Energetic metabolism and biochemical adaptation: A bird flight muscle model

Authors

  • Pierre Rioux,

    Corresponding author
    1. Département de Biologie, Université du Québec à Rimouski, allée des Ursulines, Rimouski Qc Canada G5L 3A1
    • Département de Biologie, Université du Québec à Rimouski, allée des Ursulines, Rimouski Qc Canada G5L 3A1. Fax: 418-724-1849
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  • Pierre U. Blier

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratoire de biologie évolutive, allée des Ursulines, Rimouski Qc Canada G5L 3A1
    • Laboratoire de biologie évolutive, allée des Ursulines, Rimouski Qc Canada G5L 3A1. Fax: 418-724-1849
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  • Financial support for this work was provided by the Fonds de développement pédagogique from the Université du Québec à Rimouski.

Abstract

The main objective of this class experiment is to measure the activity of two metabolic enzymes in crude extract from bird pectoral muscle and to relate the differences to their mode of locomotion and ecology. The laboratory is adapted to stimulate the interest of wildlife management students to biochemistry. The enzymatic activities of cytochrome c oxidase and lactate dehydrogenase are measured in pectoral muscle of black duck and ring-necked pheasant. The black ducks have a high cytochrome c oxidase/lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) ratio, which reflects high aerobic capacity required for sustained and long distance flight. The low cytochrome c oxidase/LDH ratio in ring-necked pheasants and high level of LDH activity suggest that this bird can only support short bursts of flight, which may be related to his strategy of predator avoidance.

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