Fully fed piglets (28 days old, 7-8 kg) bearing portal, arterial, and gastric catheters and a portal flow probe were infused with enteral [U-(13)C]glutamate (n = 4), enteral [U-(13)C]glucose (n = 4), intravenous [U-(13)C]glucose (n = 4), or intravenous [U-(13)C]glutamine (n = 3). A total of 94% of the enteral [U-(13)C]glutamate but only 6% of the enteral [U- (13)C]glucose was utilized in first pass by the portal-drained viscera (PDV). The PDV extracted 6.5% of the arterial flux of [U-(13)C]glucose and 20.4% of the arterial flux of [U-(13)C]glutamine. The production of (13)CO(2) (percentage of dose) by the PDV from enteral glucose (3%), arterial glucose (27%), enteral glutamate (52%), and arterial glutamine (70%) varied widely. The substrates contributed 15% (enteral glucose), 19% (arterial glutamine), 29% (arterial glucose), and 36% (enteral glutamate) of the total production of CO(2) by the PDV. Enteral glucose accounted for 18% of the portal alanine and 31% of the portal lactate carbon outflow. We conclude that, in vivo, three-fourths of the energy needs of the PDV are satisfied by the oxidation of glucose, glutamate, and glutamine, and that dietary glutamate is the most important single contributor to mucosal oxidative energy generation.