Choline is an essential nutrient but the daily need for choline in mink has never been determined. Two experiments were performed to evalutate the choline status in mink kits and full-grown mink fed different levels of choline. In the first experiment mink kits were fed a synthetic diet with choline added either as choline chloride or as soy lecithin to provide four different levels of choline for 18 days. In the second experiment full-grown mink were fed a synthetic diet with varying choline content for three weeks. Blood samples were collected at the end of the experimental periods. All plasma samples were extracted to analyze the content of free choline and betaine by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Plasma choline was only increased in mink kits fed the highest level of choline whereas plasma choline dit not change in full-grown mink irrespectively of choline level in the feed. Plasma betaine increased when the level of choline in the diet increased. The changes in plasma betaine were most prominent in mink kits. The present study shows that plasma betaine may be a more reliable marker of choline status than plasma choline, especially in mink kits.
Proceedings of the Xth International Scientific Congress in Fur Animal Production, 2012, p. 121-127