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Calculating food consumption in the laboratory: a formula to adjust for natural weight loss


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Candy, SG and Baker, SC 2002 , 'Calculating food consumption in the laboratory: a formula to adjust for natural weight loss' , Australian Journal of Entomology, vol. 41, No. 2 , pp. 170-173 , doi: 10.1046/j.1440-6055.2002.00285.x.

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We derive a formula for correcting the weight of food eaten by an animal for natural weight loss (or gain) of
the food, such as through moisture loss and food respiration. The formula is derived using a differential
equation to model the loss in fresh weight based on a constant consumption rate and assumptions about the
form of the function for weight loss over time of the aliquot. The standard formula is shown to over-estimate
the weight of eaten food compared to our theoretically derived formula. This over-estimation is negligible
(< 0.2%) for moisture loss below about 10% but increases sharply to 8% when moisture loss is 50%. We
illustrate the application of these two formulae using a laboratory study of consumption rate by larvae of a
phytophagous insect: the Tasmanian eucalyptus leaf beetle, Chrysophtharta bimaculata (Olivier) (Coleoptera:

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Candy, SG and Baker, SC
Journal or Publication Title: Australian Journal of Entomology
DOI / ID Number: 10.1046/j.1440-6055.2002.00285.x
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