Exchanges of water and certain water-soluble minerals during passage of digesta through the stomach compartments of young ruminating bovines

Br J Nutr. 1986 Jan;55(1):157-68. doi: 10.1079/bjn19860019.


1. Four ruminating bull calves were provided with cannulas in the rumen and abomasum and a sleeve sutured at the omosal-abomasal orifice that permitted digesta flowing from the omasum to be diverted and collected. 2. The calves were each given in turn a high-roughage (HR) and high-concentrate (HC) diet consisting mainly of dried grass and flaked maize in the proportions 3:2 and 1:2 by weight respectively. Water-soluble non-absorbable marker (polyethylene glycol) was also given and the diets were sometimes supplemented with magnesium sulphate. For each diet (HR(0), HR(Mg), HC(0), HC(Mg], collections were made from the rumen, reticulum, omasal outflow and abomasum, and flows of water, sodium, potassium and chloride calculated at these sites relative to intakes. 3. The general pattern of net exchange was similar for all the diets. Substantial additions of water and Na, a small addition of K and a small absorption of Cl occurred between mouth and reticulum. Substantial (approximately 40-60%) absorption of water and Na, a small absorption of K and considerable secretion of Cl occurred in the omasum. Quantitative comparisons indicated that addition of water and Na up to the reticulum, presumably in saliva, was significantly greater for the HR than the HC diets. Addition of Mg appeared to stimulate absorption of Na and water up to the reticulum for unknown reasons. Re-absorption of these components in the omasum varied for different calves and diets but appeared to be influenced primarily by a positive linear relation between amounts of digesta flowing into the omasum and amounts of water and Na absorbed from it. The proportion of water absorbed also increased with increasing entry rates of water. 4. Other findings showed that pH values rose slightly (about 0.2 pH units) but significantly in the reticulum compared with the rumen and that the value fell again by about the same amount during the passage of digesta through the omasum. Changes between omasal outflow and the abomasum were as expected, with marked additions of Cl, Na and water and a fall in pH.

MeSH terms

  • Abomasum / metabolism*
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Body Water / metabolism*
  • Cattle
  • Chlorides / analysis
  • Diet
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Transfer
  • Gastrointestinal Contents / analysis
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Male
  • Minerals / metabolism*
  • Omasum / metabolism*
  • Potassium / analysis
  • Rumen / metabolism*
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Sodium / analysis
  • Solubility


  • Chlorides
  • Minerals
  • Sodium
  • Potassium