4.0 to 6.0 g Ca/kg.

Sodium and Chloride

Rowland and Fregly (1988) reported that hamsters, unlike rats, were reluctant to ingest NaCl either spontaneously or after treatment with several natriogenic stimuli that were effective in rats. Furthermore, they noted that variations in intake of NaCl solutions made hamsters extremely refractory to either decreases or increases in functional mineralocorticoid activity.

TRACE MINERALS

No studies were located that specifically addressed the dietary requirements of the hamster for iodine, molybdenum, and selenium or for iron.

Iodine, Molybdenum, and Selenium

Iodine, molybdenum, and selenium are trace elements essential for normal growth in laboratory animals. Birt et al.

Suggested Citation:"5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster." National Research Council. 1995. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4758.
×

(1986) determined that male and female golden hamsters fed a diet containing 30 percent torula yeast as the protein source and 0.1 mg Se (as sodium selenite)/kg diet supported adequate growth, and 5 mg Se/kg is excessive. The iodine requirement may be met by 0.15 mg I/kg diet, and the molybdenum requirement by 0.10 mg Mo/kg diet. The selenium requirement may be met by 0.15 mg Se/kg diet for maintenance, 0.20 for growth and aging, and 0.40 for pregnancy and lactation.

Signs of Iodine Deficiency Hamsters fed iodine-deficient diets (10 to 25 µg/kg) for several months developed enlarged thyroids when compared to controls fed adequate iodine (7.6 mg/kg) (Follis, 1959, 1962).

Iron

Signs of Iron Deficiency Chandler et al. (1988) reported that mild iron deficiency can be induced in adult males by feeding them a diet containing 10 mg Fe/kg for several weeks. Carpenter (1982) reported that feeding females a low-iron diet (3 mg Fe/kg) during pregnancy resulted in low maternal weight gain and a high frequency of prenatal mortality compared to controls.

VITAMINS

FAT-SOLUBLE VITAMINS

Vitamin A

The vitamin A requirement of golden hamsters seems to be only slightly greater than that of the rat. Hamsters fed a purified diet containing 2 mg retinyl palmitate/kg diet (3.8 µmol/kg) grew as well as animals fed a commercial natural-ingredient diet (Rogers et al., 1974). The hamsters had normal serum vitamin A concentrations and a very modest accumulation of vitamin A in the livers. Based on these studies the minimum amount of retinol that will maintain a slightly positive vitamin A balance is approximately 1.1 mg/kg diet (3.8 µmol/kg diet).

Signs of Vitamin A Deficiency Omission of vitamin A from a 24 percent-casein diet resulted in deficiency signs in 6 to 7 weeks. Vitamin A-deficient animals developed abnormally and had coarse and sparse hair, xerophthalmia, and keratinized stratified tracheal lining (Salley and Bryson, 1957). Stomach ulcers formed in adult male hamsters fed a vitamin A-deficient diet for 7 months (Harada et al., 1982).

Signs of Vitamin A Toxicity Hamsters fed a diet containing 400,000 IU vitamin A/kg (419 µmol/kg) developed liver pathology and died within 42 to 91 days. Animals fed 100,000 IU/kg diet (105 µmol/kg) and lower concentrations (4,000 and 600 IU/kg) showed no toxic effects (Beems et al., 1987).

Vitamin D

Overt signs of rickets did not appear within a 5-week period when hamsters were fed vitamin D-deficient diets that contained calcium and phosphorus in a ratio of 2:1 and calcium was included at 6 g/kg diet. Rickets may be induced in hamsters in the absence of vitamin D and when dietary calcium is 4 g/kg and phosphorus is 0.2 g/kg (Jones, 1945). No published reports on vitamin D deficiency or toxicity were found.

Vitamin E

In spite of several studies on vitamin E deficiency in hamsters and their use as an animal to bioassay compounds for vitamin E activity, data are not available to provide a good estimate of the vitamin E requirement of hamsters. Bieri and Evarts (1974) found that a diet containing 2.1 µmol/kg RRR-α-tocopheryl acetate/kg was adequate to prevent testicular degeneration in the rat. However, plasma creatine phosphokinase (CPK) concentrations were slightly higher at this concentration of intake. With higher dietary concentrations (6.3 µmol/kg), plasma CPK concentrations were normal (Bieri, 1972). Unfortunately the more sensitive criterion of vitamin E adequacy, such as the in vitro red blood cell hemolysis assay, has not been investigated in hamsters. In the rat 6.3 µmol RRR-α-tocopherol/kg diet may be adequate to prevent overt signs of vitamin E deficiency, but this concentration is quite likely not adequate for optimal performance. Therefore, 42 µmol RRR -α-tocopherol/kg diet (27 IU/kg), which is required by the rat, is probably a more realistic value.

A few breeding colonies have reported a higher-than-expected incidence of spontaneous hemorrhagic necrosis, a fatal disease that affects the central nervous system of fetal hamsters. Keeler and Young (1979) found that a single intraperitoneal injection of 100 µmol of vitamin E on day 7 of gestation protects fetuses from this disease. The problem may arise from improper storage of diets, which leads to destruction of vitamin E.

Signs of Vitamin E Deficiency The absence of vitamin E in their diet causes hamsters to develop testicular degeneration. Feeding a hamster 21 µmol RRR-α-tocopheryl acetate/day restores normal weight and testicular histology. In contrast, rats are unable to reverse vitamin E-induced testicular degeneration (Mason and Mauer, 1975). Vitamin E-deficient hamsters show decreased growth and muscular dystrophy, which can be alleviated by administering high

Suggested Citation:"5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster." National Research Council. 1995. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4758.
×

concentrations of vitamin E (West and Mason, 1958). Weanling hamsters fed a vitamin E-deficient diet developed muscular degeneration and died within 2 weeks. Improvement occurred within 30 hours after a single dose of 1 mg α-tocopherol (Houchin, 1942).

Vitamin K

No studies to ascertain the hamster's requirement for vitamin K could be found; however, Rogers et al. (1974) reported that a diet containing 4 mg menadione/kg (23 µmol/kg diet) was adequate for growth—the hamsters presumably received a considerable amount of vitamin K activity from coprophagy. No bleeding problems were reported. The Tolworth HS (Welsh) Warfarin-resistant strain of rats requires 1.77 µmol phylloquinone/kg BW/day (Greaves and Ayers, 1973). The vitamin K requirement of the hamster may be similar. Based on the requirement of the Tolworth HS (Welsh) Warfarin-resistant rat, 25 µmol phylloquinone/kg diet (11 mg/kg) should be a safe and adequate intake for hamsters.

Signs of Vitamin K Deficiency Adult male hamsters fed a vitamin K-deficient diet and housed in coprophagy-preventive cages showed a drop in prothrombin concentrations to 11 percent of control concentrations within 11 days. Treatment with chloro-K (2-chloro-3-phytyl-1,4-naphthoquinone), a vitamin K antagonist, at 1 to 5 mg chloro-K/kg BW decreased plasma prothrombin to 17 to 20 percent of control values. Hamsters are Warfarin resistant and require a large amount to reduce prothrombin production (Shah and Suttie, 1975).

WATER-SOLUBLE VITAMINS

Biotin

Satisfactory growth of hamsters has been obtained with diets containing 0.82 µmol biotin/kg (Cohen et al., 1971) and 2.5 µmol biotin/kg (Rogers et al., 1974). A dietary concentration of 0.2 mg/kg (0.82 µmol/kg) seems to be a safe and adequate amount of biotin for hamsters. Under normal conditions golden hamsters do not require dietary biotin (Granados, 1968). Apparently, the biotin obtained through coprophagy is sufficient to meet the requirement.

Signs of Biotin Deficiency A biotin deficiency is induced by feeding hamsters a diet containing both raw egg white and sulfaguanidine. Biotin-deficient animals developed dull rough coats, encrusted eyes, depigmented hair, and jerky movements. Daily injections of 16 nmol biotin (3.9 µg), equivalent to 0.66 mg/kg diet (2.7 µmol/kg), reversed deficiency signs within 4 to 6 weeks (Rauch and Nuting, 1958). Ten adult female hamsters fed a purified diet containing 5.0 mg biotin/kg diet produced 118 normal live fetuses; but 11 animals fed a biotin-deficient diet had 20 live fetuses (Watanabe and Endo, 1989).

Choline

Hamsters fed a peanut meal diet deficient in choline developed poor appetite, reduced growth, and fatty livers (Handler and Bernheim, 1949). Investigators who fed hamsters diets containing more than 200 g casein/kg did not observe a requirement for choline (Hamilton and Hogan, 1944). Purified diets on which hamsters have achieved satisfactory growth have contained 14 µmol choline chloride/kg diet (Rogers et al., 1974) or 7.1 µmol choline bitartrate/kg diet (Cohen et al., 1971). Under most circumstances 1.8 g choline bitartrate/kg diet should provide a safe and adequate intake of choline.

Folates

Golden hamsters fed 2 mg folic acid/kg diet (Cohen et al., 1971) do not develop folate deficiency. Folate deficiency does develop when golden hamsters are fed a purified diet containing 60 percent sucrose or 1 percent sulfonamide with either cornstarch or sucrose as the carbohydrate. Hamsters resemble guinea pigs rather than rats in that a folate deficiency can be produced without the use of sulfonamide.

Signs of Folate Deficiency In hamsters given a folate-deficient diet, liver folates are decreased to 10 percent of control and blood PCV and hemoglobin values are decreased 20 percent. In the deficient animal, increases are seen in urinary excretion of formiminoglutamic acid and aminoimidazolecarboxamide (Cohen et al., 1971).

Myo-inositol

Granados (1968) has stated that hamsters do not require Myo-inositol for normal growth. Hamilton and Hogan (1944) also demonstrated that myo-inositol is not required for growth but is necessary for reproduction.

Niacin

Young hamsters fed diets containing 20 percent casein do not require dietary niacin for growth (Hamilton and Hogan, 1944; Granados, 1951). Niacin is necessary, however, for normal reproduction and adequate litter size (Hamilton and Hogan, 1944).

Signs of Niacin Deficiency Hamsters fed a niacin-free, purified diet developed rough and denuded hair, suffered loss of weight and death. Hair quality and weight gain

Suggested Citation:"5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster." National Research Council. 1995. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4758.
×

improved with daily administration of 100 µg niacin (Routh and Houchin, 1942). Niacin supplementation does not improve growth of hamsters fed 20 percent casein (Hamilton and Hogan, 1944; Granados, 1951). However, niacin probably will be required in diets with low concentrations of protein or diets in which tryptophan is first limiting. Animals fed purified diets containing 81 µmol niacin/kg achieved satisfactory growth rates over 11 weeks (Cohen et al., 1971).

Pantothenic Acid

Routh and Houchin (1942), Hamilton and Hogan (1944), Granados (1951), and Cohen et al. (1963) identified pantothenic acid as a nutrient required for normal growth. Nevertheless, the requirement for this vitamin has not been quantified in the hamster. Concentrations of dietary Ca-pantothenate from 21 µmol/kg (Hamilton and Hogan, 1944) to 84 µmol/kg diet (Rogers et al., 1974) have been used in purified diets. None of the investigators indicated whether the type used was Ca-d-pantothenate or Ca-dl-pantothenate. Thus, 21 µmol Ca-d-pantothenate/kg diet (10 mg/kg diet) seems to be a safe and adequate concentration of pantothenic acid activity.

Signs of Pantothenic Acid Deficiency In the absence of pantothenic acid, hamsters lost weight, developed a red encrustation around the mouth, and died in 20 days. Daily injections of 15 µg Ca-pantothenate supported maintenance, but larger doses were needed for growth (Routh and Houchin, 1942).

Vitamin B6

Male weanling hamsters fed a pyridoxine-deficient diet for 2 to 3 weeks decreased their food and water intake and stopped growing. No quantitative requirement for vitamin B6 can be set at this time.

Signs of Vitamin B6 Deficiency In addition to weight loss, the hair of vitamin B6-deficient hamsters was unkempt, and crusted lesions were occasionally observed on lips and mouth. Increased xanthurenic acid was found in urine. Atrophy of lymphoid tissue, particularly in the thymus, is an outstanding pathological change (Schwartzman and Strauss, 1949). In the absence of vitamin B6, hamsters lose weight and develop an acrodynia-like condition around the mouth in less than 2 weeks. A daily dose of 3 µg pyridoxine cured the dermatitis and produced moderate growth (Rouch and Houchin, 1942).

Riboflavin

Riboflavin is required for normal growth and development of hamsters, but no quantitative requirement has been established (Hamilton and Hogan, 1944; Granados, 1968). Deficiency signs did not occur in animals fed 20 mg/kg diet (Smith and Reynolds, 1961). Riboflavin depletion (measured by erythrocyte glutathione reductase) was produced in hamsters fed two concentrations of riboflavin—0.5 and 1.5 mg/kcal—in a liquid diet. Decreased growth was observed at the lower dose (Kim and Roe, 1985). Thus, a diet containing 15 mg/kg should be sufficient to support normal growth in hamsters.

Signs of Riboflavin Deficiency In the absence of dietary riboflavin, hamsters reduced their food and water intake, became inactive, showed stunted growth, and developed dull coats (Smith and Reynolds, 1961).

Thiamin

Thiamin is necessary for normal growth, but the specific requirement has not been established. Satisfactory growth has been obtained with purified diets containing 20 mg thiamin/kg diet (Arrington et al., 1966).

Signs of Thiamin Deficiency Hamsters fed 4 mg thiamin/kg diet developed a chronic deficiency (Salley et al., 1962). Hamsters fed a thiamin-deficient diet developed polyneuritis in 12 days. Oral administration of 3 µg thiamin/day reversed these signs in 2 days (Routh and Houchin, 1942).

Vitamin B12

Early reports concluded that vitamin B12 is not required for normal growth of golden hamsters (Scheid et al., 1950; Granados, 1951). Hamsters fed a diet high in soybean protein and cornstarch showed a mild vitamin B12 deficiency identified by the presence of distinctive metabolites (methylmalonic acid and formiminoglutamic acid) in urine (Cohen et al., 1967). Metabolic changes in deficient animals were corrected by feeding them a diet containing 10 µg vitamin B12/kg diet. The inclusion of inorganic cobalt (5 mg/kg diet) in the diet reversed deficiency changes and increased tissue storage of vitamin B12 (Tseng et al., 1976).

POTENTIALLY BENEFICIAL DIETARY CONSTITUENTS

FIBER

Fiber-free diets containing high concentrations of purified sugars result in high mortality (Salley and Bryson, 1957). The substitution of cornstarch for glucose and sucrose or addition of 12 to 20 percent alfalfa to diets increased survival (Ershoff, 1956). Basal diets containing

Suggested Citation:"5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster." National Research Council. 1995. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4758.
×

starch or lactose may not require fiber additions because these ingredients support favorable microflora in the colon (Snog-Kjaer et al., 1963; Hayes et al., 1989). Microoorganisms present in the cecum and colon seem to be capable of degrading fiber sources (Banta et al., 1975; Vorontsov, 1979). Hamsters, like other rodents, practice coprophagy (von Frisch, 1990).

ASCORBIC ACID

Early work suggested that golden hamsters do not require a dietary source of ascorbic acid (Clausen and Clark, 1943). Male hamsters fed a purified diet supplemented with 4.0 mg ascorbic acid/g diet gained 1.07 g/day with a food intake of 3.5 g/day. Growth curves overlapped; curves for supplemented animals were slightly above those of controls, which were fed diets containing no ascorbic acid. None of the animals weighed more than 96 g after 120 days. Poiley (1972) reported average male weight as 122 g at 112 days (Table 5-4).

Forty female hamsters fed a diet scorbutic for guinea pigs were given daily supplements of ascorbic acid in water by pipette according to the weight/dose chart of Dann and Cowgill (1935). Controls received this diet and an equal amount of water. At 70 days average weights were 105.6 g with a 0.3 mg dose, 99.4 g with a 0.65 mg dose, and 91.0 g with 0.9 mg dose per 100-g animal per day. Controls fed water and a diet scorbutic for guinea pigs averaged 88.5 g. Animals fed water and a diet supplemented with lettuce averaged 92.3 g (Hovde, 1950). Poiley (1972) reported, on average, females weighed 103 g at 70 days.

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Suggested Citation:"5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster." National Research Council. 1995. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4758.
×

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×

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Suggested Citation:"5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster." National Research Council. 1995. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4758.
×

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Suggested Citation:"5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster." National Research Council. 1995. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4758.
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Suggested Citation:"5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster." National Research Council. 1995. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4758.
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Suggested Citation:"5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster." National Research Council. 1995. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4758.
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Suggested Citation:"5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster." National Research Council. 1995. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4758.
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Suggested Citation:"5 Nutrient Requirements of the Hamster." National Research Council. 1995. Nutrient Requirements of Laboratory Animals,: Fourth Revised Edition, 1995. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4758.
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In the years since the third edition of this indispensable reference was published, a great deal has been learned about the nutritional requirements of common laboratory species: rat, mouse, guinea pig, hamster, gerbil, and vole.

The Fourth Revised Edition presents the current expert understanding of the lipid, carbohydrate, protein, mineral, vitamin, and other nutritional needs of these animals. The extensive use of tables provides easy access to a wealth of comprehensive data and resource information. The volume also provides an expanded background discussion of general dietary considerations.

In addition to a more user-friendly organization, new features in this edition include:

  1. A significantly expanded section on dietary requirements for rats, reporting substantial new findings.
  2. A new section on nutrients that are not required but that may produce beneficial results.

New information on growth and reproductive performance among the most commonly used strains of rats and mice and on several hamster species.

  1. An expanded discussion of diet formulation and preparation--including sample diets of both purified and natural ingredients.
  2. New information on mineral deficiency and toxicity, including warning signs.

This authoritative resource will be important to researchers, laboratory technicians, and manufacturers of laboratory animal feed.

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