Measuring energy expenditure in birds using bolus injections of 13C-labelled Na-bicarbonate

Catherine Hambly, Christian C Voigt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The (13)C-labelled Na-bicarbonate technique uses stable isotopes to measure energy expenditure in birds. After administration, the isotopes reach equilibrium within the body's bicarbonate pools at a fast rate due to the small size of the bicarbonate pool in relation to CO(2) flux. This technique is therefore ideal for measuring energy expenditure over short-term activities. The major advantage of this technique is that it can be applied without the animal having to wear a respirometry mask or being enclosed in a respirometry chamber. Despite the technique's suitability for use in birds and other animals, there have been few studies that have used it to date and so its potential is not fully understood. Here we discuss the methodology and review previous applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-328
Number of pages6
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Issue number3
Early online date25 May 2010
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • labelled Na-bicarbonate technique
  • birds
  • flight
  • energy expenditure


Dive into the research topics of 'Measuring energy expenditure in birds using bolus injections of 13C-labelled Na-bicarbonate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this