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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Disaccharide intolerance of European starlings

  • Author(s): Askham, Leonard R.
  • et al.

The use of disaccharides to discourage bird depredation to agricultural crops has elicited some interest during the last few years. Data developed in these trials indicate that several avian species are intolerant to sucrose because of the lack of sucrase enzymes in their digestive systems. Based on this research it is hypothesized that progressively increasing rates and volumes of solutions would elicit consistent adverse stress reactions. Furthermore, that if birds were intolerant to sucrose, because of their co-evolutionary development with plants, then they should Jack the ability to digest lactose. The data developed in these trials does not support either hypothesis. A maximum of 603 of the birds tested showed stress symptoms to 0.75 M sucrose (6.26 mg/Kg body wt.) and 1.00 M lactose solutions (9.15 mg/Kg body wt.) when the birds were subjected to 2 cc treatments. Less than 40% were stressed by the lower concentrations. No adverse reactions were noted with 1 cc concentrations of either solutions or rates. Treating fruit with sucrose did not appear to affect the results until 1.00 M (3.83 mg/Kg) sucrose solutions were applied. No adverse results were obtained with lactose treated fruit.

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