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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Mechanisms and consequences of compensatory growth in ruminants

INRA Prod. Anim., 16(1), 49-59.

T. HOCH, C. BEGON, I. CASSAR-MALEK, B. PICARD, I. SAVARY-AUZELOUX

INRA, Unité de Recherche sur les Herbivores, Theix, 63122 Saint-Genès Champanelle

Abstract 

An alternation of low and high value diets, voluntaryor not, generates a compensatory growth phenomenon.Although this has been studied for a long time, recentresearch deserves to be synthesized, which is the subjectof the present paper. More particularly, theinfluence of successive phases of restriction and re-feedingon the final quality of the products represents aninnovative aspect of the research in this field.Moreover, more is known about the hormonal mechanismsrelated to compensatory growth. These mechanismsare responsible for the orientation of energy andprotein metabolism towards an increase in proteinaccretion during compensatory growth. The influenceof compensation on the final body composition of theanimal is low even though some authors describe leaneranimals at the end of a compensation phase. As formuscle characteristics, changes induced by a nutritionalrestriction are often reversible and cancelled bycompensation. However, some studies point out animprovement in the final sensorial meat properties,more particularly tenderness. These results are notclear-cut but justify the interest on studies linking discontinuousgrowth and muscle and meat characteristics.Further development of the researches in this fieldis considered.

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