Chronoorchestration of Ruminant Voluntary Food Intake: A Novel Authority

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Chronoorchestration of Ruminant Voluntary Food Intake: A Novel Authority

Corresponding authorDr. Akbar Nikkhah, Chief Highly Distinguished Professor, Foremost Principal Highly DistinguishedElite-Generating Scientist, Department of Animal Sciences, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Zanjan, National EliteFoundation, Iran, E-mail:


Chronophysiology is an evolutionary pragmatic interscience that helps ruminants cope with the fluctuating environment. In light of the most recent discoveries on feeding and eating timing-orchestration of postprandial intake and rumen fermentation patterns, an innovative perspective is born to analyze chronophysiology as a major organizer of voluntary nutrient intake (VNI). This article elaborates on this postmodern innovation.

Keywords: Chronophysiology, Ruminant, Nutrient intake, Circadian pattern

Pragmatic Innovation and Discussion

Quantitative evaluation of the factors regulating VNI in high-producing ruminants is of high priority, as it enables proper modeling and adequately accurate predictions of feed intake especially during critical physiological conditions [1,2]. However, due the multitude of effectors under varying farm, diet and animal conditions, securing reasonable accuracy has been an enormous challenge [3-6].

Recent discoveries on timing of feeding-eating mediation of postprandial and circadian patterns of feed intake in lactating dairy cows, has opened new windows into VNI regulation [7,8]. The fact that night-fed cows consume feed more rapidly shortly post-feeding compared to morning-fed cows suggests that the mechanisms regulating VNI differ in nature and magnitude depending on time of the 24-h period.

The path of evolution has equipped ruminants with biological tools to effectively ferment and degrade plant cell walls and be able to survive in such a natural wild environment. As such, ruminants developed significant capacities to regurgitate the ingesta and rechew for sufficient microbial adherence and fermentation. This development has followed the circadian nature of life on earth, regulated to possess almost 24-h rhythms. The phenomenon made it possible for ruminants to graze often at sunrise and sunset and also voluntarily during day to be able to ruminate later in evening and overnight when they rest under relaxed and safe conditions far from any threats from predators. Modernity, however, has somehow interfered with such rhythmic behaviors, but indeed has not totally changed them. These effects need to be quantified for accurate determination of feeding and eating timing effects on daily and rhythmic feed intake regulation. Timing of feed provision and thus eating activity does noticeably modify postprandial rhythms of intake, rumen fermentation, splanchnoperipheral metabolites, and thus
productivity and health [7-10].


A new innovative science is being developed to establish the impact of chronophysiological management of ruminants on VNI regulation both accumulatively and rhythmically. Timing of feeding, milking, treating, grouping and other farm essentialities will be viewed within this chronophysiological framework. The goal is to more accurately predict nutrient intake under varying farm, diet and animal conditions.


The Ministry of Science Research and Technology, National Elite Foundation, Isfahan University of Technology and University of Zanjan are thanked for supporting the author’s global programs of optimizing the new millennium science edification.


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6.Nikkhah A, Furedi C, Kennedy A, Wittenberg K, Plaizier JC. Feed delivery at 2100 h vs. 0900 h for lactating dairy cows. Can J Anim Sci. 2010, 91(1):113-122.

7.Nikkhah A. Timing of feed presentation entrains periprandial rhythms of energy metabolism indicators in once-daily fed lactating cows. Biol Rhythm Res. 2012, 43(6): 651- 661.

8.Nikkhah A. Timing of eating a global orchestrator of biological rhythms: dairy cow nitrogen metabolism and milk fatty acids. Biol. Rhythms Res. 45(5): 661-670.

9.Nikkhah A. Review: Ruminant feed intake regulation evolution: Chronophysiological rhythms perspectives. Biol. Rhythm Res. 2014, 45(4): 563-577.

10.Nikkhah A. Timing of feeding: a postmodern management strategy to modulate chronophysiological rhythms in rumen fermentation kinetics. Biol Rhythm Res. 2014, 45(4): 533-540.

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