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#90303 - 03/23/06 05:32 AM Protein assimilation

I was wondering about the assimilation of proteins in sugar gliders as some people seem to experience difficulties with their gliders not eating meat or insects.

Human beings need to eat amino acids in order to form proteins. These amino acids can be found in meat but also in cereals, beans, fruits and veggies in lesser amount.
The advantage of meat (or animal related food) is that you find in it all the amino acids you need to form proteins.

As a vegetarian, I don't eat meat. If I combine food (cereals+beans for example) I know I get all needed amino acids to form proteins.

Is it the same for gliders? Or do they need all the amino acids in one food in order to make proteins? Can they process amino acids from distinct sources of food and still get their proteins?

PS: Don't worry, I'm not planning to turn my gliders into vegetarians <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> They are too cute eating their crickets and mealies <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/heartpump.gif" alt="" />

#90304 - 03/23/06 08:26 AM Re: Protein assimilation [Re: ]

I'm a little confused.
Do you mean, is it necessary to stick with one protein source?
I feed my gliders a variety of protein sources and they do well.
I use chicken, eggs, and insects.

#90305 - 03/23/06 10:19 AM Re: Protein assimilation [Re: ]

Sorry I don't express myself very well. I don't mean to say that they only need one source of protein, I imagine the most you vary the sources, the better <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> What I was thinking is that maybe gliders who don't eat insects nor meats (whatever the reason) may still get enough proteins if they get amino acids from other foods (such as cereals).

I'm afraid I'm confusing you more <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif" alt="" />

#90306 - 03/23/06 10:55 AM Re: Protein assimilation [Re: ]

Yes, all proteins are made up of amino acid chains.

Now, every species has their set list of essential amino acids, i.e. amino acids that they require from the diet and cannot synthesize themselves. If an animal doesn't take in one of its essential amino acids, its protein synthesis is impaired.

For humans, there are 8 essential amino acids: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Now, the issue we've been having with the gliders, particularly here on GC is that we don't know the exact essential amino acids of gliders, however, I'm sure there have been studies perhaps in Oz on that sort of thing. It would be useful information in light of the fact that we genreally know the amino acid make up of several foods and could determine which foods would be sufficient protein sources.

At the present, through successful trial and error, it seems the best and most widely-used protein sources for gliders are meats, pollen, insects, eggs, and other remote things like soy protein from Wombaroo products. Since they thrive off such protein sources, it can be concluded that they provide our gliders all the essential amino acids. If you're wondering what protein sources wild gliders feed off, it's arthropods and pollen.

Furthermore, knowing what gliders' essential amino acids are has always been of interest for me here, because with that you can also calculate things like the total mass requirement of a particular daily protein source a glider requires based on its body weight. If you use the search function here on GC you may find a mathematical formula that we worked with, derived from one of Pocket's references as well as from a publication called Marsupial Nutrition (Thanks Ern!), where we are able to calculate the total usable protein mass required for a glider. It's interesting because for those who seek to refine the proven diets, one can use that information to formulate how much of what protein source can be used to provide our gliders the correct amount of protein they need, and not have to worry about over or under protein supplimentation. However, without a knowledge on what the exact amino acids are for the species Petaurus breviceps, this is impossible to do.

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

#90307 - 03/23/06 12:46 PM Re: Protein assimilation [Re: ]

lol, I knew that this was soooo the question for you Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

#90308 - 03/23/06 12:52 PM Re: Protein assimilation [Re: ]

Oh, and I neglected to mention an important supplier of amino acids for my gliders! Pollen! They eat lots of that.

If your gliders aren't into meat or insects, try scrambled eggs. Some glider supplements like Wombaroo use isolated soy protein as the protein source. You can purchase Wombaroo online, but I'm not sure about it's availability to France. Most gliders go nuts for bee pollen. I know that there is a place that ships internationally here in the US, but it's very expensive. You should be able to find it in France. Just be sure not to buy the cheap pollen. Look for quality and proper airtight packaging.

Also, as far as insects go, sometimes you have to ease them into eating them. Try breaking the bugs open and letting them taste the insides. Sometimes they want to see motion. Glider instinct will sometimes kick in when they see a bug jumping or wriggling around. Good luck.

#90309 - 03/23/06 06:41 PM Re: Protein assimilation [Re: ]

<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/offtopic.gif" alt="" /> LOL Everytime I talk about pollen or acacia on these boards, Ern, your gliders always come to my mind! Speaking of which I wonder when they're going to include Big_Ern's diet in the diet links page.

Anyway, to get back on track, I concur with Ern in that pollen has definitely proven to be a great protein source for the gliders. In Marsupial Nutrition it was mentioned that wild gliders in a study were observed to feed exclusively on pollen at certain months of the year and would meet all their protein requirements, and they even seemed to prefer pollen despite the fact that insects and other arthropods were available to the gliders.

That piece of info speaks volumes!

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

#90310 - 03/24/06 04:16 AM Re: Protein assimilation [Re: ]

Thanks a lot guys for all this very interesting information. Actually, my gliders love crickets, mealies, locusts, etc. So I don't really worry about their getting enough proteins. And they are healthy gliders too <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Bee pollen? Can you just buy the dry sort or does it have to be fresh? I know where I can find dry bee pollen (supermarket organic food department). But maybe its quality is lesser than that of fresh bee pollen? Can it be any kind of bee pollen or does it have to be acacia pollen or something else? Are there any no-no bee pollens? I imagine it's like honey: you can have all sorts of flowers and trees.

That would be great to feed them this <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

#90311 - 03/24/06 05:48 AM Re: Protein assimilation [Re: ]
Charlie H Offline
Glider Slave

Registered: 11/13/03
Posts: 1659
Loc: Wallis Texas
</font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr />
In Marsupial Nutrition it was mentioned that wild gliders in a study were observed to feed exclusively on pollen at certain months of the year and would meet all their protein requirements, and they even seemed to prefer pollen despite the fact that insects and other arthropods were available to the gliders.

Mikey things are not always as they appear. A lot of the observations made of wild animals can be very deceiving. Who is to say the gliders were not after the nectar in the flowers and the pollen was just accidentally ingested in the process.

To a casual observer a woodpecker would appear to be eating trees when it is actually after the insects. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" /> Keep in mind that a lot of the studies done on wild animals are made by graduate students that may have very little experience with life in the wild. The studies have been collected together and published under the name of one author who probably did not participate in most of the studies at all.
Charlie H
Rescue & Rehabilation

#90312 - 03/24/06 06:18 AM Re: Protein assimilation [Re: ]

I hear you Charlie, but the fact is the gliders still met their protein requirements from ingesting the pollen, and not the insects, even if the main objective was to get the nectar. It should also cause one to ask why the gliders would stop feeding on insects at that time (even if they're only after the nectar), no?

Anyway, it's yet another example of a simple principle found everywhere in nature that drives many biological processes, where an organism's main objective doesn't necessarily correspond with the benefit. Nearly all ant species, for instance, tend their young not because they rationalize that it would be great for the continuation of their species' survival, but because the young release a sweet secretion from their skin and it encourages the ants to continually lick the young and prevent things like fungal infection.

When I mentioned that the study's info speaks volumes with regards to that statement, I was reffering to the fact that pollen is undeniably a principal protein source for wild gliders, and they feed on it (and for months, on no other protein source including insects, etc) for months at a time, and remain healthy and obtain all their protein requirements from it, and it's irrelevant whether or not the gliders are after the pollen or the nectar or anything else. They consume the pollen and gain nourishment from the pollen, and that's what I find critical here.

It suggests that pollen contains all the essential amino acids gliders need. It's no surprise to me seeing as Banksia pollen, for instance, contains 17 of all 20 amino acids in existence.

And yes, the study in reference was conducted by two other marsupiologists in the 80's, whose names I no longer have because I recently mailed back Ern's copy of Marsupial Nutrition which I promised to mail back to him a year ago, but my relationship with the boook grew strong and I finally summoned the will to return it to its owner, but not without memorizing its contents as much I could! LOL.

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

#90313 - 03/24/06 06:31 AM Re: Protein assimilation [Re: ]

Ganesh, Big_Ern would be able to suggest where to get the best pollen and give you some good advice. I believe he feeds his gliders bee pollen from Australian acacia.

Lord, bless the SEARCH function... I found the following...

For future references here are some quotes from studies on wild gliders and their wild diets listed in Marsupial Nutrition...

"...In [New South Wales], the most observed foraging behaviour was of feeding at Banksia and Eucalyptus flowers for nectar and pollen. All feces collected in summer, winter and spring had pollen in them... Eucalypt pollen was found mainly in summer, where as Banksia pollen occured during winter, corresponding with the main flowering periods of the two genera..." (Marsupial Nutrition, Ian D Hume 1999, pg 100)

A reference regarding to the importance of pollen as an important protein source for gliders...

"Arthropods (beetles, moths, and spiders) were an important food item also in autumn, when pollen availability was lowest..." (Ian D. Hume, pg 101)

Here's another one...

"...Pollen, which was available most of the year, appeared to be preferred, even in summer when arthropods were presumably abundant. When visiting flowers, sugar gliders can obtain both protein and energy by foraging on both pollen and nectar. On average 34% of eucalyptus pollen and 71% of Banksia pollen in feces was devoid of contents indicating that sugar gliders could access the contents of pollen grains as a source of protein (Howard 1989). Van Tets & Whelan (1997) found similar proportion (66%) of Banksia pollen grains in the feces of sugar gliders near Wollongong, south of Sydney, to be empty..." (Ian D. Hume, pg. 101)

In addition to the above, here's a reference from a scientific publication and study on Wild Gliders and Pollen posted by Monster awhile back:

"Furthermore, laboratory
studies have demonstrated that at least three mammal
species (P breviceps, S australis and the Amencan
microchiropteran bat, Leptonycteris sanbornu) were
able to mamtain nitrogen balance on diets m which
pollen was the only protein source (Howell 1974, Smith
and Green 1987, Law 1992b)."

(note: "Nitrogen balance" refers to proper protein synthesis in the body, which indicates that protein requirements were met from the pollen.)

Anyone interested on the topic can read this thread from last year:

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

#90314 - 04/06/06 03:25 AM Re: Protein assimilation [Re: ]
Pockets Offline
Glider Slave

Registered: 01/02/00
Posts: 2092
Loc: Lone Star State
LOL Hi Mikey

</font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr />
Ian Hume is Challis Professor of Biology at the University of Sydney. He has carried out research in the field of comparative nutrition in the USA, Germany, Sudan and Japan, as well as in Australia. His book Digestive Physiology and Nutrition of Marsupials (1982) won the Whitley Award for the Best Text Book from the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales. He has also co-authored Comparative Physiology of the Vertebrate Digestive System (1995), and co-edited Possums and Gliders (1984), and Kangaroos, Wallabies and Rat-kangaroos (1984). Professor Hume is currently a managing editor of Journal of Comparative Physiology B and his research has been widely published in many international journals.

<hr /></blockquote><font class="post">

Many of the <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/littleglider.gif" alt="" /> studies & research I have posted here thru the years have been studies from captive <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/littleglider.gif" alt="" />'s in Oz & have been located in publications from Oz.

Proud & long-standing member of the Marsupial Society of Australia


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