Avoiding toxic levels of essential minerals: A forgotten factor in deer diet preferences.

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dc.contributor.author Ceacero, F.
dc.contributor.author Landete-Castillejos, T.
dc.contributor.author Olguín, A.
dc.contributor.author Miguel, V.
dc.contributor.author Gallego, L.
dc.contributor.author Miranda, M.
dc.contributor.author García, A.
dc.contributor.author Martínez, A.
dc.contributor.author Cassinello, J.
dc.date.accessioned 2016-06-03T08:04:46Z
dc.date.available 2016-06-03T08:04:46Z
dc.date.issued 2015-01
dc.identifier.citation Ceacero, F. et al. 2015. Avoiding toxic levels of essential minerals: A forgotten factor in deer diet preferences. PLoS ONE 15(1). en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 1932-6203
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/20416
dc.description.abstract Ungulates select diets with high energy, protein, and sodium contents. However, it is scarcely known the influence of essential minerals other than Na in diet preferences. Moreover, almost no information is available about the possible influence of toxic levels of essential minerals on avoidance of certain plant species. The aim of this research was to test the relative importance of mineral content of plants in diet selection by red deer (Cervus elaphus) in an annual basis. We determined mineral, protein and ash content in 35 common Mediterranean plant species (the most common ones in the study area). These plant species were previously classified as preferred and non-preferred. We found that deer preferred plants with low contents of Ca, Mg, K, P, S, Cu, Sr and Zn. The model obtained was greatly accurate identifying the preferred plant species (91.3% of correct assignments). After a detailed analysis of these minerals (considering deficiencies and toxicity levels both in preferred and non-preferred plants) we suggest that the avoidance of excessive sulphur in diet (i.e., selection for plants with low sulphur content) seems to override the maximization for other nutrients. Low sulphur content seems to be a forgotten factor with certain relevance for explaining diet selection in deer. Recent studies in livestock support this conclusion, which is highlighted here for the first time in diet selection by a wild large herbivore. Our results suggest that future studies should also take into account the toxicity levels of minerals as potential drivers of preferences. en_ZA
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Public Library of Science en_ZA
dc.subject animal food en_ZA
dc.subject Article en_ZA
dc.subject ash en_ZA
dc.subject controlled study en_ZA
dc.subject food composition en_ZA
dc.subject food preference en_ZA
dc.subject mineral deficiency en_ZA
dc.subject nonhuman en_ZA
dc.subject plant en_ZA
dc.subject protein content en_ZA
dc.subject red deer en_ZA
dc.subject shrub en_ZA
dc.subject tree en_ZA
dc.subject calcium en_ZA
dc.subject copper en_ZA
dc.subject magnesium en_ZA
dc.subject mineral en_ZA
dc.subject phosphorus en_ZA
dc.subject potassium en_ZA
dc.subject strontium en_ZA
dc.subject sulfur en_ZA
dc.subject zinc en_ZA
dc.subject Cervidae en_ZA
dc.subject Cervus elaphus en_ZA
dc.subject Ungulata en_ZA
dc.title Avoiding toxic levels of essential minerals: A forgotten factor in deer diet preferences. en_ZA
dc.type Article en_ZA

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